15 Sep Rethinking the pharmacy in Saudi Arabia
“We are at a turning point for the pharmacy in Saudi Arabia. For several years hundreds of very similar stores have opened, all based on the American drugstore model. They have periodically given rise to the birth of new pharmacy chains and independent pharmacies inside and outside hospitals, springing up like mushrooms, particularly in large urban areas, with a very similar if not identical offer. “
This is the conclusion of three years of analysis in KSA by architect Fiona Sartoretto Verna, co-owner of the company SARTORETTO VERNA Srl which for more than 50 years has brought to life pharmacies all over the world that are characterized by a unique atmosphere, space optimization and a proven increase in revenue.
“We are very familiar with the current pharmacy market in KSA because we have worked with the major players in the market for many years, analyzing more than 100 different stores across a variety of locations. We are observing the behavior of consumers in Arab pharmacies and are becoming ever-more understanding of their needs. We have seen that the current response of pharmacies to the Arab consumer is always the same: sad environments invaded by diapers, demotivated staff and poor communication of what’s on offer.
It’s time for a change! To ensure business growth in an increasingly competitive market, one must rethink strategies and obtain a clear position on the market. ”
Re-branding a chain of pharmacies in the current market means intensely dealing with different aspects and the results in terms of sales increase can be staggering. In a society that is rapidly changing thanks to the media (internet, smartphones and in general easy access to information), people’s habits change quickly. To ensure the future and prosperity of the pharmacy business one must be able to anticipate what’s ahead.
“The pharmacy in KSA today,” says the architect Sartoretto Verna “is no longer just a place where you go for treatment, but also to feel good about yourself and even seek preventative care thanks to highly trained and motivated staff! A whole new world is opened for the pharmacy. It needs to be to be attentive to the needs of its customers, to get to know them, to create a relationship of trust accompanied by professional advice on a path to prevention and wellbeing. To do this you need to completely rethink the store and make it stand out from the many dull and boring ones creating a place that is pleasant to spend time in, where customers can get information on their own well-being and that of their family, where they can discover new products and get quick health consultations.
Internet sales will become increasingly widespread and the survival of the pharmacy will depend on the ability to attract new customers thanks to inspiring environments“.
What are the key points for consideration when planning the opening of a new chain or the re-branding of an existing one?
– Store image (lights, colors, materials, furniture, general atmosphere)
– Workspace optimization
– Pharmacy management optimization
– Communication and interaction with the consumer
– Layout as a “sales path”
– Management of the store
“We address all strategic themes and nothing is left to chance,” explains architect Niccolò Monti, the Sartoretto Verna project manager for the Middle East. “Sartoretto Verna, as well as a company that produces quality Italian furniture exclusively for pharmacies whilst offering creative design solutions that optimize space, is first and foremost an all-round consultancy firm when it comes to evolving a pharmacy business. We create sale machines” says Monti “thanks to a unique method that involves us in a step by step collaboration with the company management team meaning we are consultants before becoming suppliers. Ours is a global project that polishes every detail, from the initial marketing choices to the final positioning of the products.
“We are a company specializing ONLY in pharmacies and we work all over the world. This is our strength as we know the market and the growth trends” continues architect Sartoretto Verna. “In KSA we are successfully collaborating with several companies and the results to date exceed expectations. We have dozens of projects that have been completed or are near completion (independent and chain pharmacies and drugstores) located all over. Each client has benefitted from a customized project obtaining a unique result. Our reputation is growing thanks to the quality of the results achieved. Our exhibitions at the last two Saudi Health in Riyadh, our regular presence in the area and our current project with the Aldawa group has given us a 360 degree view of the pharmacy market in Saudi Arabia. We are sharing information with managers and using our experience to help them improve their work. The pharmacy in the Almosa Al Hofuf hospital has more than doubled its customer base as well as the average purchase amount and number of products purchased only a year after its renovation.
“We are extremely pleased with Sartoretto Verna and our great results. Our clientele has significantly increased and we have seen that they like to spend the time shopping in our pharmacy”. These are the words of the CEO and owner Dr Malek Almoosa. “Our customers are excited and proud to enter an Arabic pharmacy of the new millennium“.