September 15, 2017
Flu season is here. Have you prepared your independent community pharmacy?
If you want a successful flu season at your pharmacy, promote your flu shots early and often.
“Immunizations—specifically flu shots—are one of those diversified revenue opportunities for independent pharmacies to try to set their stores apart,” said John Beckner, senior director of strategic initiatives at the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). “With more and more players in the immunization arena, pharmacies really need to promote that service.”
He said the biggest mistake independent pharmacies can make is to not market their flu shots enough—or at all.
Let patients know through marketing that they can walk in and receive a flu shot any time at their convenience. And, talk with patients to dispel flu shot myths. “Do away with any misconceptions,” Beckner said. “For example, some people may still think you can get sick from getting a flu shot.”
Ways to promote flu shots:
But pharmacies need to look beyond only marketing flu shots to patients.
“Market to the medical community too,” Beckner said. “A lot of physicians have delegated or relegated immunizations to pharmacists, so make sure physicians know that you have the flu vaccine and that you provide that service.” Additionally, he said marketing to employer groups and doing onsite flu clinics raises visibility.
Start marketing early, preferably in mid-summer. “Pharmacies are getting their supply of flu vaccines earlier, so as soon as they have the vaccine they should begin promoting that service,” he said.
And, pharmacies need to market the service throughout the entire flu season, which lasts through the end of the year and into January and February. “The message then should be that it’s not too late to get a flu shot,” he said.
Capitalize on the personal relationships you have with your patients.
“When you’re providing immunizations and services like that there’s a real trust factor involved and independent pharmacists certainly have that,” Beckner said.
Additionally, he said flu shots provide the opportunity for pharmacies to offer vaccine co-administration.
“A patient coming in for a flu shot may be a candidate for another immunization, like a pneumonia vaccine or a shingles vaccine,” he said. “Each time someone comes in, it’s an opportunity to take a look at the patient’s immunization record and make sure they’re up-to-date on all their immunizations.”
Discover how to make immunizations a major source of profit for your business. Learn proven strategies and insights from pharmacy owners who’ve turned their pharmacies into immunization destinations, including 20 practical tips to reap routine profits from your program. Read the story
Want more pharmacy business tips and advice? Sign up for our e-newsletter.