Everything seems to be changing so rapidly these days, especially where technology is concerned, and pharmacy design is no different. New shelving and fixtures have been developed in the last few years that, when replacing old and tired pharmacy shelving, can make a world of difference in how things look in your store as well as how well they sell. The psychology of drugstore sales is an area that shows promise regarding the subliminal responses of customers to your store layout, and much sales success has been tied to pharmacy design, including the style and placement of shelves and fixtures.
Carousel drug dispensing technology, which many drugstores have implemented in the past decade, is starting to give way to alternative, automated drug dispensing technologies that have shown an improvement in workflow efficiency. If your store has carousel dispensing on a lease contract that's about to expire, you may be considering moving on to some of the newer technologies now available. In this case, a remodeling of your back-end prescription dispensing area will likely be appropriate in order to accommodate the new equipment.
A Little Can Do a Lot
It's not unusual for thoughts of a pharmacy remodel to conjure up ideas of how to improve the aesthetics or the look of your front-end retailing space to appeal more to your customers in a visual sense. Maybe you're considering a new coat of paint, some fancy new floor covering, new signage and other décor modifications meant to modernize the look you now have. Modernization, however, may no longer be what's needed in your merchandising area. In the back area, yes, where the drug dispensing occurs and where everything now has to be in accordance with the newest HIPAA regulations, you may need to modernize both equipment and dispensing operations.
But in the front-end area, research shows that customers would rather have a natural-looking, less "modern" environment that leans away from the sterile shelving, flooring and lighting you see in most chain-operated drugstores. White-painted metal shelving is giving way to fixtures with some color and texture, maybe incorporating wood and glass for a change, and not all straight lines and squared edges with every shelf looking like the one next to it and the one next to that.
If your pharmacy design includes nothing more in a front-end remodel than a shelving and fixture upgrade, this in itself can have a powerful effect. Your new shelving can show off your merchandise in its best light, bring a new aura of quality to your entire store and, if designed and installed properly, create a controlled footpath for your customers to travel through the store and be able to view all areas and displays easily and naturally.
The Right Time is Probably Now
The hope of any pharmacy remodel is that it will pay for itself as business increases as a result. Some things, such as lighting, can be accomplished fairly easily and with little expense. LED lights, which have only recently been advanced enough to become extremely affordable, are a much more pleasant and efficient light source than the old fluorescent tubes so common in drugstores. They're also real energy savers, so they'll absolutely pay for themselves in electrical savings alone. New paint is fairly affordable, and how about adding some skylights or windows to bring in some natural lighting?
It doesn't have to be done all at once, and even the smallest amount of remodeling can help freshen up the place. There's no time like the present. Start with some study, thinking and planning time, and then go for it!