Proactive vs. reactive – pharmacies that thrive

February 21, 2022By Behind the Shelf Blog, Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Resources focused on Independent Pharmacy

by Kyle Lentz, category analyst

2020 and 2021 provided unique challenges for smaller, independent pharmacies. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that a proactive approach vs. a reactive approach can have a positive impact on business. 

Now, no one can predict the future, and sometimes, like in the case of unforeseen circumstances, a reactive approach is the only option. Reactionary approaches may not always have a negative impact on business, but, in the case of COVID-19, there were numerous warning signs that a disruption to the normal way of life was imminent. Proactivity was a key factor in keeping pharmacies afloat. As an essential business, being able to keep the doors open helped save lives.

Proactive approaches to consider:

  • Plan for staffing needs and adjusting work schedules accordingly
  • Plan for a slowdown in foot traffic by offering delivery or curbside pickup
  • Adjust inventories to ensure product availability and shorten the time between out-of-stocks
  • Prepare for changing needs by offering larger, more prominent selections of needed items like PPE as an example
  • Use technology to communicate store hours, product purchasing options, and delivery services
  • Move some key business functions, like bill paying, from an at-work to an at-home option
  • Maintain the level of service customers have grown to trust

Reactive approaches may result in:

  • Inconsistent store hours based on staff availability
  • Delayed delivery and possible loss of business during the transition
  • Product shortages and interruptions in availability
  • Empty store shelves and the appearance of going out of business
  • Lack of time or opportunity to update websites or capabilities
  • Delayed or non-existent work from home opportunities
  • Interrupted business norms resulting in a lack of trust

Of course, these recommendations are not the solution for every issue, and a reactive approach doesn’t have to be negative. Being prepared for what’s happening around you and adjusting your business needs to fit the situation, in a proactive manner, can save you time, money, and customers.