Best Practices

How to Crush It in Your Pharmacy This Holiday Season

Is your pharmacy ready for the holidays? Here are our top tips for getting your pharmacy ready to take on the crowds.

With more than a week to go until Halloween, I went to the store to pick up a new pumpkin carving kit. There was only one problem with that. According to the retail world, Halloween was over before it had even really begun. The Halloween aisles were reduced to a fraction of their former glory.  Bright costumes and spooky spiderwebs replaced by the reds, greens, and golds that are synonymous with the holiday season.

The holiday shopping season arrives earlier every year.  We’re no longer restricted to snarky memes and funny videos about people who decorate before the pumpkins have even made it to the yard waste bin.

Once the 1st of November hits, all bets are off, and the holiday season is officially underway.

So, in the spirit of getting ahead…. or just trying to keep up, here are our top tips for prepping your pharmacy for the holidays. These tips are tried and true, but we’ve added a few new tidbits and resources for the upcoming season.

Make sure your shelves are stocked.

Customers that come in to pick up something specific aren’t likely to wait in long lines just to ask if you have more. Also keep over stock easily accessible for quick restocking during slack times or after hours. If you are out of stock on popular items, consider signage with a restock ETA. If inventory management is a trouble spot for your pharmacy, check out our series on Inventory Management for the best practices for pharmacy front end.

Speaking of stock… how do customers know what you actually have in your store?

Studies show that 90% of surveyed global shoppers use online search prior to going into a store. What happens then, if a customer is looking for a local product that you carry or even just an OTC product before they shop and they don’t see you online? That customer may very well find your competitors and there’s a good chance you are losing out on that sale. Luckily you don’t need a fancy website for customers to see what’s in store. You can simply use Pointy from Google to automatically upload products to your Google My Business page. Then, when customers search for products or businesses near them, your pharmacy should show up if you or products you carry match their criteria. Pointy is free, as is the RMS integration which automates your product uploads in minutes.

Consider extended holiday hours.

Convenience and flexibility will rule the season. An extra hour in the evening might make all the difference to customers this time of year. Even pharmacies without retail heavy front ends can consider extended hours to give customers extra time to pick up prescriptions and OTC necessities and discourage convenience shopping elsewhere.

Review staffing.

Long lines are a huge deterrent for shoppers and represent a major cause of customer attrition. And they are EVERYWHERE during the holidays. Set yourself apart by doing your best to minimize wait times where you can. While many businesses are dealing with staffing concerns in 2021, and you may not have the staffing that you’re used to, it’s still worth paying attention to peak times and adjusting your staffing accordingly when possible. You should be able to run a report from your point-of-sale system that shows transaction volume broken down by date, time frame and more. (If you can’t, contact RMS. We can help!)

Place product strategically throughout your store.

Put your stocking stuffers next to the checkout, or where customers wait while their prescriptions are prepared. If you have a new item that you’d like to push, have it next to your holiday best sellers. This is another area where your POS system can help by identifying your most popular products. A good tweak this year is to keep products by the drive thru window or where they can easily be grabbed on the way out the door for curbside pickup.

In that same vein...don’t forget to make the most of every interaction.

Whether it’s in person or not. Here’s an article from Computer Talk that talks about ways to keep it personal in every interaction.

Enroll in GiftYa.

A couple of weeks ago, we shared an article on a new Digital Gifting Platform. GiftYa allows a sender to purchase a digital gift card online at participating retailers (i.e. your pharmacy) and send it real time with a customized video message via text. It’s super cool and a fabulous way to take a piece of the gigantic gift card market without any overhead as it is 100% free for retailers. Any pharmacy can participate, not just RMS customers, so be sure to get enrolled today!

Sign me up for GiftYa today!

November 27th, 2021 is Small Business Saturday.

You can find materials and support on the Small Business Saturday site. You can also check out this article  that shares some information and tips as you gear up for the day.

November 30th, 2021 is Giving Tuesday.

Make sure your plans are in place for charitable giving throughout the remainder of the year and into 2022. This article shares some easy steps for incorporating charitable giving into your business model. You can also watch this 6 minute video filled with great charitable giving tips.

Ready for more great tips to have a successful holiday season? We’re gearing up to provide more great content just for pharmacies on November 11th at our CLIMB Webinar. We’ll focus on how you can improve profitability in your pharmacy with a closer look at GiftYa  and show you how you can get on board the digital gifting train. Special Guest Aisling O’Toole will also be with us to talk about how to succeed with Pointy. And  Dr. Lisa Faast is in the house to talk about how to drive traffic to your pharmacy this holiday season. Tune in on November 11th at 8am Pacific/11am Eastern. If you aren’t registered yet, you can register for free using the button below.

Register for CLIMB!

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