According to a study by Cardinal Health, only 6 out of every 100 customers enter a chain pharmacy and leave without buying something from the front end. However, 56 out of every 100 leave an independent without buying something from the front end; statistics that are truly astonishing!
Between dwindling reimbursements, increased DIR fees, mandatory mail order, closed networks, and competition popping up on every corner, there has to be a way for independents to make up for losses. We need to find a way to stop the bleeding! Fighting and lobbying is definitely helping. Without it, who knows if we would all even be in business today. Perhaps if we had all given up a long time ago independent pharmacy would be a thing of the past, like so many extinct industries.
If we take the time to look beyond the counter, past the prescriptions, what else is there? Front end sales can more than make up the losses pharmacies deal with in prescription sales. Statistically, chain pharmacies see more of their profits from the front end, so why aren’t you? Here are 8 few ways to improve front end sales in your pharmacy:
1. Bust the Big Box Pricing Myth – Ever since the birth of discounted warehouse shopping at places like Costco and BJ’s, we have been brainwashed into believing the bigger the store, the cheaper the item. But have you ever really looked at chain pharmacy pricing? Many times their pricing is higher than most other stores, especially independents. Make that clear to your customers.
2. Invest in Proper Signage – Signage is like buyer instructions. They tell consumers what, when, and where to make purchases. Utilize signage to highlight front-end products and promotions giving customers a clear call to action to BUY.
3. Utilize Social Media – There’s no excuse not to have a Facebook page for your business. Leverage the power of social media and community engagement to drive traffic to your store for purchases other than prescriptions.
4. Keep it Fresh – Take a look around and ask yourself “is your store dated?” Keeping your store design fresh and current can help engage customers and increase sales. If you can afford to reinvest in a total redesign, start with simple changes and improvements like seasonal décor, moving racks, updating signage, a fresh coat of paint, or new floors.
5. Make Your Pharmacy Unique – Differentiate yourself from the chains. Offer services like compounding, DME sales and rentals, and unique products you don’t find everywhere, but also that cater to the demographic in your area. Try stocking the shelves with goods your community demographic will buy and stop letting items collect dust! The reporting in both your pharmacy POS and pharmacy management software should help you do more than watch what needs to be reordered.
6. Leverage Current Technology – Mobile apps and websites are great ways to communicate with customers and keep them coming back. But chances are, your existing POS and pharmacy software offers features to help boost sales. Dig into your reports to find out what products are not moving, attempt to return items and offer them as special orders as needed, and find out what your customers may be missing in the store.
Many independent pharmacies simply are not using the technology available to them. Datascan’s mobile refill application that allows patients to queue up their refills has expanded so much, and we continue to build functionality so you can send promotions to patients and notify them of sales. Custom sales-building tools, email and text functionality, adherence building tools to build refills, and potential visits to your store – and there is a lot more coming!