How a community pharmacy built an online customer base
Unichem Stokes Valley is a community pharmacy based in the lower North Island, and like more than 200 other pharmacies around New Zealand, they have a website with Storbie. Paul and Karen, the pharmacy owners, decided to use Storbie to create their pharmacy website while in lockdown last year, so we sat down with Paul to have a chat about his experience thus far.
Paul had never used a website platform for his pharmacy before joining Storbie
However, like many other businesses around New Zealand, Unichem Stokes Valley was impacted by the 2020 lockdown due to COVID-19. For Paul, this was the catalyst that caused him to look at alternative ways of interacting with his customers, and ultimately to a phone call with Storbie.
Unichem Stokes Valley signed on to our Quick Start package specific to bringing pharmacies online as fast as possible over the lockdown period. With POS integration and the Supplier Network included in our solution, it took a lot of the pain out of the early stages of creating a website.
“I’d typically shied away. It just seemed like there was too much work involved.”
With the important role community pharmacies played during lockdown, that same week the website had garnered interest. This trend lasted throughout the lockdown, with regular interactions coming through the website.
However, once lockdown had subsided and people went back to their usual daily routines, the website was no longer seeing the same level of interest by simply being live. Paul and Karen realised they would need to spend time monitoring, managing and promoting their website to see results.
An important turning-point
Paul and Karen were left with a decision: shut the website down and go back to the status quo, or go all in on running an omni-channel business. They decided to keep the website until Christmas to give themselves some time to properly invest in and promote it to see if it was really viable.
Storbie is designed to be accessible and easy-to-use for anyone, no matter their IT know-how. Through spending time on his website and contacting our support centre, Paul was able to quickly pick up the core fundamentals of editing and adding content to the website.
“I would’ve never thought of having an ecommerce site as possible for a small business, but Storbie has made that possible and cost effective”
Over the next few months. Paul and Karen dedicated some time to adding imagery and content to both product and website pages. Paul has a pretty simple but solid logic behind his approach: The more content, the more traffic. This was the start of a transformation, not only for the website but for this small community pharmacy's business overall.
Building up momentum
We’ve always said that Storbie is about empowering small businesses to chase their own success online and Paul is a perfect example of this in practice. By taking on his own education, he began to understand what a positive online experience looked like for a customer.
Over time, Paul's questions into our support centre shifted focus. He had been researching and studying YouTube tutorials to help him understand best practice for running and promoting a successful website, and in turn his questions became more nuanced, inquiring about specific tools and integrations.
Paul was requesting access to beta features and placing feature requests for such things as Google Merchant Centre, for which Unichem Stokes Valley was the first website in our pilot group with outstanding results. As the weeks passed, the website’s resource of content, integrations and features was expanding, creating a comprehensive offering to their customers.
It didn't happen overnight, but eventually a steady trickle of orders began to flow through the website. Paul took each one as a learning opportunity. With each order that was placed, Paul noted which products were purchased and made a conscious decision to branch out further in that brand or product type.
“It was a lot of work initially, but now the time that we spent adding content to the website is spent on processing orders.”
Now, the team at Unichem Stokes Valley are processing upwards of 20 orders every day! They spend roughly four hours a week managing the website, and the rest of the time goes towards packaging, processing, and shipping out customer orders.
The power of persistence
Unichem Stokes Valley is no different to many of the pharmacies across Australia and New Zealand. They have access to the same tools as any other. The key to their success isn't some marketing hack, or some secret digital prowess. They simply prioritised the hard, upfront work of getting their website off the ground and invested the time and effort to required to enter an entirely new space for their business.
While having a website is a step in the right direction, if you want your website to be a strong representation of your business you need to make the clear-cut decision to invest a portion of your time into it.
The driving force behind Unichem Stokes Valley’s success boils down to the amount of time and energy they have invested into their website. You don’t need to be some guru to reach success; you only need to take ownership of the challenge; and Unichem Stokes Valley is a testament to that.
If you want to see an insight into the results, simply look at the Google reviews Unichem Stokes Valley has received.
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