An independent pharmacy owner trying to compete and survive against large retail chains can sometimes seem like a David and Goliath scenario. However, David won! How? by using HIS strength. You are a PART of your community, you live there, you shop there, and you are patrons of other local businesses. Below are three quick ideas to help independent pharmacies utilize their strength in their community to compete and win against the Goliaths of the market.
1. Network and Outreach:
Network and outreach cost very little other than time but the ROI in vast. If you don’t have the time, hire someone specifically to outreach and network on your behalf. Let your community know who you are and what you are best at. Very few businesses grow without ‘salesman’. Pharmacy is no different.
Outreach and Networking Ideas:
Local Real Estate Brokers, build relationships with them. Most brokers have a ‘welcome packet’ for new people moving into the area. Be in the packet with a ‘special offer’ and information about why their neighborhood pharmacy is the right choice
Local businesses More and more places of business have digital TV running with local information. Ask about running information pieces about your pharmacy, how long you have been serving and living in your community, what services you offer, who works at the pharmacy etc. Don’t underestimate the power of ‘local’ or your ‘neighborhood’ pharmacy in your messaging.
Local paper and news station are always looking for stories about their community. Utilize it.
Network with local Dentist, Physicians, Chiropractors, Orthodontist, Pain Clinics, Birthing Centers, Physical Therapy centers etc. See if they have an advertising pamphlet board or Digital Signage. Educate them on your services, hours of operations, back to school immunizations and so on. Support thier business in your pharmacy. Remember, these are COMMUNITY businesses and so are you, work together to support each other.
- How Are You Different? Market That!
Most small businesses look at the Goliath and try to be the same. That is not YOUR strength. So, what is? How are you different from the crowd? Do you offer free delivery, bilingual staff, compounding, specialty pet medications, breast-feeding classes and hard-to-find nursing products, diabetes management programs, health fairs, immunization programs etc. Go to places that it would be beneficial to be aware of these types of services like nursing homes, rehab facilities, programs that work in the Latino community, Lamaze classes.
- Take Advantage of Technology
So many independent pharmacies do not utilize technology that can be working for them at all times. According to consumer reports, 85% of customers search the internet to find a local business. Can customers find you? Is it clear what services you offer? How do you rate? If you do not have an up to date, mobile friendly website that clearly states who you are, what you offer and why they should come to you, get one.
There are a vast array of different technology solutions out there to allow pharmacies to achieve their goals. Improved workflow systems for a automated hang up bag pharmacy will call system and return to stock processes can reduce retrieval times by up to 90% making more time for customer service. Pharmacy Digital Signage with Prescription Ready Notifications and customer check-in Kiosk can all but eliminate lines while at the same time educate customers about your services. Independent pharmacies with the right technology can make the difference and truly help a pharmacy to thrive.
Have more ideas? We would love to hear them! Please share comments below.