Best Practices

What's Up With Pharmacy Receipts?

What should be on a receipt? There's a happy medium between a 5ft receipt and delivering the absolute minimum. Here are some rules for useful receipts.

There are entire digital communities devoted to the CVS receipt. According to this article about CVS’ ultra-long receipts, it’s not uncommon for a customer purchasing a single item to receive a 5ft long receipt. From light mocking to active disgruntlement, the CVS receipt has become notorious.

Whether that notoriety is good or bad, there’s obviously a strategy to printing an extremely long receipt. The article cites personalized coupons, promotions, and incentives to shop again. But is this strategy sound for independent pharmacies? Probably not.

In our experience working with pharmacy customers for more than 20 years, the movement has definitely been towards more condensed receipts and less use of paper. Shorter receipts are more economical and more environmentally friendly. Seems like a no brainer for that to be the norm.

That however begs the question, what exactly should be on a receipt? Is there a happy medium between running through multiple rolls of receipt paper each day and delivering the absolute minimum? We think so. Here are some rules for curating a useful, but not wasteful, receipt.

Receipts shouldn’t be static.

Sure, there are basic things that should always be on a receipt. Like your store information, contact info, website, etc. However, you should also regularly switch up the information on your receipt so that it remains relevant.

Vaccine reminders – Keep these timely. Whether it’s Covid Vaccine boosters, flu shot season, or a reminder that you offer travel vaccines. Give a reminder that it might be time to think about specific vaccines and a quick note about how to schedule.

Special events – Upcoming sales, Medicare Open Enrollment, wellness clinics. Share what you’ve got going on in your pharmacy.

Coupons are a great idea.

There’s nothing wrong with driving return business with a well-timed, applicable coupon. And you don’t need a crazy amount of data or infrastructure to make it happen.

Drive private label sales - One of our favorite coupon options is to print a coupon for the private label OTC item when a customer purchases the corresponding name brand product. OTCs are often semi-regular purchases and this coupon for a future purchase might incentivize a move to the lower cost, higher margin product.

Accompanying items – Using the same logic as the private label coupon, you can set specific items to initiate the printing of coupons for other items that you’d like to promote. For example, a gift department coupon based on the purchase of a greeting card. Or a vitamin/supplement with the purchase cough and cold products.

Loyalty information should be easy to see.

Part of what drives the ultra-long receipt is rewards program based. There’s definitely logic to having the receipt show loyalty program information. After all, a good part of loyalty and rewards programs is recognition. You can print their loyalty level, current available points, bonus points and points earned today. (RMS generated receipts do this in about 6 lines of text.)

Use receipts for nutrient depletion information.

If you’ve adopted a program to counsel on drug induced nutrient depletion the receipt can become a valuable tool as with the right point-of-sale system and nutrient depletion integration you can print the recommendation right on the receipt for future reference. Maybe even with one of those coupons we talked about earlier! We won’t fib and say this doesn’t result in a longer receipt. It definitely does. But it’s valuable useful information. And something you can opt into based on the customer and the transaction rather than printing miles of receipt for every transaction.

Make emailing a priority.

As trusted pharmacies providing valuable health information and resources, you might have an easier time getting an email for receipts than your average retailer. If you have the email on file, it’s really easy to send the email rather than printing a receipt. If you’re asking for an email, train staff to share your policies and why you need it. (IE emailing receipts reduces waste and we will send updates about your loyalty rewards status as well as events, promotions etc. And we’ll never sell or rent your information.)

Emailing is good for your business from a cost perspective and gives you the opportunity to keep your brand on their mind with email updates.

Curate to your customer base.

None of these rules are one-size-fits-all except for one. You have to tailor what you do to your customer demographics and preferences. Get creative. Find out what works for you and your customers and make a receipt that matches those needs.

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