Rafael Selvas
COO
Farmacias del Ahorro

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Expert Contributor

Digital Transformation Enables Omnichannel Healthcare Experience

By Rafael Selvas | Tue, 02/22/2022 - 09:00

As a result of the situation experienced since March 2020 in Mexico due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the social distancing at a local and global level, the dynamics of work, sales and consumption have changed. Location is no longer a limitation thanks to the adoption of recent technologies, such as social networks, chatbots, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and machine learning. A digital transformation is taking place in commerce processes and an important change has been observed in the acquisition patterns of goods and services, with a strong preference for online shopping.

Nowadays, digitalization has opened the doors to a solid, resilient, and interconnected e-commerce culture. It is no longer enough to cover a single communication channel. Companies must adapt the way they interact with their customers, based on their needs, and this dialogue must be omnipresent and dynamic, allowing them to offer an attractive and individual experience with quick solutions to the specific needs of each customer, through physical and digital infrastructures.

Every company seeks a long-lasting relationship with its customers. Creating a personal and unified purchase dynamic with messages created specifically for each user profile will allow us to achieve a long-term relationship with a high degree of loyalty.

In this digital world, customers value receiving the right and personalized message, which can lead to a positive shopping experience; on the contrary, being bombarded with all kinds of messages that are not related to their profile can be perceived as invasive and generate rejection of the company or the brand.

To achieve a close relationship with customers in this digital world, it is necessary to adopt an omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel is a communication logistics that helps companies create communication channels (physical store, call center, website, email, mobile app, social networks, and advertising). The aim of this dynamic is to strengthen the customer-company relationship, valuing the needs of each consumer, and providing a unique end-to-end experience.

The first step in marketing for the digital era is to define the route to be followed by the whole company. Research is needed to learn about trends and identify audiences, either by creating them or finding them on different platforms. All areas of the company must know and understand the interests, behaviors, needs and characteristics of the audience, such as age, gender, location, products of interest and purchase frequency.

The insights gathered will define the campaigns and strategies to be followed to share specific messages with the target market, through the use and support of technology in the customer’s preferred connectivity and navigation platforms.

Each campaign will provide information about how effective an implementation was, how many users clicked on a section, a banner, or a button, which products were the most searched, how many were put into a shopping cart, the abandoned carts, how many sales were generated, and user characteristics. Knowing the client journey will help change and create new interaction strategies.

In addition, it is important to specify and consider that a customer's interaction with the company may begin in one channel, but it can end in another, so it is important to standardize messages and ensure that the information received is correct and consistent in each interaction. Users do not distinguish between one channel and another; they perceive the attention received from a company.

In an interconnected world, it is necessary to analyze how technology can create a fairer society. It is not only about selling; it is also necessary to make a positive impact on customers' lives. In the case of the pharmaceutical sector, our mission is to be an ally that takes care of the health and well-being at every moment of a human being's life and to bring people closer to doctors and specialists who will supply increasingly integrated care.

Farmacias del Ahorro has fostered a healthy society by promoting a culture of prevention. It also aims to be close to Mexican families by providing them with solutions, products and diversified services to care for and improve their health and well-being, as well as to share the importance of getting a healthy lifestyle and adopting new and better prevention habits.

Throughout its 30-year history, the company has evolved and incorporated technological innovations that have allowed it to merge its communication channels to create simple and enriching shopping experiences.

Until three years ago, Farmacias del Ahorro served customers only in the physical store and through call centers. With globalization and with the intention of being part of a greater number of Mexican households, the strategy "A pharmacy in your home" was implemented, which has been adapted and transformed according to technological and market trends.

In 2016, Farmacias del Ahorro ventured into the digital world with its website, which currently provides online store services, medical, nutritional, and dermatological tele-guidance, serving more than 12.5 million users each month.

Capturing the attention of consumers involves great challenges. Today's customers tend to get information before buying a product or service. They compare products, prices, and promotions, as well as seek recommendations from other users. In view of this, companies must include in their purchasing strategy an added value that allows them to keep the greatest number of active customers. Since 2008, Farmacias del Ahorro has offered its “Monedero del Ahorro” (Savings Wallet), their program through which its customers can earn electronic money for each purchase, obtain free parts of certain products by accumulating purchases on separate occasions, and earn MX$100 by accumulating another MX$100. These are some of the benefits obtained by the more than 18 million users subscribed to this loyalty program.

Nowadays, mobile technology is booming, so it is important to supply services to customers through this device. Between 2020 and 2021, the pharmaceutical company developed a mobile application in order to provide a unique experience, with functionalities to improve the shopping and information search experience. This mobile application has allowed more than 1,500,000 users to program frequent orders to receive the necessary products at home every week, biweekly or monthly without the need to reorder, with an automatic charge to a credit card and the benefit of interest-free months. With the platform, customers can search for products through an intelligent voice search engine, request appointments for PCR tests, view their order history and the balance of their Monedero del Ahorro.

Last year, a telemedicine guidance service was incorporated, which allowed us to expand the scope of free medical care with certified doctors through technology and in order to avoid self-medication. With a virtual orientation service, it has been possible to continue offering health solutions even at a distance. Today, this service also offers nutritional guidance and guidance for skin and beauty care.

By making comprehensive solutions such as a WhatsApp communication channel available, being the first pharmacy with a verified WhatsApp, it has been possible to provide increasingly specialized and direct care to customers. Through a chatbot, accurate information is provided to assuage doubts about products or to provide the location of a pharmacy, interconnecting the customer with a specialist or a dermatological consultant, giving customers an answer in the palm of their hand. This type of communication makes the user feel cared for and listened to, and by getting an answer to their needs, the likelihood that they will return increases significantly.

As a company in the health sector, Farmacias del Ahorro is committed to creating a wellness network that allows it to be part of the preferences of Mexican families and with the help of innovation and new technologies create personalized, uniform and consistent experiences that allow it to be always available to customers no matter where they are or through which platform they choose to interact.

Photo by:   Rafael Selvas