Counters and “cloud zones”

Counters and “Cloud” Zones
article published in “Il giornale del Farmacista” n°11

We have always been contrary to the pharmacies with displays that seem to “scream” at the customer, leading this mass of products to overwhelm the pharmacy’s professional image. If it is the product alone that is communicating with the client, then its inherently commercial logic leads it to be taken out of the pharmacy context as this only underlines the importance of the product’s price to the detriment of the pharmacy’s professional image. On the other hand, if the figure of the professional chemist and their expert advice is discreetly behind very sale, then it will be will such expert advice that prevails, the true added value of the product sold in the pharmacy.

All the efforts of our company have always been focused on conciliating the pharmacist’s highly professional image with the strictly commercial logic of running a successful business.

We are constantly attempting to maintain this delicate balance between products and services, light and colour, sounds and images, materials and odours, sensations and certainties, between the rules of marketing and category management, where the client is enveloped in a unique atmosphere that has only one protagonist: professionalism.

Professionalism is a team game in which the pharmacist plays the role of the entrepreneur and we provide the tools for success. We do not assemble a few metres of display shelving with some glass, metal and wood, but create a set of sensations in the client that induce him to open up a dialogue with the pharmacist as well asmake a purchase. This is grounded in the idea that a purchase primarily satisfies a desire rather than a need.

In our chemist or drug store of the future, semi-isolated spaces where customers receive specialist services alternate with displays marking out the shop’s various sections. These semi-isolated spaces are defined as “cloud” zones, where the client stops being the “object” or victim of the product, and becomes the “subject”, having his individual needs taken care of in a protected and finite area.

These specialist services include everything from computerised hair and skin analysis to the use of “skin diagnostic” instruments; from the measurement of body fat to the analysis of skin type and advice on what factor sun cream to use; from measuring client’s weight and their blood pressure to eye and hearing tests; from urine and pregnancy tests to an analysis of water quality.

Analysis lab - The pharmacy of Zeno Albissola Marina (SV)

Where possible, other services could be provided such as online ECG tests, booking hospital/local health authority appointments, home delivery of medicines, oxygen cylinder and appliance rental, sale of reading classes, contact lenses and gluten-free products; vaccinations for those travelling overseas, diet advice, the preparation of medicines, useful tips and the latest information on relative healthcare topics.

This “cloud” zones need privacy, order and good lighting. They feature a table of an adequate length for the instruments positioned on top as well as the surrounding seats, which can be used for other purposes too. If there was sufficient space, a zone could be used for public meetings and discussion groups as well. The “cloud” zone could easily accommodate a talented speaker, an audience of 20 persons as well as a wall-mounted screen or a projector. There are many people out there who happily give up a night in front of the TV for a lively discussion on an issue that was important to them.

“And the pharmacy would return back to its traditional roots and natural vocation and become again: a place where culture is created.

Guido Sartoretto Verna

A dispensary - the Simeoni Pharmacy Cave (RM)