One common mistake new pharmacy website owners make once they get online, is to think of the website and the traditional store as two different entities. They think of the store as the business itself, and of the website as just a part of the business that they take care of when they have time.

This is not a recipe for success! Successful pharmacists treat both the store and the website as integral parts of the bigger picture. Just like there are businesses with no website at all, there are businesses that only operate online – to get the most out of your business, you should make the most of the benefits that come with each medium.

By thinking of your website and the physical store as the two sides of the same coin, you can start to find ways to connect them to one another, allowing them to work together to best serve your overall business.

Your website is a store too

It’s easy to forget that your website is a store, just like your physical store is. This is true even if you don’t sell products online.

In addition to being the place where people buy things from you, your store is also how you make an impression on your customers. Is it clean? Is it welcoming? Are the shelves stocked? These are all things that people notice as they walk in.

And your website is no different. Your website is essentially another version of your store; think of it as a digital version. It’s simply a place where people instantly get an idea of what kind of business you’re running and what you are offering, all from wherever they happen to be standing. If your website is falling into disrepair, with things like out–of–date information or even just an unattractive home page – then people are going to make the same assumptions as they would if your physical store was a shambles.

This way of thinking shows that your website is just as important as your physical business. It is out there representing your business every day, to your existing and new customers. So, why not put your best foot forward and ensure that the first digital impression of your business is a positive one?

Your customers live online and offline

Some customers only shop in–store. And other customers prefer to do all their shopping online. But these two groups are probably a small portion of your total customer base. Most of your customers probably do some shopping in–store, and some shopping online.

By connecting your website and your store, you can give people a great experience shopping with you as they switch from one to the other, then back again. You are giving your customer a whole new way of interacting with your business while providing them the ability to remain connected to your pharmacy between in store visits.

If a customer is curious about what your pharmacy has on offer, they can instantly access your website to see what is available They can then pop in store and see the same thing that was offered online! But, a crucial aspect of this, is you need to ensure consistency between what is on your website and what is occurring in store.

For example, if you’re promoting a sale on your website, make sure you put those products front and centre when people walk into the store! That way, if someone likes what they see, and comes into the store to pick it up, they don’t have to work hard to find it and spend their money. Or, you can go further, and offer click and collect services. Just have your customers order and pay for their products online, then come into the store to pick them up from the counter. Small actions like this strengthen the link between the different cogs of your business, making your customers perceive that your business suddenly has a lot more to offer in the way of information and ease of transaction. Whether it is a new or existing customer, they can see that your pharmacy is professional, organised and making it easier for customers to do business.

Good advice for more people

As you probably know, the ability to get advice from a trusted professional is a huge drawcard for every pharmacy. People wouldn’t go to their supermarket, or one of the big online players to get advice about what kind of headache medication to buy, or what kind of eye drops best suit their tired eyes. They would much rather turn to their trusted, local healthcare professional for this information.

Your website is an opportunity to provide this kind of advice to more people, especially with the enormous amount of health searches that occur every day. To make the most of your customers searches, start making pages or blog posts that answer some of the most common questions you get, whether online or in store. This lets you help people who suffer from these issues, but who haven’t gotten around to coming into the store yet.

By doing this, you can build trust with lots of people, just like you do with one person when you’re having a one–on–one conversation. Even though it is online, you are still helping the customer and becoming a reputable brand and source of information. By building this sense of trust, you’re giving people a reason to come into your store to get the medicine that they need to solve their problem. You could even finish a blog post with a link to your store’s address or even to a click and collect option – just to make it that much easier for them to pop in.

It's about creating one great experience

So rather than look at your store as one part of your business and your website as another, you should look at both as different tools you can use to create a great experience for your customers. By making sure your online activity is connected to things happening in your store, and vice versa, you can help your customers get what they need from you, wherever they happen to be looking – whether that’s in front of their computer, on their mobile phone or standing in the middle of your store.

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