October 5, 2018 | Written by: Luis Arimany, CEO, Evolufarma
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Visiting a pharmacy in Spain can feel like stepping back in time. Most pharmacies do no marketing at all, nor do they record who walks through their doors, who buys something, what they purchase, whether they found everything they needed or whether they ever visit again.
Of course, any business that has such a limited understanding of its customers won’t be able to deliver the best possible service. This is quite different from high street retail, where businesses strive to capture every last drop of customer insight.
Evolufarma sets out to help pharmacies develop a deeper understanding of their customers so that they can deliver a better service. Because patients could choose to collect their prescriptions from any pharmacy in the nation, service quality is a powerful competitive differentiator in this industry.
We developed a comprehensive set of solutions to strengthen every element of a pharmacy’s business. Evolufarma’s customer relationship management (CRM) system gives each customer a profile, enabling pharmacies to gain much deeper insight into each person’s needs. With rich data on shopping habits, pharmacies can perform customer segmentation and provide a more personalized service.
We also help pharmacies launch digital sales channels such as online stores and mobile apps that integrate seamlessly with their existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. The introduction of digital channels enables pharmacies to launch new services, such as pre-ordering products online to pick up later in the store.
Spanish pharmacies play an active role in the nation’s healthcare system by offering immunization programs such as administering the flu vaccine in winter. With Evolufarma’s solutions, pharmacies can announce the initiatives on digital channels and enable customers to book slots online.
A strong dose of insight
Evolufarma services include a powerful business intelligence (BI) solution that tracks marketing, customer activity, inventory levels and products sold within each pharmacy and at a national level. For example, pharmacies can see the top-selling products in their own stores, as well as nationwide, and look at their average retail price. With the BI solution, we also give pharmacies a scorecard so they can see how they are performing compared to nearby competitors.
We also recently launched a cross-selling platform. When a pharmacist scans a product’s barcode, they are shown a picture of another item that is frequently purchased in the same transaction, so they can suggest it to the customer. For instance, if a patient is buying antibiotics, the pharmacist can recommend medication to combat the side effects.The same platform can be used to deliver medical advice to patients.
For example, if a pharmacist scans a packet of medication, they can explain to the patient how many pills to take, how often, and whether to take them with or without food.
Turning to the cloud
To deploy our solutions, Evolufarma uses virtual containers from the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service. The cloud model is perfect for us because we can stay lean and hand off the burden of system administration to IBM. As we win more clients, IBM Cloud helps us scale up quickly and easily to support a growing number of systems.
Our solutions store data in IBM Cloudant and MongoDB databases. As a non-SQL database, Cloudant is well suited to managing unstructured data such as information from e-commerce sites, product descriptions and product pictures.
For object-based and file system storage, we use IBM Cloud Object Storage because it is highly scalable, secure, stable and cost-effective.
Delivering competitive advantage
Evolufarma solutions empower pharmacies to recommend relevant products to customers, boosting cross-sales. Because customers feel that their needs are understood, they are more likely to visit again and recommend the pharmacy to their friends and family. In addition, pharmacies can use their digital channels and rich customer insight to run accurately targeted campaigns to keep customers coming back for more.
On average, pharmacies using our solutions achieve 5 percent higher revenue growth. We have also helped clients build thriving businesses from the ground up. For example, we helped a client open an online pharmacy two years ago, and that business now turns over EUR 40,000 per month.
Our own business is blossoming, too. We serve 140 pharmacies and our customer base is expanding fast. Evolufarma is one of Spain’s fastest-growing young businesses.
But there are no plans to rest on our laurels. We are looking to launch a loyalty card for pharmacies. What’s more, we are exploring options to provide our data to pharmaceutical companies, giving them never-before-seen insight into who buys their medication and what they purchase.
We have lots of exciting plans in store.
Read the case study for more details.