October 8, 2020
If you’re looking to increase your pharmacy’s profits, you have two main ways to do so: Sell more to the patients you currently have or get more patients to come to your store.
Both ways can help you sell more over-the-counter (OTC) products, boost the number of prescriptions you dispense and increase your profits from clinical services.
Gaining more business from current patients and bringing new patients into your store are both great methods to boost sales. Here are some ideas to pick up business from both types of customers.
Put your pharmacy in front of new patients through marketing promotions.
The more patients see, and hear, about your pharmacy, the more likely they’ll be interested in checking out what your business has to offer.
Read next: The Ultimate Guide to Pharmacy Marketing
Referrals are one of the fastest ways to get new patients to come to your pharmacy.
Start with physician referrals. Work with area physicians and let them know about the products, services, and specialty care your pharmacy has to offer. Remember to ask physicians about the services and products their patients’ need. You might find that a physician needs somewhere to send patients to for flu shots, diabetes counseling, or compounding. If you can offer patients the services they need, physicians will be more likely to refer patients to your business.
You can also incentivize current patients to make referrals to their friends or family with discounts for every new referral they make.
Attract new patients by raising your pharmacy’s community profile.
Support your community, like only a small business can, by selling an area school’s fan gear, participating in checkout charity that benefits local organizations, or featuring local artists’ cards, small gifts, and other products in your store’s front end. When you support your community, they’ll support you in return by patronizing your pharmacy.
Also, cultivate meaningful community partnerships with local public health offices, area employers and schools, or regional charities. These partnerships can help raise your pharmacy’s profile in the community and create awareness among potential patients about what your pharmacy has to offer.
In today’s digital world, your pharmacy must have a strong online presence to attract new patients.
People who are looking for a new pharmacy will likely start with a Google search, so it’s important to increase your pharmacy’s Google-ability and to use the tools available to you, such as Google My Business, to create a strong presence in popular search engine results.
Maintaining a mobile-responsive website is key to attracting new patients. A website is likely the first thing patients see from your pharmacy. Your website should be professional, up-to-date and easy-to-use. A good website can turn online traffic into foot traffic at your pharmacy.
Read next: How to Get Five Stars From Review Websites
Promote your pharmacy’s staff as the go-to health experts in your community.
Establishing a reputation of expertise will help build your brand and bring in new patients who need products or services in your area of expertise.
Whether you specialize in diabetes, post-operative patients, or HIV, make sure to promote your knowledge and expertise by hosting educational events, participating in community health fairs, and by posting relevant information on your social media profiles.
Sell more to the patients you already have by revitalizing your front end.
Rearrange products to encourage impulse buys, or highlight your selection of seasonal items. Make sure your front end always has something new, or looks different, so patients have something to explore each time they visit your pharmacy.
Fresh merchandise and arrangements will encourage your current patients to browse your aisles, help them discover new products, and potentially boost front-end sales.
Recommending front-end products is a great way to boost sales with current patients.
Become a pro at recommending front-end products by strategically placing items you want to suggest near the counter, and leveraging your knowledge to suggest products that would be useful or pair well with a patient’s prescription.
Use resources, such as planograms offered by distributors and manufacturers, to highlight products you commonly recommend in your front end.
Pairing popular services with relevant products can increase sales with your pharmacy’s current patient base.
For example, if a patient takes a smoking cessation class, recommend supplementary products, such as nicotine gum or lozenges, to help make quitting easier.
Make sure you have products in mind to suggest with all your services, such as a deep moisturizing lotion to help patients in diabetes counseling care for their skin, or vitamin C supplements for added protection for patients who get the flu shot.
Suggest these products as a way to enhance the services your patients already use, and boost sales of high profit margin front-end products.
New products can help boost your sales with current patients.
A new line of local or natural products can entice long-time patients to try something new. Ask current patients what products they’d like to see stocked on your shelves, and be sure to solicit feedback about any new additions to your front end.
You can also make temporary product additions by stocking seasonal products, such as a selection of greeting cards before Christmas and a small gift display for Valentine’s Day.
New services can entice current patients to get more from your pharmacy than just their usual prescriptions.
Offer cutting-edge, relevant services such as pharmacogenetic testing, a test that helps patients find the medications that will work best for them. Or, consider expanding your immunization services to include travel vaccines, if your state board of pharmacy allows it.
If you’re wondering if a new service will work well in your pharmacy, ask yourself these questions before you implement it. Or, partner with a company that offers resources to start billable services that have proven to be successful in other pharmacies.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Want more pharmacy business tips and advice? Sign up for our e-newsletter.