February 25, 2016
As an independent community pharmacy, you have to find a balance between keeping up with national chain pharmacies and staying true to your unique identity.
Independents provide a personal touch for their patients and are known for being different than national chain pharmacies. But, your pharmacy can always adapt new strategies for success. By combining the personalized service your pharmacy provides with the strategies of a national chain pharmacy, you can have the best of both worlds.
National chain pharmacies may have larger budgets and more resources to put toward their endeavors, but you can still adapt their strategies to fit your pharmacy. Here are some ideas.
Consider adding new technology to your pharmacy. National chain pharmacies offer patients convenient technology, such as text and email refill reminders, and the option to refill prescriptions online or via smartphone app. Becoming more high tech doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. Check with your pharmacy software provider to find out how you can offer patients text reminders, or get an app for your pharmacy.
National chain pharmacies place a big focus on the front end. While you may not be able to compete on every price point, you may be surprised what you can do. Utilize your store planograms, change up your displays and signage and stock local products. Patients may be more inclined to buy from your front end if you keep it updated.
Many national chain pharmacies brand their businesses as community health providers. And they do offer services, such as vaccines and immunizations, smoking cessation programs and health clinics. Your pharmacy can offer these services, and much more. Look into providing services national chains don’t offer, such as health and wellness consultations, compounding, diabetes care and pharmacogenetics testing.
National chain pharmacies have the volume to gain lower pricing on their inventory, but you can compete. Buying group services, such as ProfitGuard by PBA Health, can get you improved pricing, rebates and payment terms on your primary wholesaler contract. ProfitGuard also features business intelligence tools that track your contract performance, verify pricing and give you money-saving recommendations on products you’re already purchasing.
Many national chain pharmacies have added in-store clinics to their pharmacies. These clinics are usually run by nurse practitioners and offer treatment for minor aches, pains and injuries, as well as health screenings and wellness visits. You may not be able to add a clinic to your pharmacy, but there are other options. You could look into adding a second location in or near a hospital, health center or medical plaza. Another option is partnering with a nurse practitioner or physician to offer health screenings at your pharmacy one day a week.
Keep up-to-date with the latest pharmacy trends to remain competitive.