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5 Retail Lessons Your Pharmacy Can Learn from E-Commerce Websites

5 Retail Lessons Your Pharmacy Can Learn from E-Commerce Websites by Elements magazine |

June 19, 2017

It’s no secret that the online shopping market continues to grow. E-commerce websites are getting smarter and finding more ways to not only attract new customers, but to also encourage repeat visitors.

The good news? Your pharmacy can take a page out of these online retailers’ books.

Many patients still prefer to shop at a brick-and-mortar store they trust for prescriptions and other health care needs.

Make the most of the foot traffic in your pharmacy. Increase sales and encourage repeat business by applying these five lessons from e-commerce websites.

Lesson 1: Personalize the customer experience

Online retailers have mastered the art of personalizing the shopper experience.

When you return to an e-commerce website, it often knows your name, your purchase history and what products you’re interested in. This information allows them to customize your shopping experience and offer recommendations and deals that apply specifically to you.

For example, Amazon always displays other items frequently bought with the item you’re viewing and displays recommended products based on that item.

How you can apply this lesson:
Create a more intimate retail shopping experience for your patients.

Encourage front-end employees to be personable, such as greeting returning patients by name and knowing which products interest them.

Lesson 2: Upsell products

How many times have you made an online purchase and added an additional item to your cart because the site recommended it?

You’ve seen upselling work online, but have you tried it at your pharmacy?

How you can apply this lesson:
When you upsell, you encourage a customer to purchase a needed item in addition to what he’s already purchasing.

For example, if a patient is looking for medicine to treat a sore throat, you can recommend he also purchase hot tea or lozenges to help soothe the pain.

Train employees to appropriately make recommendations and upsell items to patients to increase your front-end sales.

Lesson 3: Collect and display customer reviews

Since most people post reviews online, e-commerce websites can easily use them to their advantage.

But you can also showcase reviews at your brick-and-mortar pharmacy.

How you can apply this lesson:
Encourage patients to review your business online, then print and display those reviews on your pharmacy counter, in your drive-thru, in your waiting area or on your front door.

For example, if a patient posts a Facebook review about your pharmacy’s excellent customer service or the friendliness of your staff, display the review in the area where patients wait for their prescriptions.

Lesson 4: Follow up with customers

Think about all the follow-up communications you receive from online stores after you make a purchase.

Maybe it’s a weekly email or an advertisement on your Facebook newsfeed. Whatever the case, e-commerce websites work hard to keep you coming back.

It’s equally important to make efforts to get patients back into your pharmacy. Engage patients who visit your store, and find a way to convince them to return.

How you can apply this lesson:
If a patient visits your pharmacy to pick up vitamins for her family, let her know about the kids’ vitamin program you offer. If she knows she can get her child’s vitamins for free or at a discount, she’ll likely buy all of her family’s vitamins from your pharmacy in the future.

Additionally, collect patients’ contact information so you can send them communications about events and special offers they’ll want to come back for.

Lesson 5: Use email marketing

E-commerce websites use email marketing is their main channel for follow-up communication.

Email marketing allows businesses to keep in touch and stay top-of-mind with customers. After all, that’s what marketing is about.

How you can apply this lesson:
Be proactive. Increase traffic at your pharmacy by sending out regular emails to remind patients about your pharmacy’s upcoming events, to promote a seasonal sale or to provide an exclusive coupon.

Your independent community pharmacy can learn a lot from online retailers to increase sales and foster patient loyalty.


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