In 2015, CVS opened their Digital Innovation Lab in Boston to develop cutting-edge digital services and personalized health experiences for its customers. Even a company with a massive share of the pharmacy market and a value of $140 billion understands the need to constantly come up with innovative pharmacy ideas.
That is your competition.
Unfortunately, many independent pharmacies will hear about moves like this and assume there is nothing they can do to compete. The goal of this article isn’t to convince you to open your own lab for creating innovative business ideas in pharma. That doesn’t mean that you should forgo new pharmacy ideas altogether and stick with your “tried and true” methods as a neighborhood independent pharmacy.
No matter what your pharmacy budget or your level of tech savviness, you should never leave innovation to the competition. There is always room for pharmacy related business ideas that can help your pharmacy not only keep up with the innovators, but stand out from them.
To get your started, here are 3 innovative pharmacy ideas based on recent innovations in pharmacy:
Innovative Pharmacy Services
As a retail store, it can be easy to think of your prescriptions and products as the real value you provide your customers. In fact, you can help your independent pharmacy stand out by expanding your service offerings or promoting innovative pharmacy services.
Bert’s Pharmacy learned the value of pharmacy business plan ideas when they decided to focus on an immunization program which they marketed to local schools as a specialty service of their pharmacy. Through this new pharmacy idea, they increased the number of annual flu shots from zero in 2011 to 1,300 in 2014.
Recent Innovations in the Pharmacy Retail Experience
There are many, many ways to offer your customers a smoother and richer retail experience in your store. New pharmacy ideas can come from anywhere – including recent technology innovations that have yet to make it to pharmacies.
Look for innovative business ideas in other retail stores and see if they could apply to your pharmacy. Here are some recent innovations impacting shopping experiences today:
- Mobile commerce
- Smart vending
- Intelligent shelves
- On-demand merchandise
- Off-the-grid retail
- Mobile payments
Not all of these ideas will fit your customers, but many are worth a try. Talk to your customers about what they enjoy in other retail experiences and tailor your new pharmacy ideas to fit their needs.
Innovative Business Ideas in Pharmacy Workflow and Technology
Customer facing innovations are a great way to improve your customer’s experience and help differentiate your store. But they aren’t the only ways to revolutionize your business. Innovative pharmacy business plan ideas – including improvements to your workflow, adding technology in the back of the house, and finding ways to improve your margins – all work to help your business grow.
Examine your current workflow and look for new technology or resources that could make a process run smoother or reduce your costs. How long does it take your team to run inventory? There may be a pharmacy inventory management system that could improve that process. What is the workflow for purchasing new pharmaceuticals? There may be ways to use overstock or short-dated Rx to improve your margins.
No matter where your independent pharmacy is now, there will always be room for innovative pharmacy ideas. Don’t think that you need to convert into the pharmacy of the future just to be innovative. Start with small improvements and go from there.