Local Chemists and Pharmacies Taking on Amazon
From today over 400 high street pharmacy stores will be better equipped to drive online shoppers in-store, by making their inventory visible on Google in real-time.
With online giant Amazon moving into the pharmacy business in the UK, CSY Retail Systems – one of the most commonly used EPOS systems by chemists and pharmacies across the UK – has partnered with Google-backed retail technology firm NearSt in a bid to boost footfall and drive awareness of local shops servicing the sector.
NearSt’s software brings customers into bricks and mortar stores by showing the products stocked in local shops to people searching online nearby – making it more convenient to buy items locally than online.
Now integrated into CSY’s EPoS platform, this means that chemists and pharmacy stores can effortlessly connect their entire inventory to Google search in real time – showing local shoppers what they have stock in places like Google’s My Business Page, Google Shopping and Google Maps.
“With Amazon carving out its course into the healthcare industry, this partnership will enable retailers in the sector a cost-effective fuss-free way to mitigate this threat and build incremental growth through new customers.” said Nick Brackenbury, CEO and co-founder of NearSt.
The stores that have already been using NearSt, such as London’s Massingham Chemist, saw immediate results.
Concerned about their family-run chemist not being widely known in the local community, and with little time to focus on populating a website, Massingham chose NearSt as a “no-fuss solution” to reach new customers. The tech made an immediate impact: Massingham’s products were discovered over 152,000 times in Google by nearby shoppers, driving 157 new customers in-store.
‘We’ve had customers walk in with their phones asking for specific products, saying they didn’t know we existed, it’s creating a lot of awareness. NearSt has made our lives so much easier!’ said Harsha from Massingham Chemist.
NearSt believes that while the surge in e-commerce sales has been widely acknowledged, what’s largely been overlooked is the even bigger surge in shoppers going online to hunt out products on nearby high streets.
The retail technology start-up saw a seven-fold jump in local product searches in places like Google last year, with 2021 settling on four times the volume of pre-pandemic levels.
Google also reported an 8,000% increase in searches for “who has ___ in stock” last year.
“We’ve definitely noticed a real uptick in pharmacy and health stores embracing new technology as a reaction to behaviour sparked by the pandemic.” added Mr Brackenbury.
“Thanks to CSY, this makes it even simpler now for chemists, organic and health stores alike to compete with online.”
“Everything works using the barcodes, stock levels, and pricing already stored in shops’ existing EPoS systems – so you literally set it and forget it.
“Pulling data automatically every few minutes NearSt creates high quality product listings, so you don’t need to spend dozens of hours manually entering product details.” continued Mr Brackenbury.
Notably, rather than giving platforms direct access to stores´stock data, NearSt acts as a guardian of the inventory and operates a public data ethics policy, only sending essential information to keep data secure.
Ross Pierrepont Managing Director at CSY Retail Systems said: “When we met with NearSt, it seemed like a great solution to be able to offer our customers to boost footfall. That is why we did the required development work and passed this onto our customers at no additional cost. This has been borne out by the great results our customers are already seeing.”
For more information visit near.st/start-now/.