The Perceived Risk of Purchasing OTC Drugs: A Comparative Study of Pharmacies with Different Levels of Digitalization

Semra Ersöz

Vol 19 | Issue 1 pp. 128-158


Brick-and-mortar pharmacies are facing strong competition from online pharmacies and are using digital techniques in their salesrooms as a counterstrategy. This study examines how digitalization affects purchase intentions among German customers. Perceived purchase risk, as a barrier to purchase, is compared for three types of pharmacies: non-digitalized pharmacies with conventional product displays (shelves) for products, digitalized pharmacies with digital signage displays for product presentation, and online pharmacies. Six risk types (performance, physical, psychological, financial, social, and privacy risks) and their effects on overall risk perception as well as purchase intentions are investigated in an online survey with a within-subject design. Results show that customers prefer non-digitalized pharmacies for shopping and rate their risk as the lowest. Digitalized brick-and-mortar pharmacies are ranked in the same league as online pharmacies in terms of risk assessment. The purchase intention in digitalized brick-and-mortar pharmacies is nevertheless higher than in online pharmacies.

Keywords: Community Pharmacy, OTC Drug Presentation, Risk, Online Pharmacy, Digitalization Strategy

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