Finding Your Pharmacy’s Niche

Pharmacies have a lot of similarities. In fact, when customers visit one pharmacy, they sometimes feel like they’ve visited them all. That’s because pharmacies often fail to consider their patients’ interests, not to mention nationwide industry trends; so much so that consumers aren’t extremely loyal to any one outlet.

As a community pharmacist, it’s important that you make your pharmacy stand out from the others. Finding an area you can specialize in will turn your pharmacy into more than a place to pick up prescriptions; it’ll become a destination. Making your pharmacy stand out from the rest can improve profitability, drive recommendations, and reinforce a purpose.

Whether your pharmacy focuses on natural products, compounding, or diabetes care, having an established niche can make your pharmacy a guide for your community. Plus, you provide patients with a more personalized experience they can’t get from the chains. To make it successful, you have to do the research and add in a little flair to pique curiosity and draw customers in.

Get to Know Your Market

Whatever your forte may be, it needs to be different than anything else in your local market. So, it’s important to find out what your competitors provide before you commit. One way to do this is by visiting your competitor chains to see what they have to offer. It’s also a good idea to look to your wholesaler or merchandise supplier for inspiration. Find out what they have available and what products you can use to cater to a specific group.

Evaluate the demographics in your area. If you have a lot of diabetes patients, specializing in products and services for diabetics will give new patients a reason to stop into
your pharmacy.

Do the Math

No matter how trendy or cutting edge your new service may be, if it doesn’t have the capacity to raise your pharmacy’s revenue, it won’t last. In fact, it could become a financial blow.

Take a hard look at your finances before you add a new service. Make sure you can afford the initial investment. Even small changes can cost a lot.

When you introduce your niche service, think hard about pricing. Check other pharmacies to see what they’re charging for similar services. Do the math to determine how long it will take you to make a profit with the service at different price points.

Some experts advise pricing services higher than you think you should when you start out. That way, if the price ends up higher than it should be, it’s easy to lower it and get your patients excited about a deal. However, if your price it too low, it’ll be much harder for consumers to want to spend more.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

When you finally decide what attribute you want your pharmacy to serve, take a deep breath and go all in. That’s right. You and your staff need to be passionate and committed.
Own it. Constantly ask yourself what more you can do for the patients who are coming in for these products.

If diabetes care is your jam, don’t think that simply stocking a few products for diabetics will make your pharmacy a diabetes destination. You need to get deep into your specialty and provide a solution, not just products. Give advice and resources rather than just the information that’s already available.

Interview your diabetic patients and ask them about the products and services they use and need but aren’t being offered in the community. Be empathetic to those you’re trying to serve. This is how you get to understand those patients and what you can do to create better solutions for them. Check out websites, blogs, and social media to learn what people with diabetes are talking about. This can give you some great ideas on what to offer in your pharmacy.

Spread the News

So, you’ve determined your pharmacy’s niche. Now it’s time to spread the word. After all, you can’t succeed if nobody knows it exists.

Start by adding information about your products and services to your website, along with any other promotional materials you send out. Inside your pharmacy, set up a separate space for your specialty items. That way, your customers can easily see all the helpful products your store offers.

Create unique branding for your service that stands out for patients who come into your pharmacy frequently. This can pique their curiosity and prompt them to ask questions. You can build up excitement by inviting members of your loyalty program to try out the new service before it becomes officially available to the public. Get the word out through every avenue available, such as email marketing, social media, radio stations, and direct mail. Consider offering an enticing discounted rate to encourage people to try out your new service during the first week after you’ve introduced it.

After it has gotten off the ground, share the glowing testimonials from the happy patients who’ve already taken advantage of it.

Stay Competitive

Personalization is key in your pharmacy. Otherwise, why would patients want to go to your pharmacy for specialty supplements when they can just order them from Amazon?

If you want customers to keep coming through your doors, you must put personality into the solution you’re developing. Become connected to the patients you’re serving. Get to know them and invite them in.

Once you’ve committed to your mission, it doesn’t take very long to implement it once you’ve done your research. You have the advantage of flexibility. Your closeness to your community is right in front of you. That means all you have to do is look around!

Choosing Your Niche

Having a specialty service in your independent pharmacy goes far beyond filling prescriptions. You have services that meet the needs of specific populations in your community, making them a destination. Here is a list of areas some pharmacies have added to their stores:

  • Compounding
  • Cancer Care
  • Diabetes Care
  • Vaccines and Immunizations (Including Travel)
  • Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements
  • Specialty Diets (Ketogenic, Paleo, etc.)
  • Hospital-to-Home Transitions
  • Family Caregivers
  • Health Education
  • Lab Testing

From the Magazine

This article was published in our quarterly print magazine, which covers relevant topics in greater depth featuring leading experts in the industry. Subscribe to receive the quarterly print issue in your mailbox. All registered independent pharmacies in the U.S. are eligible to receive a free subscription.

More articles from the March 2024 issue:

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