17 mins read

The first pharmacy in the Metaverse

The pandemic has resulted in a rapid shift toward digital for virtually every industry, including those that were previously slower to adapt to digital change. The pharmaceutical industry is one of them. 

Greater health knowledge access through technology has changed how patients research medications and personal health topics, how they interact with their physicians, and how they have taken personal goals into their own hands. As a result, patients now have more access to healthcare information and pharma companies than ever before. 

Sweden is generally regarded as a big ‘life science nation’. But when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, the country’s dedication to research and innovation is fairly disproportionate.

A shift of strategy to ‘unified commerce’ 

Kronans Apotek is the third largest pharmacy chain in Sweden, with a turnover of 8 billion SEK, 2600 employees, and over 300 physical stores all over Sweden plus a fast-growing e-commerce business.

With the aim of improving care and health for everyone, the renowned chain is now exploring the possibilities of digitization for the care of the future while still relying on the strength of its physical offices. 

“Believing that the future is 100% digital would be naive and a gross simplification. At Kronans Apotek, we don’t believe in physical commerce or e-commerce, we believe in unified commerce – so we need an omnichannel strategy that includes a strong physical presence in the future as well” said Linda Wakeham, Head of PR, Strategy & Relations.

The future focuses on service & forecasting consumer demand

Coming back on a recent article shared by Bayer ‘A growing healthcare demand and new technologies are transforming the pharmaceutical industry. Are you aware?’ it seems like the industry is embracing a new revolution and companies need to take a step in the right direction, being creative and embracing change. “Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have enabled companies to forecast consumer demand with unprecedented levels of precision and improve supply chain efficiency. There’s also an increasing focus on service and experience simply because emotionally connected buyers will be more valuable than highly satisfied ones in the future.” shares Linda. 

Embracing competition and trends to stay ahead of the game

As far as retail is concerned, in all industries included, consumer behavior towards brands is shifting and companies need to find ways to meet consumers where they are today and satisfy their needs in the post-crisis, the digital transition still, period.

“In a world where the in-store experience no longer dominates the customer journey, we as a brand have altered our strategy to adjust to a new ecosystem that more seamlessly connects and rebalances our focus of in-store and online experiences. “ adds Linda.

Staying ahead of the game will now suppose the most accurate knowledge and research and constant monitoring of consumer insights – who probably are wondering themselves how to buy and shop in this new world where digital and physical presence is not enough anymore. It is not a thing anymore to compete and do better than competitors but the way to thrive is now on collaboration and co-creation. How can we – together – understand our consumers better?

“Epicenter Store is therefore a fantastic innovative landscape to be in. We meet a lot of other companies here that we can collaborate, test, experiment, grow, and build new solutions with. It’s extremely valuable and rewarding. We became a member here because we want to be at the forefront of digitalization, retail, and innovation. Being here truly helps us to rethink what’s possible and to discover new opportunities, new consumer behavior etc.”

Co-creating the very first pharmacy in the Metaverse

We have seen various examples of co-creation and collaboration within the same industry. However, going beyond that could emerge a solution to the future of retail – collaboration across industries, where you can learn from each other, benefit from and bring creativity to another level. That is what Kronans Apotek and Metabloxz started doing at Epicenter Store. 

“Together with Metabloxz, we are doing some tests and experiments in the metaverse to better understand how consumers behave there and if metaverse can complement, streamline, or perhaps in some cases offer new solutions when we don’t have any left in the old one. We need to meet our customers wherever they are, and that includes the metaverse so it’s all about learning and understanding by testing and experimenting,” adds Linda.

Building the very first pharmacy in the Metaverse, a unique project for the future of retail. As a lot of people wondered when the hype for AI or the cloud started a few years ago, will the Metaverse really take off or just shade away as fast as it arrived? Currently, no one can really say but the only people who never fail are the ones who never tried

“It’s my strong belief that if metaverse is to really take off and be able to function in the long term, it needs to be integrated and contribute to improving people’s physical everyday life. That’s exactly what the internet did for us humans, i.e., created better, smarter, faster solutions to many of our everyday needs.” 

Next? Onto a unique universe providing better healthcare

Together with Metabloxz, Kronans Apotek is currently experimenting with the Metaverse and looking at how they can provide better healthcare and for instance provide consumers with better ways to track their medicine, monitor prescriptions, learn how to take medicine, and receive reminders. It is an exciting future for the pharmaceutical industry, and how retail and the metaverse are working together to meet the so far unknown customers’ expectations and wants. 

“There will undoubtedly be serious ethical, moral, and experiential considerations for us to grapple with on this journey—but we believe in human potential to propel us into crafting an entirely new healthcare universe that is more accessible, more data-driven, more secure, and more enjoyable for us all,” concluded Linda.



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