It’s no secret that big business has slowly but surely swallowed up smaller competitors over the decades. National supermarket chains like Asda and Tesco have overtaken small local grocers and shops, large clothing stores like Primark have brought cheap and cheerful clothing onto the scene and dominated independent retailers, Google and Apple together have cornered the smartphone market.

However, one of the biggest competitors in the marketplace for just about everything you can buy online is undoubtedly Amazon. It’s extensive reach is felt across the world, and at the end of 2020 – driven by a large percentage of the western world being locked indoors – Amazon’s sales had risen vastly. This made Amazon owner Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world with a net worth of approximately $185bn, overtaking the likes of Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

Many grievances have been levelled against Amazon over the years, from working conditions in factories, to tax avoidance to the sale of illegal items, however by far the greatest threat posed by this sprawling global octopus with tentacles in every part of the market of tangible objects is the fact it doesn’t seem to want to stop accumulating and spreading it’s reach.

Not only have they recently tapped the food supply industry with groceries available to order direct from the website, but it’s latest foray is into the world of pharmaceuticals with the advent of Amazon Pharmacy.

What is Amazon Pharmacy?

Working in a very simple way so that even the most elderly can avail of the services, Amazon Pharmacy is a system where you can log in, leave your details about medication and allergies, find pricing options and have them delivered to your door in a matter of days. The site will keep a record of your prescriptions past and present to build a database of your health needs. It also provides customers with the ability to discuss their prescriptions 24/7 with a pharmacist, however actual prescription still needs to come from your doctor.

With a marketing budget alone for the rollout of Amazon Pharmacy estimated to be around $150m, it’s clear they really want to disrupt the marketplace to their advantage.

What does this mean for independent pharmacies?

In the same way that Amazon has bulldozed its way through various other elements of our society when it comes to buying and selling, it’s no surprise that this new expansion will not be beneficial for smaller, local pharmacies who are already trying to expand their services and offerings to make them more accessible to existing and future customers. After all, the pharmacy market in the UK is around £15bn.

However, it’s not just the smaller chains who will feel the impact of Amazon Pharmacy, and in the USA there have already been drops in share prices for pharmaceutical retailers like CVS and Walgreens (parent company of Boots). Here in the UK, the same kind of outcome will be seen, as there’s no chance of retailers like Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy and Cohens Chemist being able to compete with the kind of superior logistics offered by Amazon.

Independent pharmacies only have the ability to do this in a local setting on a much smaller scale too. In the UK, drug prices are fixed, so Amazon is fortunately not going to be able to offer a great deal of competition when it comes to prices, however what they do bring to the table is speed and efficiency.

How can businesses secure themselves against this push?

A large part of being in business is to make yourself more appealing to the customer than your competitors, and when you enlist the help of dedicated professionals who focus on the buying and selling processes of pharmacies, you can gain some valuable information to help you compete against multinationals like Amazon.

Here at Carter Bond Solicitors we’re here to help you succeed, and we can discuss a wide range of options when it comes to how your pharmacy runs on a daily basis to maximise your potential. Having worked for many years with businesses in your situation, we are perfectly placed to offer the best assistance and strategies to give your company the boost it needs to stay competitive.