Written by Starshipit
When the early days of COVID-19 kept shoppers at home, closed stores and slowed the economy right down, retailers all over Australia started to worry about their futures.
But whether they could walk into a store or not, customers still needed to access essential products like pharmaceuticals. In order to give their customers what they needed and maintain their economic advantage, some businesses were forced to adapt – and as a result, thrived.
Superpharmacy is one of those retailers. With local stores in every state across Australia plus an online distribution network that can reach all Australians, Superpharmacy had to close their stores and move to almost 100% online sales when COVID-19 hit.
The omnichannel discount chemist had to do some quick thinking to make sure they could continue to meet customers’ expectations and health needs while maintaining social distancing.
Changing processes in such an essential industry had the potential to cause customer backlash though. Superpharmacy’s User Experience Designer Lachlan Fraser-Bell says that closing storefronts, opening collection windows, and encouraging customers to opt for delivery instead of picking up their medical products in person had the potential to cause friction.
“We really pushed to adapt quickly with systems and services that would put our customers and own staff’s health first,” he says. “We found that communicating this reasoning as the cause of change helped to quell a lot of resistance.”
Of course, this push for delivery-first meant that the team had to make sure their fulfilment processes were watertight. They had to implement changes to make their overall fulfilment strategy faster and more efficient, starting with printing shipping labels.
“Staff used to have to download a PDF of a shipping label and manually print it. There was potential of printing the previous order’s label a second time. Starshipit now cuts those steps out by sending the label directly to the printer which improves efficiency and reduces errors.”
Smart webhooks and write-back functionality mean that Starshipit can automatically update the other systems Superpharmacy use too.
“We also used to have to manually mark an order as being dispatched when the label was printed. Starshipit automatically does this which means we have fewer steps to dispatch and less chance of applying incorrect order statuses.
“We have reduced our error rate at dispatch quite dramatically.”
Some of the large courier companies have struggled to keep up with an increase in COVID-related demand. Fraser-Bell says that Starshipit’s plain label function has enabled Superpharmacy to offer hyper-local, fast delivery with smaller local couriers, even if there’s no direct integration with a local courier.
“We have found that we can offer a better service though our local courier network. We are now pushing local online orders out of our warehouse through Starshipit’s plain label feature, to move them into our local delivery service.”
He says that while they were already doing well with dispatch, switching to Starshipit during a period of high demand was an instant win for everyone.
“We had already cut down our dispatch time by using Shippit, but when we moved to Starshipit we instantly saw a further decrease in dispatch time and improvement in error rates. Most of the team felt it was super quick to learn, and many even commented on how fast it was.
“Our expectation is that ordering online and having fast delivery (especially in the pharmacy sector) is going to become a mainstay of our customer base, even for those customer brackets that we found were typically online-adverse. Our only wish was that we already had Starshipit up and running before the high volumes hit us … but better late than never.”