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How to Easily Use Data to Improve Your Pharmacy’s Bottom Line

How to Easily Use Data to Improve Your Pharmacy’s Bottom Line by Elements magazine |

April 27, 2017

Give me data or give me death.

That’s the new crying truth of 21st century business. (If only Patrick Henry were born now…)

Data is the bedrock of effective sales and management. It enables precision in your sales strategy and efficiency in operations essential to stay competitive in a saturated marketplace.

If you’re not using data to boost your independent community pharmacy’s bottom line, you’ll soon be staring sadly at the coattails of your competitors.

You don’t have to be an IT geek to harness data for your bottom line. You likely have systems in place gathering data already.

Just put on your miner’s hat and get digging.

Optimize your sales and improve your pharmacy’s bottom line by utilizing three simple data points.

1. Harness your customer data

All you need to acquire solid customer data is a loyalty program. Don’t have one? Get started now.

You’re already using your loyalty program to build patient loyalty, but you could be using it to sell more products to your already loyal patients.

Your loyalty program compiles historical and real-time customer data. It tracks every individual purchase, providing insight into your patients’ buying habits. Analysis of the data can tell you what, how often and how much they buy.

Make sure you’re up-to-date on your patients’ buying behavior. Regularly re-evaluate your marketing and front-end strategies to align with patients’ buying behavior to encourage more of it.

Let the data serve as your guide to figure out what fuels your patients and what doesn’t.

Finally, use the data for precise target marketing and upselling. For example, if you notice Jane buys a box of Allegra® every month, give her a coupon for the product to reinforce the purchase. Or, give her a coupon for a related product, like tissues.

2. Use your product data

Your point-of-sale (POS) system should contain a treasure trove of product data. All you need are records of purchased products and the dates they were purchased. Those two simple pieces of data can help you boost front-end sales. Here’s how.

Provide “best seller” displays
The majority of patients buy what’s popular, especially if they’re unsure about a product.

After all, best-selling products are essentially recommendations from other patients.

So, use your data to see what products have sold well in the last three months and create a front-end display to showcase them. Include clear signage that reads “Best Sellers” or “Customer Favorites.”

Optimize seasonal displays
You already know to market Claritin® during allergy season. But you could be missing out on other seasonal trends if you’re not monitoring your sales data year after year.

Your pharmacy serves a specific demographic in a specific location, so using general knowledge of seasonal products doesn’t fully account for the needs of your particular patients.

Review products purchased during each of the four seasons at your pharmacy to see what trends emerge.

If you find a product sold frequently during a particular season, market it more during that season and put it with your seasonal display. Doing so will expose more patients to a product they might not have known about.

Cross-sell products
Have you ever browsed the grocery store chips aisle and come across a seemingly out-of-place stack of Velveeta® cheese boxes?

The grocery store owner knows that cheese is in a different family than chips. But he also knows Velveeta goes well with a bag of tortilla chips. You were only thinking of salsa when you went to the store, but suddenly you’ve got a box of Velveeta in your cart.

That’s called cross-selling, and it’s is one of the most popular marketing strategies in the retail business.

If you can optimize your cross-pairings, you’ll likely see your sales improve.

While the promise of cross-selling is great, it’s easy to get it wrong. The more you know your specific customer base, the more successful your cross-management will be.

Try this simple strategy. Mine your POS data for products customers are already buying together. If a clear trend emerges and you aren’t already pairing the items, you should.

Or, look at your data for products you aren’t pairing because you’re trusting your patients to buy them together anyway. If you see one sells much more than the other, it’s time to consider pairing them in the store.

3. Optimize your purchasing data

When it comes to data, it’s not all about the front end.

Prescriptions are probably 80 – 90 percent of your business. If you optimize your prescription purchasing, then you can easily improve your bottom line.

If you’re purchasing drugs from a primary wholesaler but aren’t using data and analytics to optimize your rebates and your discounts, you’re missing out on a lot of profit.

For example, without your generic versus brand purchase data, how can you ensure you’re compliant to your generic compliance rate?

Or, if you aren’t tracking orders line item by line item, how do you know your wholesaler is giving you the rate you agreed to?

With the proper data you can maximize rebates, discounts and item-by-item savings.

Services like ProfitGuard, a primary wholesaler contract negotiation and buying group service from PBA Health, includes data analytics tools that provide line item recommendations on every order. They compare how adjusting factors like primary and secondary wholesaler rates, manufacturer, package size and source contract can save you big money on every purchase.

The tools also monitor your generic compliance rate to help you maximize your rebates.

And the tools make sure your contracted rate is the one you receive by pinpointing any discrepancies.

With these tools, using data to improve your bottom line is as easy as it is profitable.


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