Perhaps the most nagging question in a pharmacist owner’s mind has been “What’s it worth?” In our struggle to understand more about the dynamics of space planning & shop design marketplace, we have learned that UK retail chemists and pure dispensing outlets spend ?millions annually on new construction and facelifts, but the question about its worth still remains.
Many times we are asked about the value of the contribution shop design, fixtures, displays and visual merchandising make to the bottom line.
We have chosen to explore this very matter, as part of our mission to understand the industry better, but also to help our industry grow. Most industries have facts and figures to justify expenditure, with UK pharmacist roles changing and a reduction in retail product sales this subject becomes more complex to provide formulas for predicted profit increases.
What cannot be ignored is any retail or services business that ignores to pay attention to the appearance and state of its interior and exterior will lose business albeit slowly. There becomes a point when wear and tear becomes noticeable to both customers and staff; these two vital components are the drivers to your profit margins. As a result of refurbishment we have observed and listened to complimentary remarks from customers during and after completion, people clearly like to see improvements. Employees also see that this investment will benefit their working conditions and we usually detect a fresh air of optimism in attitude, this new confidence does no harm to improving customer relationships, (we have all experienced the wrath of staff working under pressure of poor working conditions).
What “worth” is placed in this action? It is of course difficult to measure accurately, yet non-action may lead to your customers spending their money with your nearest competitor’s, and equally employees may leave for exactly the same reasons.
But before all pharmacies start renovation, let’s remember a couple of things that perhaps are not so clear when buying new fixtures and fittings. First, renovation alone does not ensure success, although in many cases it does increase sales. Rather, a complete and thorough plan, a well thought-out strategy, is a better bet.
Over the years a lot of emphasis has been placed on design being an important factor to your identity. Part of strategy, combined with renovation, is making sure that merchandise, design and service all say the same things to the consumer. This position has over the last few years required modification due to closer relationships with NHS identity and services.
What has not changed is to simply put in new fixtures and displays and to revamp your premises just will not do; instead a comprehensive, integrated approach to the consumer and staff must precede a renovation project in order to maximise results.
It is difficult to dispute that a consumer is more likely to select to use the services of a business that demonstrates visibly it has some idea what it’s doing. A pharmacy that is organised with everything in order is well presented and clearly marked makes for a better shopping experience.
A business that cares about its customers and staff will undoubtedly benefit your bottom line, add the value in retaining customers plus provide a boost in productivity and enthusiasm from staff. These factors equal a “worth” that can be built into the cost of your expenditure.