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“Phygital” business models are the latest trend but seamless operations

BANGALORE, INDIA, [28th Nov, 2018] – Online retailing is becoming quaint in some sectors. In their place, a new hybrid business paradigm is emerging that combines the strengths of physical and digital retail: the Phygital model.

This new model is gaining more traction in the pharmacy sector. Brick-and-mortar pharmacies have been trying to reach into the digital marketplace, and ePharmacies have been trying just as hard to establish physical presences. The struggle over contested ground has given rise to a business model that other sectors would be wise to learn from.

ePharmacies make it easy to upload prescriptions, identify the names and add to the cart, which may lead consumers to trust that their specific medication will be available just as easily. Not so: online pharmacies don’t necessary hold stocks of all the item available in the world. They face logistical challenges of delivering medicines quickly, whether from a dark store or from a central warehouse.

“It is easy to get a thousand prescriptions, but it’s awfully hard to fulfill them all.” says digital-retail expert Sripal Bachawat of C-Square Info Solution.

While ePharmacies must bear the cost of dark stores to fulfil orders quickly, brick-and-mortar stores can serve the same purpose while generating revenue during business hours. That is the advantage on which traditional pharmacies seek to build online portals. Wellness Forever, is one of the classical example. They have established online front-ends to their traditional retail businesses that allow online prescriptions to be quickly fulfilled by medicine stored nearest to the delivery location.

Whether a business started online or on the ground, its move to a phygital model relies heavily on the help of a technology partner who can reconcile each different sales and fulfillment channel to fit a wide range of scenarios. Bachawat’s C-Square, for example, offers Ecogreen, a centralized retail-management system tailored for chains of retail pharmacies and scalable for single-store owners with plans to expand in the future. Pharmacies looking simply to add an online front end to their existing brick-and-mortar operations can choose C-Square’s TouchStore product. For the truly ambitious, Ecogreen and TouchStore are fully compatible.

Under such systems, prescriptions are uploaded to a pharmacy’s website and the appropriate medicines added to the customer’s account. Customers simply confirm the order. And that’s when the digital magic happens.

The system first scans all stores in the network and identifies the nearest store capable of fulfilling an entire given order. Once the fulfilling store has been identified, invoices are generated, delivery arranged, and online tracking established. If no single store can fulfill a given order, the system looks to individual stores for each item, and arranges delivery to a single store before the entire order is delivered to the customer.

Similarly, an integrated retail-management system can keep track of inventory levels at each outlet, and contact suppliers at just the right time to confirm the stock of medicine at any given location at any given time.

The phygital approach takes full advantage of each traditional model’s strengths: the immediacy and responsiveness of traditional brick-and-mortar pharmacies and the efficient automation characteristic of ePharmacies. With companies like C-Square ready to help blend the two, the future is increasingly phygital.

Bandana Kankani
B.O.O.T Nxt
+91 9980892233

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