Major chains spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising each year. With TV, Radio Spots circulars and direct mail and social media, they have their bases covered. There's no denying that chains have a lot more resources dedicated to driving customers
through their doors.
So as a smaller independent business, how do you compete? You're certainly outmatched on paper. But that doesn't mean you're outmatched overall.
Word of mouth is arguably the most important way to drive business. But that type of viral loyalty is difficult to achieve. Luckily, there are a couple of ways to make it easy for customers to love your pharmacy and share that love with friends and family.
- Customer Loyalty - The first step to creating a customer that helps drive business is by strengthening the relationship that they have with you and your staff. Loyalty programs are an integral part of any customer/business relationship. It's a tangible appreciation of a customers continued patronage and gives them a reason to continue that relationship. Then when a friend or family member asks what pharmacy they use, the answer won't be a "sometimes here, sometimes there." Instead, they'll make a recommendation for the only pharmacy they do business with.
- Gift Cards - For many retail pharmacies, gift cards can be a great additional product. They're low overhead, easy to customize, and having them displayed at the checkout counter makes it simple for customers to pick one up. Every gift card sold can lead to a new customer in your pharmacy.
The other way to drive customers to your pharmacy is by fostering new habits. While you can do this with loyalty programs and promotions, some pharmacies can take it a step further.
- Meds to Beds - For outpatient pharmacies, there's a limited window for capturing a customer's business and loyalty. Bedside delivery of medications at discharge is a sought-after service for a number of reasons, but don't underestimate the value it brings to fostering a positive patient/pharmacy relationship.
- Nutrient Depletion & Counseling - Getting customers back in your pharmacy is all about bringing value. And value can come in more forms than $5 off the next purchase. By making supplement recommendations based on nutrient depletion and taking the time to counsel patients on those options, you're adding value to every transaction.
The bottom line doesn't have to be about how much money you spend on advertising. You just have to focus on investments in the right areas of your pharmacy to bring value and keep the customers coming in.