Over the last 12 months Storbie has quickly grown to be the biggest supplier of ecommerce-capable websites to independent pharmacies in New Zealand. During that time, we have spoken to hundreds of pharmacies, come to admire the important work that they do and appreciate the way that they manage a complex and challenging business.
Pharmacies are not only delivering an important health service – that many of us take for granted and takes years of training, focus and attention to detail – they are also managing a complex retail business, bringing together products from hundreds of suppliers into a busy store. It’s no wonder that pharmacies often struggle to find the time to get their pharmacy and product catalogue online even if they appreciate the importance of doing so.
Identifying the challenges of online product catalogue management for pharmacies
At Storbie we are a practical bunch. We are always striving to identify and solve our customers’ real challenges. We have also always been the champion of the independent retailer. While working with pharmacies, we have come to learn that the biggest challenge facing the independent pharmacy in New Zealand regarding setting up and managing a digital channel is the product catalogue.
For an independent pharmacy, the cost of compiling a quality catalogue of images and compliant descriptions for use on a website is often too high, regardless of the benefits. It’s all very well for large retailers such as supermarkets or the Chemist Warehouse (who are rumoured to be heading to New Zealand) to hire staff dedicated to compiling and managing an online catalogue but how can the smaller pharmacy hope to do the same?
The answer is Storbie
Storbie is different to other online shop platforms. Our customers have their own online shop but everything is connected in the background bringing the benefits of scale where it makes sense. Our customers are free to operate as independent entities, holding on to their own identity, but are given tools which will help them compete with the big businesses threatening to homogenise our world. We call this being different together.
Imagine if there was a place that independent pharmacies could go to see all of their suppliers’ products in one place. What if they could then easily select the products that they want in their online catalogue and these would magically flow into their website and stay up to date with changes, images automatically updating to the latest versions and compliant descriptions maintained automatically? Better still, what if prices and stock levels were kept up to date with a pharmacy’s POS system?
This is what Storbie is doing. We are creating a system whereby it is as if pharmacies only have to deal with one technically sophisticated supplier when populating their own online store catalogue.
When will this happen and how can pharmacies get involved?
Our goal is to have the beginnings of this in place by the end of October in time for use during the important Christmas rush. We already have some key Pharmaceutical suppliers on board (announcements to come) and are working on getting many more.
Pharmacies can help by contacting their suppliers, telling them about what we are doing and asking those suppliers to get in touch with us and get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact your suppliers now with this handy email template.
If this link doesn’t work, here’s the suggested starting point for an email to your supplier that you can simply copy and paste:
Hi, the ecommerce website company Storbie has announced that they are currently working on an online product catalogue management system for pharmacies. We’d love to display your products in our pharmacy website and Storbie’s initiative would make that really easy. You can read about the project here: https://blog.storbie.com/2017/09/15/pharmacy-online-product-catalogue-management. I encourage you to get in touch with them (email@example.com), or I would be happy to pass on your details to their team. We hope you will get involved.
We know that there are more challenges to tackle beyond product catalogue when it comes to being successful online, finding, engaging, selling to customers and enticing them in-store. We are working on those challenges too, but the catalogue is a foundational step and we are looking forward to seeing our work translating into hundreds more pharmacies with a quality and complete online offering in New Zealand. We hope that you are as excited as we are about this initiative.
In the meantime, we value your feedback on what we are doing so please contact us if you have any questions or comments.