Retail or pharmacist?

Retailer or Pharmacy?

I must say I am a little confused these days about what pharmacy is or what pharmacy is becoming. To be successful should you be a retailer or a pharmacist, are some pharmacies successful because the owners are very good retailers? Yes I guess that is the case in some instances. However, there are also pharmacies that are successful because they are good pharmacists.

But what is the future of pharmacy….retail or pharmacy? Sometimes I don’t think pharmacy owners know themselves.

Some models excel at being retail driven with an aim of moving as much volume of product as possible. Their marketing and positioning is all about catalogues, discount promotions, product promotions etc. It is all about low price and product placement. Some pharmacies are even one half gifts and toys. Now I am not sure that is what a pharmacy is or what it should be either. But isn’t that cheapening the value of the profession?

I wonder if the profession of being a pharmacist is being lost or let’s say misdirected. I get most excited by pharmacies that are true to their purpose and exist to improve the health outcomes of their community. Surely that is what pharmacy is about? Working towards  improving the health outcomes of the local community. Not flogging as much crap as possible to whoever sets foot in their store.

But I also get the sense some pharmacy owner don’t know what their purpose is.

In fact I am sure there are a lot of pharmacy owners who just float with no vision and purpose. Surely anyone in business must have a reason for being in business? Making money is not enough. There must be an emotional connection between themselves and their vision. In fact that vision must also emotionally connect with not only themselves but also the team and the community. Lately this is largely missing in most pharmacies.

Whatever path pharmacy takes in the future one thing is very clear. Either you change, adapt and evolve. The industry will change and you will be left languishing behind complaining about why it was everyone else’s fault. You have to be thinking 3 years ahead, you need to be a leader and take control of your business and turn into something.

In my mind pharmacy is all about three key aspects: Sell, Serve and Show.


This is the retail aspect of the business. Product, positioning, price


This is you as a pharmacist providing health outcomes to your patients.


This is you educating your community about health issues.

Sell is what everyone is doing now, selling product. Serve is also being done to various degrees of success in improving health outcomes of patients.

Show, this is not done at all. This is you connecting with your community, educating them about how health issues, improving their health knowledge and positioning you as a true leader in your professional. This last element is what turns your pharmacy into a destination.

These are the three essential elements of pharmacy. The elements where pharmacies need to concentrate and become the pharmacy of the future.

Furthermore, it is your business! Take control and determine your own future. The future leaders of pharmacy will be positioning themselves to be 3 years ahead of everyone else. Disrupt or be disrupted, your choice.

So stop thinking retail or pharmacy and start creating a strategy that includes both. Need some help with brainstorming? Now is the time to contact Peak Strategies.