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Pharmacy First boosts it’s health with Magento migration

Have you ever struggled to get to your local pharmacy before it closes? Pharmacy First are a fully registered UK pharmacy. Many of us lead busy lives so gaining access to healthcare services can be difficult. Their mission is to provide the convenience of your high street pharmacy direct to your door.

Magento Migration

iWeb built Pharmacy First’s previous website in 2009 using an eCommerce platform called CubeCart. After several successful years Pharmacy First have outgrown their original website. They came to us looking for a refreshed design that was responsive, providing an optimised experience for all screens and devices. Which is why we recommended making the switch to Magento – a feature rich eCommerce platform which will support their business as it continues to grow.

We are conscious to make all our websites as fast as possible. There have been many studies to prove that slower websites impact conversions. One study by Amazon showed that every 100ms delay decreased profits by 1%.


The Pharmacy First website was launched on iWeb’s new hosting platform. Engineered from the ground up for speed and reliability. Year-on-year speed comparisons show increases of up to 60%. All new websites will use this hosting platform and we’ll also be working in the near-term on a staged migration for existing customers.

During the past year we’ve been developing a lightweight front end pattern library for our websites. This means the website is as small and fast as possible. Our in-house framework allows us to collate all the different reusable components on a website. These can include product list items, blog list items, button styles and heading styles. These reusable components can them be copied across the website to minimise duplicate code and ensure a consistent experience throughout.


Search is really important on an eCommerce website. Many customers will use search so it must work well. Unfortunately Magento’s built-in search isn’t the best – generally returning disappointing results. We have created our own search extension that uses Elasticsearch. Adding Elasticsearch improves search results by using autocomplete, spelling correction and alternative spelling (such as color and colour). This is particularly useful for Pharmacy First where many of their products are difficult to spell.

A large part of the website is for prescriptions. Their site offers three types of prescription – private, NHS and over-the-counter. To order a prescription, the customer adds the items to their cart. During the checkout process they are asked what type of prescription it is. If it’s private they are charged at normal price and for NHS it is a fixed cost. They are then asked to post their prescription to Pharmacy First for processing. For over-the-counter medication, customers are asked a series of questions to make sure they have selected the correct items. All these orders are then automatically held for manual approval by the fulfilment team.

Often people have medication on a regular basis over a long period of time. Pharmacy First wanted to let people know when their medication is running low. We integrated a system that would email people when their routine medication is about to run out with an option to reorder.

See Pharmacy First’s website for yourself. Visit on your desktop, tablet or smartphone.

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Posted in Design, eCommerce, iWeb, Magento


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