The previous article published in this blog “Rethinking Pharmacies in Saudi Arabia”, has been widely discussed and debated in recent weeks. As many as 55,000 people have read, commented and shared the article. Many have agreed with us and some, as can sometimes be the case, have expressed their disapproval. In any case, it has clearly become a deeply felt matter across the Arab world, and this is obviously a positive sign since it implies the desire to change and improve!
The idea behind these articles and all of our posts on various social networks, is to share ideas. That means suggestions as well as criticism if the common goal is the collective well-being and growth of pharmacies in Saudi Arabia. This is why we have decided to tell another story that sets a good example: that of the new pharmacy at the private hospital of Al-Moosa in Al Hofuf (in the main city of Al Hasa Oasis in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia).
When the collaboration between Sartoretto Verna and Al-Moosa began, the objective was “to improve people’s lives”, those who require pharmaceutical assistance and whom we would like to provide a better service, as well as those who work in the pharmacy every day. The idea was that of a workplace designed to make all activities easier and to pay “more attention to customers”, ensuring their privacy and adequate advice on health and well-being. A welcoming atmosphere that can also be “exciting”: stepping into an Al-Moosa pharmacy would be a unique experience in a professional environment!
For CEO Malek Al Mousa, facing this challenge meant riding “the wave of change”. No one can stop change, it’s scary, but we can’t stop it and for the more far-sighted individuals who are able to see the future more clearly, it can be seen as a great opportunity for business.
I’d like to explain a few things first: the Sartoretto Verna family has been designing pharmacies for 50 years and three generations. I have been examining them closely with curiosity since I was a child. I remember the pharmacy around the block from my home: it was dark, messy, with demotivated and rude staff. Just like everyone else, I’ve needed medicine and care in my life, for me and my loved ones, but going inside that place it was not pleasant at all. I would stand in line, waiting for my turn and look at all the shelves and wonder: how is it that a place that promises health and well-being is so depressing? So I figured that there was no alternative. Today, thank goodness, there are many alternatives and in the future there will be even more! Pharmacies are growing in number and changing their look to adjust to people’s needs, people who are increasingly informed thanks to the internet and increasingly conscious of the fact that prevention can help us live better and longer lives.
Even the pharmacy downstairs has started paying attention to PEOPLE’S NEW NEEDS! It motivates and trains staff. It has moved to larger and brighter spaces that are kept clean and tidy, offers health and wellness services, allows customers to sample products, organizes meetings with promoters and specialists, features a waiting areas for the elderly and a playing area for children. It gives their customers detailed information about their products, characteristics, prices and special offers. It is planning to offer a unique array of products and services and has an image that is DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER PHARMACIES.
Has your pharmacy done the same things? It will soon be forced to do so and it won’t be the owner’s decision anymore: it will have to catch up with the market and the client’s needs. It’s a matter of survival for YOUR business! If you have followed and understood, you will certainly agree that NOW is a great time to offer these services before everyone else, to offer a new type of pharmacy and what PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT.
The new Al-Moosa pharmacy in Saudi Arabia was born as a result of this idea and Sartoretto Verna’s international experience on consumer trends in pharmacies: placing BOTH PEOPLE AND PHARMACISTS AT THE CENTER OF OUR SERVICES.
I’ll let the readers judge the results. Perhaps some of you have already been there in person. Take a look at the photos below. I can only briefly summarize a work of analysis, design and realization that for weeks has involved the managers and directors of the pharmacy – smart, motivated and passionate people. Thanks to these people, we have formed a team united by a common goal and now I can proudly say that we have reached a milestone, a different way of conceiving pharmacies across Saudi Arabia.
We will address the issues in the following articles, but in the meantime, I would like to offer you some useful tools to think about for your pharmacy NOW. Here is a list of 10 key points on which we have based the creation of the new Al-Moosa pharmacy:
Optimization of operational areas and workspace
- Columns fitted with drawers for products, strategically placed by the prescription counter
- Mono-station prescription counter, for a one-to-one patient-pharmacist confidential and privileged relationship
- Separate and clearly defined product areas
- Three levels of product presentation on shelves (macro-category / brand / product type and price)
- Creating a specific path for sales
- Creating areas within the pharmacy that offer new test services
- A test area to sample products (samples and promoter)
- A welcome desk at the entrance / cash desk near the exit
- An open facade and store sign analysis
To close with the words of the CEO:
“Design plays a fundamental role in creating the right atmosphere for wellness. Design leads to the creation of the right energy, harmony and balance, and Sartoretto Verna was able to transform our vision, strategy and the history of our business to give it a new fresh identity”
Malek Al Mousa, CEO – Al-Moosa General Hospital