October 30, 2019
Inside: Parents may hold onto the credit card, but today’s kids have a lot of purchasing power.
There’s a group of pharmacy patients that don’t have any money of their own to spend, but they have an incredible amount of influence on your pharmacy.
A study released in 2019 by the National Retail Federation found that 87 percent of parents say that their children influence their purchasing decisions, and 84 percent of parents said they are more likely to shop somewhere that involves their kids in the process. The study also found that because kids are so connected to the internet, they are more involved in purchasing decisions than previous generations.
The findings make it clear: to get more parents to become regular patients, start by winning over their children.
If your pharmacy can capture children’s attention now, you could secure their influence for years to come. Research from Oxford University shows that the advertising and brands children are exposed to before they turn 13 will continue to influence their decisions into adulthood.
That means if you can create positive experiences for kids in your pharmacy, they are more likely to become loyal patients when they begin making their own healthcare decisions in 10 or 15 years.
Read on to learn how to grab kids’ attention, and in turn, their parents’ business.
Your standard marketing line of offering shorter wait times, better prices, and friendly customer service may appeal to grown-ups, but it isn’t likely to win over any children.
When trying to attract kids, you need to adjust your messaging.
You don’t have to advertise directly to children to create brand awareness for your pharmacy.
Children spend the majority of their day in a classroom. By working with local schools, your pharmacy can get their attention.
You can host a fundraising day, where a portion of the day’s proceeds goes to support a local school. Attend school events and hand out kid-friendly goodie bags to make your pharmacy memorable.
By working with schools, your pharmacy will also improve its public image as a community advocate.
Even though kids have an increasing amount of power in family purchases, it’s ultimately parents who will make the decisions.
Marketing messaging tailored to parents should emphasize:
Remember, most parents of young children today are part of the millennial generation. That means if they are satisfied with their experience at your pharmacy, they will tell their friends about it.
They also spend a lot of time on social media, so having a social presence that emphasizes your pharmacy’s parent- and kid-friendly atmosphere is as important as traditional advertising.
Marketing to kids comes with an extra challenge because they don’t understand that advertising is inherently biased, according to the American Psychological Association. It can be tempting for businesses can take advantage of that, like vape companies that have convinced teenagers to use their addictive products.
Your relationship with patients is based on trust, and parents will notice if you advertise harmful products to their children, such as junk food. But you can still market to kids and look out for their wellbeing at the same time. Use your marketing to encourage healthy habits. According to the NRF study, kids hold a lot of purchasing influence in the food category, so your pharmacy can encourage healthy snacks in advertising instead of junk food.
Once you get kids and their parents in store, there are steps you can take to make the visit pleasant for them and lucrative for you.
While you want to reduce wait times as much as possible, parents will occasionally have to hang around your pharmacy as they wait for their prescriptions to be ready.
You can lessen the pain of having to wait by creating a play corner for the kids.
It doesn’t have to be a complicated jungle gym. In fact, the simpler it is, the better. Set up a kid-sized table with a few toys, books, or coloring pages that will keep children occupied. In turn, parents will have a better pharmacy experience because they aren’t worried about wrangling rowdy children and disturbing other patients.
Kids will remember having fun at your pharmacy, and parents will remember how accommodating the experience was.
“Eye level is buy level,” according to the principles of visual merchandising. You probably already know to keep your most compelling merchandise at your patients’ eye level. For adults that’s between four and five feet.
But children are smaller. Place the merchandise you know will be appealing to children—toys, snacks, and other trinkets—lower on the shelves.
Once a kid grabs a product off the shelf, their parents will consider buying it.
If everyone in their class has Pokemon Cards, Silly Bandz, or fidget spinners, the kids visiting your pharmacy will want those products too.
You can capitalize on this by staying on top of the trends sweeping middle and elementary schools. These items are usually small enough to keep at the register, making for easy impulse buys, and they often come with high profit margins. A win-win for your pharmacy.
To stay on top of the next big thing:
Fads tend to kindle quickly and burn out even faster, so if you want to appeal to your kid patients, you have to be an early adopter.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking of kids as millennials—children between the ages of 6 and 18 fall into Gen Z, and they have distinct priorities from the generation that came before. When it comes to their shopping habits, this is what they’re looking for:
Even as children, Gen Z has a lot of purchasing power, so having an online presence that’s attuned to their needs is crucial for your independent pharmacy’s future success.
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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