Investing in the future: always two steps ahead
Wehrenpfennig agrees and says, “We are not only more flexible, we can also further emotionalize the store. That’s our advantage over pure play online retailers where price is essentially the only emotion. We are not able to compete with that aspect in brick-and-mortar retail, which is why we have to invest in emotions. The biggest investment is made in employees, with the store concept running a close second.“
Pharmacy before reconstruction
Digital signage expert Müller expects investments in extensive and large elements of digital signage primarily in larger pharmacies in city centers or central locations that are modern and open to change. He concedes that “smaller pharmacies are more likely to just set up a few touchscreen displays. What’s more, an open display behind the counter only makes sense if you combine it with a fully automated order picking system.“ The cost for this type of installation is substantial. Architect Palm estimates that “each screen can cost up to 5,000 Euros, while an additional automatic system runs around 100,000 Euros.“ This is why pharmacies are likely going to feature a mix of different elements. He adds that all this very much depends on the location, size and sales volume. He also believes that not all products will be digitally presented. After all, haptics is important, especially when it comes to premium products such as cosmetics.
That being said, pharmacist Wehrenpfennig is already very pleased with his concept. Customer feedback on the renovation is very positive and the new ambiance has attracted many new customers to his store. Initially, the associates had to assist some customers and explain the new functions. “That works quite well. After all, the most important part is that the people, who work here have stayed the same. I believe that if you want to make a lasting impression on customers, you can only succeed with personality. Thanks to the new technological possibilities, we most notably gained more time to dedicate to our customers.“
In addition to the optimized consulting services that are well received and appreciated by customers, he was also able to enjoy other successes. “Two of our associates applied for a job inspired by the modern configuration and design of our pharmacy.“ He adds that he will continue to keep a close eye on technological possibilities and trends in the future. He looks ahead and says, “The lines between online and offline retail continue to blur. In the long run, only those retailers and pharmacists that are able to master both aspects will stay in the game. If you are aware of this fact, you can no longer say, ‘Let’s build a traditional pharmacy in this place‘. Mind you, a beautiful old fashioned pharmacy is lovely – just like a museum. But then again, the world around it has changed.“