Family pharmacy launches e-commerce site
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a love of racquetball that ultimately led provider Tim Stiles to launch an e-commerce store.
“We used to be able to buy all of our racquetball gear locally, but in the past five or six years, you cannot go into a store,” said Stiles, owner of Preston Pharmacy and Home Medical Supplies. “Because I was forced to go online, I figured there’s probably people in other parts of the country that cannot walk into someplace and get HME.”
The store, which launched in October, can be accessed through the provider’s website at www.jacksonvillehomemedicalsupplies.com. It carries a wide range of cash products, from daily living and bath safety items to patient self care items like arthritis and skin care items.
It’s a natural progression for the provider, which was already special-ordering items to be drop-shipped to walk-in customers, said Stiles.
“I don’t have the space or the warehouse or the capital to stock all the products that I can offer to people,” he said. “Now, I can give them a much larger selection.”
The other impetus for launching the site: competitive bidding.
“We just didn’t feel like competitive bidding was going to work for our smaller, customer-oriented model,” said Stiles.
The provider plans to slowly increase traffic to the website.
“I am offering discounts to ‘like’ me on Facebook, and trying to put health related blogs on the site that I can link to Facebook,” he said. “We’ll post things about how to use a rollator safely or the benefits of vitamin D.”
Preston Pharmacy and Home Medical Supplies is a family-owned pharmacy that started in 1954. Stiles’s family purchased it in 1974 and added HME nearly 20 years ago. While the company may be embracing the Internet and social media, it’s the human element that drives its success, says Stiles.
“We just try to keep it personal and likeable, and we try to give people good advice,” he said. “Sometimes the good advice is, ‘Don’t buy that.’”