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How to Promote Supplements at Your Independent Pharmacy

How to Promote Supplements at Your Independent Pharmacy by Elements magazine |

July 18, 2018

Inside: Capitalize on one of the fastest-growing retail categories. Discover the most effective ways to promote supplements at your independent pharmacy.

Supplement use among Americans is skyrocketing.

Its market value in retail surged to nearly $7 billion in the U.S. And, experts predict it will reach $278 billion globally by 2024. As of 2017, supplements ranked in the top three in revenue for independent pharmacy categories, according to research from Hamacher Resource Group.

A 2015 survey showed that more than two-thirds of Americans take dietary supplements. And 78 percent of Americans agree dietary supplements are a smart choice for a healthy lifestyle.

These statistics go hand-in-hand with rising interest in personal health. With access to more information and choices than ever before, patients are taking control of their health and wellness. They’re less content with treating conditions with prescriptions alone.

All this means that now’s your best opportunity to supplement your pharmacy’s bottom line with the sale of supplements.

10 Ways to Get Patients to Buy More Supplements

Supplements won’t sell themselves. Unlike prescriptions or other over-the-counter (OTC) products, patients don’t buy supplements to address an urgent need. So, it takes more work to move them off your shelves.

But with these 10 tips to promote supplements, you’ll boost your sales in no time.

1. Market to the right patients

Although every age group and demographic purchases supplements, some show more interest than others.

Capitalizing on interest is easier than generating interest.

To get the most out of your supplement promotions, target the right patients. Some patients have more interest in supplements in general, such as women over men. Other patients have more interest because of a particular need, such as patients with sleep issues.

These categories of people show the most interest in supplements:


Although younger generations have become more interested in supplements, older Americans still take more supplements. Seventy-four percent of U.S. adults 55 years old and older take dietary supplements compared to 66 percent of adults aged 35 to 54 years old. Tailoring your promotions to the older population will likely get more return.

2. Fill nutrient gaps caused by prescriptions

Nutrient-depleting medications provide an easy and effective way to promote supplements.

Some of the most common drug classes that cause nutritional deficiencies include:


3. Go all out in January

Along with gym memberships and other self-improvement products, supplement sales surge in January.

When the new year swings around, people enthusiastically try to better themselves, especially in health and wellness. The fervor usually fizzles out by the middle of February, which gives you a small window to capitalize.

Heavily promoting your supplements during peak demand can drastically boost your sales. Promote supplements in your advertisements, end caps, coupons, and hand-outs during January.

4. Use discounts

If you’re on the fence about using discounts, it’s time to climb down. Discounts work. When used correctly.

Discounts also raise awareness of the products even if they don’t directly spur patients to buy them.

One effective strategy is to discount a supplement that pairs well with another. That way patients will purchase one at full price along with the discounted item.

Learn how to discount effectively without cutting too much out from your bottom line.

5. Provide product samples

Samples can boost sales by up to 2,000 percent.

Although supplements don’t immediately stimulate patients’ palates like delicious samples from Costco, they accomplish several things.


6. Provide educational material

Many patients don’t know about the benefits of supplements. Or, they distrust them.

Because they trust your expertise, inform them about the benefits of supplements.

Here are some ways to educate your patients:


7. Perform lab tests

Besides numerous other benefits, lab tests give your pharmacy the perfect opportunity to promote vitamins and supplements.

With a full report on your patients’ vitamin and mineral levels, you can point to facts to support your recommendations.

When faced with deficiencies, patients are more likely to purchase the supplements they need to make up for them.

8. Keep supplements next to the checkout and on end caps

In one survey, more than 80 percent of people said they bought supplements as a part of a larger purchase.

That means patients rarely make a trip to the pharmacy just for supplements.

So, make sure to promote your supplements in the store, so patients can add them to their purchase.

Try these strategies for in-store promotion:


9. Make prices competitive

When it comes to supplements, price is king. In another survey, price was the most influential factor when purchasing supplements.

Although you only have only so much wiggle room when it comes to prices, take a look at what prices your competitors offer and see if you can drop yours lower.

Making sure to buy your supplements at a low price allows you to sell them with attractive price tags. That’s one reason private label products sell so well at independent pharmacies. The pharmacy can sell the products for lower prices while also preserving healthy margins.

RELATED: Are You Missing Out On Better Margins With BuyLine?

10. Capitalize on trends

The whims of trends affect supplements more easily than other front-end products.

To get the most out of your promotions, ride the wave until it wanes. For example, right now turmeric is one of the most popular “superfoods” on the market. So, it should get the most coveted spot in your front-end arrangement. And you should specifically mention it in your marketing promotions.

Keep your finger on the pulse of the market so you can capitalize on shifting consumer demand.

Supplement your bottom line with these effective ways to promote supplements at your independent pharmacy.


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 businesses. The company is an independently owned pharmacy services organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, 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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