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9 Tips to Make Your Independent Pharmacy Highly Competitive

9 Tips to Make Your Independent Pharmacy Highly Competitive by Elements magazine |

March 30, 2016

Sometimes it’s overwhelming to think of all the entities that your pharmacy has to compete against, including national chains, big box pharmacies, mail order pharmacies and other independent pharmacies, just to name a few.

Keeping up with the competition requires that you stay up-to-date with industry trends, cutting-edge services and popular products that keep patients coming to your pharmacy. To ensure that your pharmacy competes at its peak ability, you need to equip your business with the tools, resources and know-how to beat the competition.

Here’s a look at what your pharmacy needs to be competitive.

1. The proper mindset

Start thinking of your pharmacy in terms of the competition.

Where are you better than the competition? Where does the competition have you beat? Ask yourself these questions to identify your pharmacy’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, use those insights to improve your business.

Thinking of your business in terms of your competition will keep you sharp, and always on the lookout for the latest trends, products and services.

2. A strategy

Your pharmacy needs a strategy to stay competitive.

A well-thought out strategy can help all of your pharmacy’s elements work together to provide patients with a complete care experience that rivals even the vast resources of large national chain pharmacies.

Select a niche to specialize in and deliberately design your front-end arrangement, product selection, service offerings and marketing to support and promote that niche.

Organize your strategy into small, measurable steps by creating a calendar to plan monthly events, rotate front-end displays, and publish social media posts that highlight your niche and bolster your credibility.

3. Comparable product and service offerings

To compete, you pharmacy needs to offer patients the products and services they need.

If your pharmacy doesn’t feature smoking cessation classes, for example, then you can’t compete with other pharmacies that do, which puts you at risk of losing those patients to a pharmacy competitor who can better meet their needs. Ask your patients what services or products they’d like to see offered at your pharmacy. Then, incorporate the most common suggestions to ensure that you don’t lose patients to the competition.

4. Goals

Setting goals for your pharmacy can help you improve on your areas of weakness and capitalize on your strengths, which are key ingredients to remaining competitive.

Set objectives to expand your knowledge about an area of weakness through continuing education (CE) sessions, or by attending pharmacy conferences and tradeshows.

Continuously updating your pharmacy’s goals once you achieve them can help you stay competitive, and on par with the rest of the industry.

5. Unique front-end products

Offering a selection of unique front-end products can set your pharmacy apart. Consider creating a front-end display of local products, or an end cap featuring a selection of natural items. Offering your patients a selection of unique products that they can’t get anywhere else gives your pharmacy a competitive edge.

6. Expert knowledge

Establishing your pharmacy and your staff as the go-to experts for health advice and knowledge can make your pharmacy more competitive.

Start by selecting topics or conditions that you’d like to focus on, such as smoking cessation, weight loss, or sports nutrition. Then, take steps to build your expert knowledge and demonstrate it to your patients. You can attend relevant conferences, get new certifications or focus your CE on your specialty area.

7. Innovative services

Offering the most innovative, cutting-edge services at your pharmacy is a must if you want to be competitive.

Eliminate the pain and frustration of a trial-and-error process by offering pharmacogenetic testing, for example. Innovative services such as this can spur patient-to-patient recommendations and keep your pharmacy competitive.

8. Strong community ties

To be competitive, your pharmacy needs to be active in your community.

Build strong community partnerships with key community leaders, including area physicians, public health offices and major employers. Research the specific health needs of your area by consulting reliable resources, and then offer products and services that address those needs. Look for ways to strengthen your community relationships, like only a small business can, by supporting local charities, schools and other health care professionals.

If you support your community, it will support your business in return.

9. Support services

Select business partners that will equip your pharmacy with the support services you need to stay competitive.

The right business partners can help your pharmacy with everything, from getting a better cost of inventory, through buying group services, to improving your third party reimbursements with a third party network.

If you need expert negotiators to ensure your pharmacy gets the best-possible contract terms or tools to compete with $4 generics and improve your third party reconciliation, PBA Health, a pharmacy services organization based in Kansas City, Mo., can help.

PBA Health’s full line of products and services can help you buy better, free your time to focus on patients, and keep you competitive.

Learn how your independent community pharmacy can strike a balance between the convenience of chains and the charm of an independent to offer your patients the best of both worlds while making your pharmacy as competitive as possible.

Related articles:
How to Compete with National Chain Pharmacies
17 Essentials Your Pharmacy Needs to Compete
How One Pharmacy Competes With $4 Generics



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