Remedi Pharmacy – Online Innovation has Kept Link to Customers Strong

Remedi Pharmacy’s location in the heart of the IFSC in Dublin 1 has always generated a lot of footfall from local businesses. That all changed when COVID-19 hit and neighbouring businesses either closed fully or began working with just 10-20% of staff.

The sudden, severe impact of fewer customers coming through its doors hit hard, but it didn’t take long for Director Aneta Walczynska to find a new way to reach their customers. Staff were soon busy delivering prescriptions to patients, dropping it at their doorsteps to make sure they were being looked after.

Aneta knew the shopping experience had to change to assure customer safety.  It was then she decided to open an online shop and develop a mobile app so customers could buy their medications and cosmetics from the safety of their own homes.

Considerable work was undertaken in-store to accommodate customers who opted to drop in instead. As well as providing hand sanitization at the door, an Airdog air purifier was installed to improve the quality of the air and the premises is sprayed regularly with anti-viral solution. Click and collect options were also made available to reduce the time spent in store. Consultations were moved online and made available over the phone to reduce any risk associated with direct contact.

“Small businesses need to stand out from the crowd in order to survive. We learned that we must serve a legitimate need in the community and do it better than our competitors,” Aneta says.

That philosophy is behind the many events the pharmacy ran regularly for the local community. In February, they hosted an allergy and anaphylaxis seminar for the local college for 50 staff and students. Their pharmacists gave educational presentation on the symptoms and causes of allergies as well as emergency treatment protocols for anaphylaxis.

Their customer appreciation events, which offered guests tips on self-care and wellbeing, always sold out weeks in advance due to their educational value and the fun, friendly environment staff created, which featured snacks, refreshments, prizes and make-up presentations.

“Those events were always our way to provide information, to educate our customers and create loyalty,” Aneta says, adding “Due to COVID-19 our business model had to change – we still support our community but we need to be more creative. We are very active on all online channels.”

During lockdown, the pharmacy ran a competition on Facebook in support of healthcare workers. Customers were encouraged to nominate and share stories about their chosen frontline hero, which Aneta said provided a positive medium for heroic stories to be shared. 

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 “It is a well-known fact that small businesses are job creators – 65% of people in Ireland are employed by small or medium businesses, and most of those jobs are local jobs. A great number of Remedi staff are local. Rather than having to commute to another city, employees work closer to home,” Aneta says.

“When local residents shop at small businesses like Remedi within their communities, their euro spend stays within the local economy, helping to improve their community as a result. Likewise, we like to source our products locally. Most of our supplies are Irish owned businesses – by supporting them we are putting more cash back into the community than our chain store counterparts, sparking economic development.”

As well as creating a sense of community by hosting events and sponsoring local charities, Aneta says staff know most customers by name, as well as their family and friends. This personal touch allows staff to often be the first to notice any change or deterioration in their customers.

“Supporting our local customers has always been the most important aspect of the business,” she says.

When businesses are back and staff return to the office, Aneta says she’s really looking forward to welcoming them within a safe, friendly environment.

Due to their recent online development, Remedi pharmacy provides national as well as local delivery of their products.

 Find out more about Remedi Pharmacy here.

Champion Green is supported by @KilkennyShop and @VisaIreland, in association with @sfa_irl@retail_excellence and Chambers Ireland.