A good pharmacy point-of-sale system does more than process payments. In fact, processing payments isn't even close to the most important thing a POS system does. At least that’s how it should be.
I know. It’s bananas. It's like me telling you the primary function of a dishwasher isn’t to wash dishes.
Hear me out, though. A pharmacy point-of-sale system should actually have a ton of functionality outside of the obvious. It should help you improve the customer experience, increase the efficiency of your staff, reduce your costs, and make you money. And, before you say, “Aha! I knew that payment processing was on the list!” - I don’t mean make you money as in take money from your customers as they buy things. I mean help you make sales that you wouldn’t otherwise have made. Your point-of-sale system should accomplish all of these things not just through a cash drawer and a card swipe, but with software, training and support, as well.
There’s one other important category of functionality your pharmacy POS system should have, and that’s to provide you with data. This is the category that might just be the most important functionality your POS system could have. Here’s why:
How do you maximize sales in your pharmacy when you can’t control how many people come in or how many prescriptions they fill? The answer is to stock more products that sell and fewer products that don’t. A simple movement report will tell you what products, departments, or categories have the highest quantity of sales as well as the ones that aren’t moving, so you can make data-informed decisions about the products you carry.
More sales should equal higher profits, right? In the broadest sense that’s true; but not all products are equal when it comes to your return on investment. So, you need to be able to see not just what products are selling, but what your return is for every dollar invested. You might be surprised and find that departments you thought were doing well aren’t actually adding to your bottom line. This is why it’s important to have a system that offers you a way to see your gross profit return on investment by fineline, department, and category. You can also identify target margins and make sure you’re meeting your goals.
While you’re using data to make the most of every single product you stock in your pharmacy, you’re also reducing your operating costs. You’re not investing in product that’s just sitting on your shelves. You’re identifying problem areas, tracking data as you make changes, and eventually clearing out product that isn’t selling rather than falling into the trap of inventory holding.
Outside of product reporting, you can also look at handy data that will tell you when your pharmacy is busiest. Knowing how many cashiers are ideal at any given time can help you staff appropriately. Plus, you can see when there are generally slumps in traffic so you can assign special projects like store recovery or setting up a new display.
Much like product movement and profit margins, you can’t make decisions based on gut feelings when it comes to errors. Data is one of the only true ways to know if errors are costing you. Reports can identify inventory shrinkage, tell you if items are sold below costs, and identify discrepancies in your daily cash and drawer counts. Once you know you have a problem, you can work towards resolution and track progress.
The only place you can get this data is through your point-of-sale system, because it’s the only system that captures every sale in your pharmacy. From prescriptions to OTC products to candy bars; don’t underestimate the difference powerful data can make.