The approach towards health in India has seen a marked shift ever since the pandemic; there is now a clear pre-pandemic and post-pandemic phase. Before the pandemic, the approach towards health was all about sickness, followed by diagnoses, and then eventual treatment. However, the pandemic has made sure that people now sit up and take notice of preventive healthcare treatment.
To this effect, immunity boosting drinks, foods, and vitamin products have become increasingly popular since the beginning of the pandemic. COVID-19 has therefore changed the definition of health to a predict-and-prevent model. In addition to this, more and more people are also paying attention towards their mental health and are thus approaching wellness from a holistic perspective.
Changes such as regular workouts, eating healthier foods, and consuming various supplements to boost immunity, are all here to stay. This increase in demand for better quality healthcare and focus on wellness is now single-handedly driving up the growth of the organized retail pharmacy in India.
Stress, sedentary lifestyles, and unhealthy food habits are among the most common reasons for the increase in the number of patients who suffer from lifestyle-based ailments. Consumers today are thus inclined towards products that can help improve their immunity, manage their sugar, blood pressure, and body weight. Hence, along with prescription based drugs, retail pharmacies are increasingly offering consumers wellness products that help with their general wellbeing.
During the first lockdown, individuals were forced to adapt to the digital transformation and for retailers, it became the only mode of doing business. In a situation like this, digital adoption worked as a catalyst for small retailers as simple technologies such as Whatsapp provided them with loyal customers who relied on them to have their medicines delivered to them at their doorstep.
The omnichannel model or hyperlocal pharmacy model should be adept at offering seamless experiences whether it is in-person, app/ website, phone-delivery or any other mode of service. An omnichannel model offers a much more holistic experience compared to just an e-pharmacy or a local drugstore. Along with adopting an omnichannel model, retail pharmacies are also pushing for hyperlocal delivery points and creating an ecosystem whereby they house and source all kinds of wellness products; this includes fresh fruit and veggie produce, organic and herbal items, and much more.
All technologies have the potential of serving the customers in a new way. AI & machine learning, predictive dashboard, KPI tracking, real-time-basis order confirmation, integrated complaint resolution platforms and payment gateway symptoms, are some of the exciting advances in healthcare that will help retailers grow. The pandemic has thus created a technology-driven shift which is currently pushing the pharmacy retail sector into a new and improved phase.
Localization has already become the new standard, going hyperlocal will be integral to a retailer’s success in the new normal.
The phygital approach takes full advantage of both the models and leverages their strengths – the immediacy and responsiveness of traditional brick-and-mortar pharmacies and the efficient automation characteristic of e-pharmacies.