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Are You Giving Patients a Great Pharmacy Experience?

Are You Giving Patients a Great Pharmacy Experience? by Elements magazine |

May 2, 2018

Inside: Learn how to give patients a great pharmacy experience that will earn their loyalty for life. 

What patients experience in your pharmacy influences how they think about your business overall.

Patients experience businesses:


All these factors translate to your brand.

And what patients think about your brand is a large part of what motivates people’s choice of pharmacy. It’s more influential than reasons and logic.

In a new survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 79 percent of people said their experience with a retailer determines where they shop and what businesses they’re loyal to.

“As retail becomes commoditized and the competitive gaps in price and selection shrink, consumers are being driven more by brand experience,” according to the report.

So, what experience are you giving your patients that will make them loyal your pharmacy?

Too many people today associate the pharmacy experience with:


Give the patients at your independent community pharmacy a great pharmacy experience with these tips.

Provide product demonstrations and samples

Many people in the NRF survey said the ability to interact with products is important to their retail experience. So, how can you translate that idea in your pharmacy? Give product samples and demonstrations.

Ways to offer product demonstrations and samples:


And, you might not need to do all the demonstrations yourself. Many manufacturers will send representatives to demonstrate their products. Reach out to them and find out.

Demonstrating services and products can give patients a unique pharmacy experience. These displays engage people and help them understand what you can offer that they might not know about. And when you expose more people to your products and services, you have a good chance of boosting sales.

Enhance your building’s look

Don’t take for granted how the aesthetics of your pharmacy can influence sales.

The look of your business often gets treated as unnecessary because it doesn’t directly earn revenue. But how your pharmacy looks has a significant indirect effect on revenue because it affects the patient experience.

The environment and atmosphere of your pharmacy is part of your pharmacy’s brand.

How? Patients see it when they walk into your pharmacy, it surrounds them while they’re there, and sticks with them when they walk out.

In other words, the way your pharmacy interior looks affects the way patients feel about your pharmacy.

And, consumers simply prefer to shop at aesthetically pleasing businesses.

So, don’t take the paint color, floor layout, furniture, and décor lightly.

Ideally, you’d hire an expert in commercial interior design to give your pharmacy a unique and attractive design. One that not only looks good but that also reflects and reinforces your brand.

Hugely successful companies like REI and Apple invested millions into their flagship stores. They wanted to capture the perfect aesthetic of their brand and to give their customers an experience they couldn’t get anywhere else.

You don’t have to break the bank for your store’s design but you do need to dip into the bank.

Personalize with technology

Sixty-five percent of respondents in the NRF survey said they want technology to personalize their retail experience or simplify the process.

Your pharmacy can use technology to personalize patients’ experience and make it simpler, too.

How to use technology to simplify patients’ lives:


As a healthcare destination, pharmacy has several unique avenues of personalization.

How to use technology to personalize patients’ experience:


Make waiting wonderful

What experience do you offer patients who need to wait for their prescriptions?

The traditional experience of cheap chairs and creased magazines won’t cut it.

The waiting area not only affects how patients experience waiting but also affects their opinions on the quality of your care.

A Cornell study showed that “patient perception of quality of care, anxiety, feeling cared for, and likelihood of recommending the practice to others were twice as high” in aesthetically appealing waiting areas.

The study also showed that “distractions, as well as giving people a choice of what they can do when they wait, have been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.”

Ideas to turn your waiting area into a pleasing experience:


Just because you’ve got a fantastic waiting area doesn’t mean you want to leave patients waiting. The less they wait, the better their experience. Improve their experience by reducing their wait times.

Offer total health care

Do your patients experience your pharmacy as a dispensary or a provider of health care?

The days are gone when pharmacies could rely on dispensing as their sole source of patient care.

More and more patients prefer to receive healthcare services from the pharmacy over their primary care physician.

In one online survey, 46 percent of patients said they’d pay cash for preventive health services at their pharmacy instead of a co-payment at a doctor’s office. And 50 percent said they would transfer their prescriptions to a pharmacy that provided other preventive care services.

Even without provider status, pharmacists can provide health services to their patients.

Health services you could offer include:


Host events

Events serve as one-time experiences that leave long-term effects.

Events fuse your pharmacy’s brand with people’s experience of the event.

And, pharmacies aren’t typically known for their events, which gives you an opportunity to make your pharmacy experience unique.

Consider hosting an event that features the “local” aspect of your pharmacy. For example, Bartell Drugs hosts a week-long event highlighting locally based products.

During the event, the pharmacy offers vendor food and drink samplings to showcase local products to its customers. It also offers in-store events, such as face painting and a caricature artist, to keep guests entertained.

And, customers who visit the pharmacy throughout the week can enter to win prize giveaways, such as a night out for two, including a hotel stay and a restaurant gift card.

You could also feature product demonstrations and exclusive sales during your event, both of which most respondents of the NRF survey said they want in a retailer event.

Now give your patients a great pharmacy experience that’ll make them love your pharmacy even more.


An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent 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 VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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