“My pharmacy is very small, and we don’t have a lot of OTC’s.”
“We don’t do a lot of retail business.”
“Our pharmacy has no front end.”
Do any of these statements ring true for your pharmacy? It’s certainly not uncommon for local apothecary pharmacies and outpatient or clinic pharmacies to have a very small, or perhaps nonexistent, selection of OTC products. And we talk to a lot of pharmacies who operate stores focused less on retail and more on prescriptions, health & wellness, and patient care. In fact, a lot of pharmacies just like these are RMS customers.
Yup, you read that right. Many pharmacies find the value in point-of-sale regardless of whether retail is a mainstay of their business or just a footnote. Of course it makes sense to have point-of-sale when you have products to receive, prices to update, inventory to manage, and daily orders to process. But is it really a necessity if your primary concerns lie outside of retail and OTC products?
We think the answer is a resounding “Yes!”. But if you’re in the market for some convincing, here are a few things to consider.
Payments Processing – This is one of the foundations of any transaction and may seem basic at first glance. But processing payments in a pharmacy is anything but basic. Luckily, point-of-sale can make it easy. First, accepting credit cards integrated through your point-of-sale makes sure that you’re processing totals accurately. No improperly keyed transactions causing frustrated customers and lost revenue. Cash management means you can identify problems like overages and shortages, addressing those issues before they get out of hand. You’ll also ensure your ability to accept FSA cards and be able to manage check acceptance at several different levels. Moving beyond standard tender types, pharmacies should consider how they are managing A/R and Payroll Deduction as well as whether they can benefit from offering and accepting pharmacy branded gift cards.
Reporting – An often overlooked consideration, robust reporting is a must for any pharmacy. Every transaction that you process results in data that should be tracked, regularly reviewed, and used to make improvements. If you don’t understand your business metrics, you can’t expect to grow your business.
Customer Experience – If you’re going to pick one thing to focus on improving in your pharmacy, the customer experience should be it. More than price and even convenience, the way customers feel about the service they receive in your pharmacy is the biggest motivator for gaining repeat business. What does this all have to do with a point-of-sale system? It turns out a lot of point-of-sale features contribute to a positive customer experience. From running a quick and easy transaction, to making sure that customers get all available prescriptions and even performing date of birth verification for an extra patient safety check. You can also add a tablet for curbside pickup and a more personal checkout experience in the pharmacy (or meds to beds for outpatient pharmacies) to help take your pharmacy that extra mile in the customer's eyes.
Supplementary Programs- Pharmacies with small front ends can benefit from a few special point-of-sale extras. Customer Loyalty programs are relevant no matter what size your business is and delivery programs are becoming more and more popular for pharmacies trying to compete with large chains and mail order services.
Above all, point-of-sale in your apothecary or outpatient pharmacy gives you room to grow. As you increase the number of prescriptions filled, transactions run and deliveries made, a good pharmacy POS system will allow you to expand your programs as you need to.