March 1, 2018
Inside: Consumers today want personalized experiences and customized products that they can only get at local businesses. Find out how to capitalize on the shop local movement to grow your independent pharmacy.
You’d have to live in a hole in the ground to have not noticed the support local movement happening.
Buy local. Eat local. Shop local.
Recently, dozens of campaigns and slogans have showcased the shop local movement. They’ve encouraged spending at local businesses instead of at chain and big box stores. One of the most well-known initiatives is Small Business Saturday, a nationwide event set between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and sponsored by American Express.
But even though the local movement has grown for several years now, experts predict even more consumers to return to Main Street in the near future.
Now’s your chance to put the spotlight on your independent community pharmacy.
After all, your independent community pharmacy is a local business, too.
Why not take advantage of this shop local trend to increase sales at your pharmacy and gain new patients?
Consumers today value shopping experiences with a personal touch. They don’t want to shop at impersonal big box stores with poor customer service.
They want personal service. And they want to get to know the people who they do business with.
Millennials especially prefer to shop at local businesses. They’ll open their wallets for the store down the street before a large chain or corporation.
Your independent pharmacy already has a competitive advantage over national chain and big box pharmacies. Because you can offer what they can’t. (And what consumers want.) Personal service, community support, and a unique shopping experience.
Put your independent pharmacy in the local spotlight by participating in the shop local movement.
You have tons of options to showcase your pharmacy as a locally and independently owned business that’s vital to the community.
Get the community talking about-and visiting-your business with these easy ideas.
Take part in events to build awareness for your local business.
Look for local events, such as health fairs and blood drives, to develop your presence in your community.
Organizations might already have events dedicated to the shop local movement planned in your area. Some cities even have entire months dedicated to shop local campaigns. Check with your city’s chamber of commerce.
You could also do a Google search to find out if anyone has organized a “shop local” event in your area. If there is an event in your area, contact the organizers to participate. And get in touch with your local newspaper to make sure your pharmacy gets listed as a participating business.
And don’t forget national events, too. For many of these events, simply advertise that you’re participating so patients will know.
National events to participate in:
Any time your independent pharmacy participates in a shop local event, get the press involved.
Reporters are always looking for stories for their newspapers or magazines. And T.V. station producers want new ideas for T.V. segments.
For example, if your independent pharmacy is participating in Small Business Saturday, offer to do an interview with a reporter for a story in the local newspaper about the event.
Develop relationships with your local newspapers and T.V. stations so they know they can always count on you when they need an interview. And you’ll get extra press for your business.
Your local community members won’t know a locally owned pharmacy exists in their area if you don’t tell them.
Promote your business with a “shop local” direct mail campaign. Send postcards, flyers or brochures to potential and current customers to remind them to shop local. Let them know getting their prescriptions filled at their hometown pharmacy supports a local business.
You could also offer an incentive. Do a drawing to win a gift card. Or, offer a 5 percent off coupon to use on purchases in your front end if they bring the coupon with them on their next visit.
Decorate your windows with eye-catching “Shop Local” signs.
Use the signs to remind people that when they shop local, more dollars and jobs stay in the community.
People are familiar with the shop local trend today. And promotional signage will remind potential patients that pharmacies are local businesses, too.
Post regular updates to your pharmacy’s Facebook and Twitter pages that remind patients about the benefits of using their local pharmacy.
You could even do a special promotion.
For example, offer a discount to the first five patients who come to your pharmacy and mention they saw your “shop local” status on Facebook.
Communicating on social media can build your relationships with patients and also increase awareness of the buy local movement.
Showcase your independent pharmacy as a true pillar of the community by stocking products in your front end from other local businesses.
When you stock a local artisan’s soaps and local honey from a resident beekeeper, you support other small businesses. These products also help differentiate your pharmacy from national competition. And stocking them will help you cultivate shoppers who want to shop small.
See how D&H Drugstore, an independent community pharmacy in Columbia, Mo., has found success selling quality, local products.
Farm-to-table is so yesterday. Today’s movement is pharmacy-to-patient.
If you look at the growing farm-to-table trend in the restaurant industry, you’ll see that consumers want to know where their products and services come from.
It might seem far-fetched, but you can apply this same concept to your pharmacy business.
Traditional prescriptions can’t fit into this concept. But what specialized services can you offer that patients can only source from their local pharmacy?
Specialized services that patients might prefer to get from their local pharmacy:
Many patients likely don’t realize that their local independent pharmacy offers personalized services. If they did, they’d likely prefer to get those services from your business over national companies.
Get ready to shine in the spotlight. When your independent pharmacy supports local, your community will support your business.
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