Your In-Store Event

Your patients enjoy feeling a part of your community pharmacy. The camaraderie when they walk in to pick up a prescription refill or a tube of toothpaste not only makes them feel at home but keeps them coming back.

While you love all your regulars who frequent your pharmacy and keep it going, don’t forget to find ways to draw in new customers, too. For example, when was the last time you hosted a pharmacy event? If it’s been a couple years, it’s time to plan another. If you’ve never hosted one, what are you waiting for?

Hosting in-store promotional events can:

  • Bring new shoppers into your store
  • Reward your current customers
  • Introduce and educate attendees on new services you offer
  • Celebrate notable achievements

In-store events like this keep your pharmacy current and personal, something that national chains and e-commerce vendors can’t do. While your independent pharmacy may not have the pricing advantages, variety, or the versatile hours of operation that the national chain pharmacies do, you have connections with your customers and community that you can grow further through in-store events.

Event Ideas

  • Grand opening. If your pharmacy is new in town, host an in-person or virtual grand opening party. Inform them of the products and services you offer.
  • Immunization events. Host a week-long vaccination event for flu season or just before the new school year starts.
  • Community events. Look for community events such as job fairs or craft shows. Set up a booth or table to meet more prospective customers and generate brand awareness.
  • Health awareness events. Offer free blood pressure screenings for American Heart Month or free blood glucose tests for American Diabetes Month.
  • Educational webinars. Not every event has to be in person. Webinars are done online in a virtual classroom. So, you can offer a free webinar each month on an important health topic that affects people in your community. It’s a great way to encourage residents to use healthy habits.
  • Seasonal events. Participate in your town’s holiday parades with your pharmacy team. Or, host a bake sale with proceeds going to a local charity.
  • Birthdays and anniversaries. Host an event to honor someone in your pharmacy who is having a birthday or
    an anniversary.

Steer clear of hiring outside help to plan and execute your event. Instead, ask your staff if they’d like to volunteer. While you may have to pay employees overtime or give them a special gift of appreciation, those tokens cost far less than hiring an outside firm.

Your Event Budget

Before you set a budget, be sure you know how much you can spend on an event and how you plan to use the money. One area of the event may be quite pricey, so cut back on your spending for that and give yourself more leeway in another area. For example, a virtual venue will be considerably cheaper than an in-person event. Plus, you’ll have virtual event solutions like online registration and web conference rooms. These are less costly than decorations and catering.

Team Up With Local Businesses

Consider working with other businesses in town. This can cut costs and expand the reach of your pharmacy event. By teaming up with other businesses, you’ll have a lot more reach.

When finding an organization to partner with, choose non-competing businesses that complement your business and can provide services or entertainment. It’s also wise to look to other area healthcare professionals or social service agencies in your community, such as:

  • Optometrists. They can provide eye tests at your eye health event.
  • Audiologists. They can provide hearing tests at your hearing health event.
  • The American Diabetes Association. If you’re having a diabetes event, your local chapter can pass out literature and oftentimes have personnel who will give a talk on a related subject. Contact a blood glucose manufacturer or a sugar-free candy distributor. They would probably be more than willing to support you with some free product samples to share with your guests.
  • A local bakery or florist. Partnering with local businesses provides products to improve the atmosphere and enhance the event experience for your guests.

Recruit Volunteers and Staff

Get started early on the event planning process. You’ll need a lot of bodies around to help the day of your event, so plan to either hire employees or solicit volunteers. Make sure there will be enough people to make the event run smoothly. It’s also smart to plan to have a few extra volunteers scheduled on the event day in case someone is sick or doesn’t show up.

Assign Tasks

Whether your event is small or large, you can’t do everything on your own. That’s why it’s wise to delegate tasks to your workers whenever possible. By knowing their strengths and weaknesses, you’ll know exactly where their skills will help the most.

Promote Your Event

If you want people to come to your event, they need to know about it. One little sign in your pharmacy won’t do the job. So, think of creative ways to get the word out. Some of the top ways to promote an in-store event are:

  • Word of mouth: Your employees will spread the word to customers, who will then tell friends and family about it.
  • Bag stuffers: Have employees put a printed invitation to your event in their prescription bags.
  • Send invitations: Send out invitations to your current customers through email or snail mail.
  • Social media: Post your event on your social media pages at least a couple of weeks in advance. Check it regularly to see if viewers comment or have questions. You can also create a Facebook event to reach more people.
  • Phone: Call your neighboring professionals and invite them.
  • Posters: Whip up a few posters promoting your event and hang them around your pharmacy where customers will see them.
  • Media: Contact your local radio stations or news stations.

The Measure of Your Success

While most businesses use sales as a measure of success, it isn’t always accurate. There are too many factors to base success on an uptick of sales. Instead, look for goals that are less sales related. If one of your goals is to get more people signed up for your pharmacy newsletter, set a goal to get 50 new contacts on your email list as a result of your event.

What it all boils down to is getting your community to know about your pharmacy. Here are a few ways to put your name out there while participating in an outside event:

  • Set up a booth and provide goodies
  • Wear clothes with your pharmacy’s branding
  • Sponsor the event

Remember that even if the event’s success wasn’t what you had hoped, keep going. Look at each event as a learning experience, and then get busy planning your next one. Keep the momentum going because an event is part of a continuum.

Types of Pharmacy Events

Health awareness event

Plan a pharmacy event around health observances.

  • American Heart Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • American Diabetes Month
  • National Influenza Vaccination Week
  • World Health Day

Vaccination event

Host a travel vaccination event for people going
on trips.

  • Pre-cruise planner
  • Mission trip planner
  • Spring break trip planner
  • Semester abroad

Seasonal event

Celebrate different seasons by planning pharmacy events. Use them to sell your seasonal products
and services.

  • Summer fun
  • Back-to-school month
  • Winter solstice
  • Spring into spring

Community event

Host an event in conjunction with celebrations, activities, and holidays in your community.

  • Sidewalk sale
  • Holiday parade
  • Back-to-school party with education freebies
  • Block party with neighboring businesses

More articles from the June 2024 issue:

A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and run by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.

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Elements is written and produced by PBA Health, a buy-side solutions company.

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