February 25, 2020
Inside: Encourage patients to increase their basket size with these creative in-store marketing techniques.
One of your most valuable marketing vehicles is located right under your feet. Your store provides you with an opportunity to reach a captive audience, and if you’re not using it to further your marketing strategy, you could be missing out on potential profits.
Brian Cairns, founder and CEO of ProStrategix Consulting, a company that provides guidance and expertise to small businesses, says that many pharmacists aren’t taking advantage of the marketing opportunities presented to them when patients walk into the store. “They should use every trip as an opportunity to remind the customers of what they offer,” he said.
In-store marketing is a tool that gives you an advantage over online retailers, especially when it comes to immediate needs and impulse buys. Cairns posed the situation, “When you have a cold, are you going to buy something on Amazon for next-day shipment or go to the drug store? For these types of products you just need to remind the consumer that you carry them and make it simple and easy for them to find what they need.”
To successfully execute in-store marketing, you have to understand how your patients shop, then tailor the in-store experience. Many people see shopping as a skill, so you should use marketing to make them feel like they are snagging a good deal (all while getting them to spend more money at the pharmacy).
Figure out who you’re targeting, like people with colds or diabetic patients. Then determine how you can point them to what they need. With the right messaging and execution, you can increase basket size.
There are many different ways you can market to patients in-store. Try out a few of these techniques to increase your sales.
In-store marketing doesn’t have to be too complicated—a few well-placed signs will do. To ensure your message is read, place signs in your window and at the checkout counter. Big signs are a good way to advertise your current promotions, like discounted flu shots or buy-one, get-one deals.
Call certain products out by putting them in flashier displays. Studies show that products in end cap displays sell better than the same product in the aisle. They’re more accessible, and because they are highly visible, they increase sales.
Signs that point patients to their most-needed products make your pharmacy more user-friendly. Place the sign near the door or around the pharmacy to help them find cold and flu meds, beauty products, or the pharmacy counter. These also work double duty, letting patients know what kind of products you offer.
Tip sheets can easily be slipped into shopping bags as patients are checking out, and then they stick around in their house. During cold and flu season, you can provide advice for avoiding illness while at the same time reminding them you carry all the products patients need if they do end up getting sick.
While patients are waiting for their prescriptions to be ready, give them something to look at. Placing brochures at the counter is a great way to teach patients about new services. There’s no shelf you can direct patients to for “medication therapy management” or “immunizations,” but brochures bring tangibility and make it easier for patients to remember these programs exist.
Issue exclusive coupons when patients walk into the pharmacy. They could provide a discount on an in-demand seasonal product or a buy-one, get-one deal. If you make the coupon valid for a later date, it will encourage people to come back to the pharmacy to redeem it in the future. Even if they aren’t redeemed, coupons educate patients about the products you carry and make them feel special.
Set up stations where patients can try products out in the store. Whether it is a fancy pen or a scented lotion, patients will be encouraged to stop for a little while and look around at everything else you have to offer. Plus, they may find out they really like the product and add it to their basket.
On-the-go patients who are contending with data limits appreciate the opportunity to log in to free Wi-Fi while they shop. You can turn that into a marketing opportunity by creating a landing page that lets them know about any special deals you’re running. You can also use free Wi-Fi to ask for patients’ email addresses, which means you can reach out to them with more offers after they’ve left the store.
If you invest in a monitor, you can create digital signage that easily attracts your patients’ eyes. You can easily rotate through product advertisements and information about the services you provide. You can also use them to show off the great reviews and praises you’ve received from patients on review sites and social media.
Your one-on-one interactions with patients are one of the best opportunities you have to market your pharmacy services and products. When you are friendly and know the store’s products like the back of your hand, you’ll be able to encourage patients to buy the things they didn’t know they needed.
You can accomplish a lot using in-store marketing, but if you’re not careful, your campaign can go awry. Try to avoid these stumbling blocks when creating an in-store marketing campaign.
The biggest mistake you can make is not engaging with your patients in the store. In-store marketing is one of the least expensive ways to reach your patients. Printing costs are very low. Coupons are appreciated by patients but redeemed less than 2 percent of the time. And setting up creative displays costs only time. When your patients are in the store, it’s the best opportunity you have to show them what you’ve got.
You don’t want your pharmacy to look like a scene from Blade Runner. If there is too much going on, patients who visit are going to feel overwhelmed, and they might not come back. Do what you need to get your message out, but don’t bombard your patients.
Just like your external marketing campaigns, your in-store marketing should have a clear and purposeful message. Always keep your end goals in mind. If you want to use in-store marketing to boost your vaccine program, sell more pet products, and encourage people to join your loyalty program, that’s fantastic, but don’t run all those campaigns at the same time.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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