August 29, 2019
Inside: Easy changes in front of and behind the pharmacy counter can boost retail pharmacy business.
From your technology to your marketing to your in-store experience, there are myriad ways to improve your pharmacy, make patient experiences better, and in turn improve your pharmacy’s business.
These simple and savvy ideas will make shopping at your pharmacy a breeze for patients and increase your retail pharmacy business.
The average internet user spends over two hours on social media every day. If your pharmacy social media accounts have been left to languish, with only sporadic posting, you’re missing out on what could be a huge opportunity for your business.
This doesn’t mean that you have to pay for advertising on platforms like Facebook or Twitter— just posting regularly can go a long way to keep your pharmacy at the front of patients’ minds.
Make the most of social media by interacting with your patients when they reply to your posts. They’ll start to see your pharmacy as one of their online “friends” and be more eager to visit. Increased engagement also makes your posts more visible to people who don’t already follow you, which will create a larger base of potential new patients.
If you’ve had the same visuals in your store since it opened, it may be time for a change. Add new outdoor displays to create more curb appeal and encourage more foot traffic.
Inside, bright new displays add intrigue and encourage impulse buys.
For a bigger change to your look, consider changing up the layout of your store. If you currently use a free-flowing layout, you might switch it up to a more organized grid style. Watch your patients as they walk through the store to see if there are spaces that get passed by more often, and make changes accordingly.
Your competitors are taking advantage of technology to make coming to the pharmacy easier— are you?
Investing in a pharmacy app can make convenient services easy to integrate into your current workflow. An app will let patients refill their prescriptions without calling, remind them that their prescription is available, and encourage them to come in for extra services like the flu shot. You can also incorporate a loyalty rewards program into the app, which will boost your retail pharmacy business with consistent and loyal patients.
Other ways you can make your pharmacy more convenient for patients include adding a curbside pickup option or delivering prescriptions to busy or homebound patients.
You don’t have to wait until December to get a holiday bump in your retail pharmacy business. There are hundreds of “marketing holidays” that encourage patients to spend a little bit more money than they would on a normal day.
Run a promotion on smoking cessation products around May 31, which is “World No-Tobacco Day,” or do something special for female patients on September 25 for “National Women’s Health and Fitness Day.”
These kinds of promotions should be run sparingly — if there’s a special holiday promotion every week, they stop feeling so special — but they are a great way to boost retail pharmacy business and traffic a few times throughout the year.
Take a look at Hubspot’s list of marketing holidays and decide which ones have the most potential for your pharmacy.
Limited store hours could also be limiting your retail pharmacy business. Consider expanding or changing your store hours to make your pharmacy more accessible.
Since most people get their shopping done after the workday is done, think about opening later and closing later. You might find you do more business when your store is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. rather than 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If your store is currently closed on Sundays, rethink that strategy. Patients who might not have time to come in on a weekday probably have more time on the weekends. By closing for half the weekend, you are cutting off opportunities for new patients to discover your pharmacy.
Front-end products have a higher profit margin than prescriptions, so increasing those sales can be a great way to boost your business.
If you’ve been carrying the same product lines for years, your shelves probably feel stale. Consider what your pharmacy can provide that the chain stores can’t. Partner with local creatives to sell their artisan products or sell fan gear from the local high schools and colleges.
Your pharmacy website likely has information like your hours, address, and phone number, but when patients search for your information online, your website might not be the first thing that pops up.
Third-party websites like Google also include that kind of information. If those listings are incorrect, your pharmacy’s traffic could be affected.
Your pharmacy should be represented on third-party sites with accurate hours, address, and phone number, plus an attractive photo.
Having plenty of reviews from happy customers is also essential, as 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
With all that information readily available online, you can get the attention of potential new customers and increase pharmacy business.
When patients adhere to their medications, not only will they be healthier and happier, they will also come into your pharmacy more consistently.
Medication therapy management programs help patients not to get overwhelmed by multiple medications, making them more likely to stick to them. Medication synchronization, which lets patients pick up all their medications for the month at one time, makes patients 2.5 times more likely to adhere to their medications and 21 percent less likely to discontinue therapies, according to an NCPA study.
Simple interventions can also increase adherence, like automatic refills and text or phone reminders.
The more time patients spend in your pharmacy, the more money they’ll spend.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should purposefully make your patients wait to get their prescriptions, but there are other things you can do to encourage them to stick around.
Engaging displays are a must—for cosmetic products like lotions or soaps, offer free samples to slow patients down as they make their way through the store.
In-store events are another great way to entice patients into the pharmacy and make them extra aware of your products and services.
For a simpler method, offer a free bottle of water to patients when they walk in the door. They’ll slow down as they sip.
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of great customer service in increasing your retail pharmacy business.
Your staff should be helpful and easy to get a hold of when patients have questions, but they shouldn’t hover, because most customers want to be left alone while they are shopping.
Train your staff to be friendly and patient, even when patients are being particularly difficult. This way, patients will feel like their problem has been heard and understood.
Great customer service will make visiting the pharmacy feel like less of a hassle, while a bad customer service experience might turn off a patient forever.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is an independently owned pharmacy services organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, 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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