The Pharmacy's Dilemma
Pharmacies today realise that in order to remain competitive they need to constantly look to new technologies and trends to see how they can affect Customer Loyalty. The top two trends currently is for the pharmacy to consider rolling out a loyalty platform solution or alternatively to consider rolling out a Mobile app as a new channel and way to engage with their Customers.
Some Pharmacies are naturally confused as to what is the right play and as may have limited budgets. This article will separate the pro's and con's of both to assist any Pharmacy with this dilemma. Also though, for Pharmacies planning on doing both, this article will explain the multiplier benefit effect if integrated and combined.
The Benefits of Each
When evaluating the benefits of either deploying a Mobile App or deploying a loyalty scheme for your pharmacy, its prudent to compare the pro's and con's of both to each other as well as the potential ROI. To that end we summarise our view of this below.
It's quite clear that the goal of a Loyalty Scheme is solely to boost retention rates by amplifying loyalty. It defines itself as such. This of course is still a valid to do a Loyalty Scheme proviso the solution and mechanics you deploy successfully achieve this goal and returning to your business any expected ROI. Getting this right can be trial and error and the effect limited if using email only as the comms channel during campaigns with 2-5% avg open rates or expensive with Mobile Network costs if you opt for SMS. Any ROI generated from a loyalty scheme is loss leading, meaning any loyalty generated is generated from not just the cost of the loyalty solution but the margin cost of any discounts/rewards needed to drive a worth while incentive for Customer to participate. Even if this loyalty scheme is implemented very well, this is in any event only ever going to appeal to a subset of your base, likely your cost conscious Customers in certain demographics.
Compare this with a Mobile App. Right out the gate your App proposition becomes a completely new channel to instantly trade in every service your pharmacy offers currently whether it be Prescription ordering, Delivery, Online Shopping, Appointments, Promotions as a few examples. Not only do you gain a new store front and point of contact to engage in all of these services, these services can be substantially enhanced. For Example prescription ordering can not only be done conveniently when leaving the Doctors office to have ready for collection by time you arrive at the Pharmacy, but think just of how you boost loyalty by sending a simple reminder to the user when their medication is due to run out e.g.:
Right away you can see the universal impact and convenience this would have with most patients- a way to skip the queue and any wait time. Moreover a quick way to gaurentee their next visit is to your store. Combine this with similar conveniences and enhancements of all your existing services and with a notification messaging channel with a 90% cut through rate and you now have a powerhouse channel that is not just more effective at enhancing Loyalty that any Loyalty Scheme can on its own, but that can stimulate additional incremental revenues streams (not funded by discounts) while create efficiencies and savings to affect your bottom line while in parallel enhancing your Customer Experience and Engagement levels.
Pharmacy App Vs Pharmacy Loyalty Scheme
Plastic card-based loyalty systems started loyalty marketing as we know it today. However, mobile has shaken up the traditional loyalty model. More and more Pharmacies that have their loyalty programs in place are becoming aware of the need to satisfy the specific demands of their tech-savvy customers. They want to amplify their existing loyalty programs with a mobile app.
There’s an important debate within marketing about the future of loyalty programs. Some businesses continue to use plastic card-based loyalty programs, and only consider a mobile app as an additional asset to plastic loyalty cards. And this approach isn’t very surprising, as card-based programs like this can be easy to implement. This approach appears back to front in terms of business priorities and a weak way to implement any Loyalty Scheme.
Yet an increasing number of pharmacies are bringing their loyalty schemes into the digital age with mobile devices, opting for an app-only approach. They know that supporting outdated tools leads to inefficient use of time and money. Digitising your Loyalty Card can save on physical card cost per user, can allow instant and remote sign up and instant points balance checks as well as full access to view all rewards. Most importantly is the capacity then to reach these users instantly at no cost via your apps Push Notification capabilities targeting Customers with marketing messages as you need e.g. Customer Birthday Deals etc. Again the benefits of an App really add to the convenience, usability and engagement with any pre-existing loyalty scheme.
Combine For Maximum Effect:
So our advice is an App is best if you have to choose just in terms of the level of functionality and maximum representation of your Pharmacy store to your Customers. However an app combined with Loyalty is a great combination to enhance the App further with another feature and reason to engage but mainly so for simplifying your loyalty scheme and enhancing its usability as well as enhancing its reach and engagement to your Customers. Doing both creates a multiplier effect.
About Medi Marshal Loyalty: Our Pharmacy Branded Medi Marshal App proposition has some out of the box loyalty features that can facilitate Chains and Independents in any app package. If you already have a pre-existing loyalty scheme partner, they can integrate to the app by extending API's to our Team to integrate their points, rewards and content to the app. Additionally we can recommend some Loyalty solutions that can integrate well with our App solution to gain this multiplier effect.
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