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These Are the Most Common Mistakes Pharmacies Make During the Holiday Season

These Are the Most Common Mistakes Pharmacies Make During the Holiday Season by Elements magazine |

November 29, 2017

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for small businesses.

The bases, so to speak, are loaded. And your independent community pharmacy can hit a grand slam. Or, you can strike out.

Many independent pharmacies don’t capitalize on the season’s opportunities. And, they end up paying for it in missed revenue. Your pharmacy’s retail area likely isn’t the big money-maker in your pharmacy. But you can take advantage of the holiday season to encourage more front-end holiday sales.

Avoid these common mistakes to help your pharmacy win big this holiday season.

Mistake 1: Discounting too much

Don’t expect to match the holiday discounts offered at national chain pharmacies and big box stores.

If you do, you’ll erode your margins and make nothing from your sales.

Instead, strategically discount a handful of items to get shoppers in your doors. Determine which items best serve as loss leaders during the holiday. Then, promote those items in your front end and advertisements.

Also, emphasize shopping local.

Persuade shoppers to support local businesses like yours during the holidays. Use promotions to remind shoppers that shopping at local businesses bolsters the community’s economy. And, make sure to stock your front end with local products that shoppers can’t find at Walgreens.

Mistake 2: Prioritizing sales over service

In the rush to win over consumers during the busiest shopping time of the year, don’t forget to make people your priority.

Your independent pharmacy sets itself apart by putting people first. When you serve each customer as if he or she is your only one, you earn long-term sales from loyal patients.

As you ramp up advertising, discounts and marketing, make time to prioritize your patients this holiday season.

Mistake 3: Not hiring enough staff

When patients and shoppers flood your pharmacy this season, you need enough staff to handle the swell.

Otherwise, patients will lose their patience. And they’ll leave your pharmacy.

Don’t be afraid to pay staff overtime during this season or to schedule more staff than usual to meet demand.

Being understaffed during peak season will cost you more in the long run.

Mistake 4: Not planning your holiday marketing strategy

Your pharmacy needs a holiday marketing strategy separate from your everyday marketing strategy.

Make a plan that clearly schedules when you’ll roll out:


And, make sure your holiday marketing coordinates with your holiday business strategy. For example, stir up anticipation by promoting your holiday discounts long before you offer the discounts.

Your marketing plan should also distinguish current patients from potential patients. For example, loyal patients don’t need a steep discount to spur them through your doors—they’ll already do that. Instead, reward their loyalty with holiday-themed gifts or personalized coupons.

Mistake 5: Not stocking enough product

When your fabulous marketing drives patients to your pharmacy, the last thing you want is to run out of products to sell.

The extra money spent on marketing and advertising goes to waste if you can’t keep up with the demand they create.

Stock extra front-end items during the busy holiday season, especially discounted and popular products.

Also, make sure you stock enough prescriptions. When a patient has a choice to go to a fully stocked Walgreens for same-day pickup or to wait a day for yours to arrive, they’ll most often choose not to wait.

Mistake 6: Underutilizing holiday-themed social media

Social media is an essential tool for small business marketing.

People engage with relevant social media, especially during the holidays. Make sure you saturate your pharmacy’s social media posts with holiday content.

Here are some social media ideas to capture the holiday spirit:


Mistake 7: Not advertising enough

During the holiday season, 85 percent of consumers start their shopping online.

As cyber deals become more prevalent, the importance of online advertising increases.

Budget extra for online advertisements during the holidays. If you’ve never advertised online before, consider starting with buying ads on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Make sure your advertisements include holiday designs to match the season and to better engage your audience.

Mistake 8: Not encouraging impulse purchases

Impulse buying decreases during the holidays.

People typically spend more time planning and seeking the best deals rather than giving into whims.

But in general, impulse buying is people’s nature, with 84 percent saying they’ve given into it.

Strategies to encourage impulse purchases this holiday season:


Mistake 9: Keeping regular store hours

Nights come quicker and days get busier in December.

Accommodate busy patients by staying open later. They’ll appreciate the convenience of picking up items for their health needs. And, your front end can also help them complete their holiday shopping.

Also, don’t stay closed for too many days over the holidays. Patients need their prescriptions no matter what festivities are occurring.

Reward employees who are willing to work during the busy season with better pay. Even if you don’t keep normal hours close to the holidays, patients will appreciate your pharmacy opening for a short time.

Avoid the most common holiday pharmacy mistakes and win big this holiday season.


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