Prescriptions may be the number one reason patients come into your pharmacy (not to mention a vital revenue source!), but it’s imperative for your business to boost non-prescription sales as well.
In recent years, the profit margins of prescriptions across the industry have been dropping while margins for OTC or front-end products remain consistent and strong. This merchandise can be an important source of revenue and maximizing your retail sales are just as important in your profitability as selling prescribed medications.
Below are seven strategic ways to entice patients to make non-prescription purchases and ultimately boost your pharmacy revenue.
1. Do Your Market Research
Just because you like a particular product, doesn’t mean everyone else does too. Don’t rely on your intuition to figure out the best ways to grow your non-prescription sales. Review data and research to determine which over-the-counter and retail products are hot. A study by Hamacher Resource Group (HRG) found that pharmacists assumed that diabetes products ranked as the fourth most-shopped non-prescription category, but point-of-sale data revealed that diabetes products actually ranked 15th.
Also, review your sales figures to see which product categories are most popular with your customers and take steps to make these products easier to locate in your pharmacy.
2. Use Your Pharmacy’s Floor Plan to Your Advantage
An effective pharmacy layout will display your merchandise to optimize sales. Some areas of your pharmacy probably receive more foot traffic than others. For example, areas next to the prescription counter and aisles leading to the checkout registers tend to be higher in traffic. Rotate products in and out of these areas and at the end-of-aisle displays to determine which items see increased sales in these highly visible locations. Testing different floor areas will give you a good idea about where your pharmacy’s prime real estate is located. Moving merchandise around will also help keep your store fresh and current for your customers.
3. Train Your Pharmacy Team to Cross-Sell and Upsell
As a pharmacist, you know that a large number of drugs dispensed have the potential of causing drug-induced nutritional deficiencies. Many of the patients that walk through your door are already buying nutrients. Knowing this, the questions you should ask yourself are:
- Are they buying them from your pharmacy?
- Are they buying quality supplements that are beneficial to their health?
Upselling nutrient depletion supplements is a win-win. Patients who are buying supplements elsewhere don’t normally consult a pharmacist at the time of purchase, so are oftentimes not taking the correct nutrients their body needs with drug-induce depletion. For example, you make $5 selling a patient a beta blocker, and then you make $15 selling them the CoQ10 his body needs to have because of that drug.
Your pharmacy team is key to this “UpSolutions” strategy. Train them to build relationships with customers and make relevant product suggestions based off the drugs they are prescribed.
This can also work for any product you sell in your store. Coach your team to be helpful and ask customers what products they are looking for so they can easily find it and this can open the conversation to upselling.
It can also be helpful to hold weekly team meetings to inform your staff what inventory needs to be moved, marked down or removed.
Idea: Hold a contest and reward staff members that upsell the most products each month. For more information on upselling non-prescription products please read our blog post, 7 Ways to Upsell Your Pharmacy Customers
4. Build Strong Customer Relationships
According to HRG research, consumers who have established good, trusted relationships with their pharmacy are more likely to return compared to visiting stores where they don’t have a personal connection. Your talented team is capable of creating an atmosphere of comfort and trust so be sure to train them to engage with customers and establish personal relationships whenever possible. .Guide your staff to recognize repeat customers and greet them by their first name or ask questions about their families, work or pets. Everyone appreciates a personal touch.
5. Stock Related Products Closely
Knowing how products relate to each other can help your pharmacy increase retail sales. For example, people who are looking for a knee brace may find it helpful to also purchase joint cream or customers with a cold might be looking for a box of tissues. Display related products next to each other, so your customers can easily find what they are looking for. Don’t forget to use your pharmacy floor plan to help you determine how to position related products for maximum sales impact!
6. Be Your Own Secret Shopper
Forget everything you know about your pharmacy and walk through the doors as a secret shopper. Walk the aisles with a fresh eye and ask yourself if things look inviting. Would you continue to shop in this store? If you are hesitant, it may be time for some changes. Updating your decor, brightening the lighting, or adding a fresh coat of paint will go a long way in providing your customers with a pleasant shopping experience. We give some more simple tips on how to refresh your pharmacy here.
7. Pharmacy Customer Service That Sizzles
It doesn’t matter if you run a pharmacy or a ditch-digging company, everything begins and ends with customer service. Offering truly exceptional service is one of the best ways you can boost merchandise sales at your pharmacy. Ask the question, “Is there something we could do to improve your shopping experience and if so, what would it be?” This not only shows that you care what they think, but also allows you to get direct feedback to inform your team and implement changes.
A pharmacy is so much more than just a place to fill prescriptions. It’s a place where people can find convenience products, supplements, food, souvenirs and other household items. Knowing the most effective ways to increase sales of these items will pay off with a healthy bottom-line for your independent pharmacy.
Looking for more ways to drive your most lucrative patients to your door? Download our free eBook, The Pharmacy Business Blueprint For Massive ROI today to increase your profits while providing world-class healthcare.
It has been almost five years since we published this blog post and it is still relevant today. There are a few key additional strategies that you should consider when thinking about non-prescription revenue and profit.
- At PDS 2020 we announced Service-Based Pharmacy. This is the future of pharmacy and should be at the top of your list for goals in 2020 and beyond. You can read more about it on our Service-Based Pharmacy page.
- We have created an entire Growth section of our website dedicated to showcasing the programs, training and partners that we have that you can use to add revenue to your pharmacy.
- PDS Members: Log in to PDSadvantage to get access to the Dare to Diversify, Marketing and Compounding Peer Group Discussions or detailed information about how to implement clinical services in your pharmacy.
We hope you continue to enjoy all of the information we provide to help the independent pharmacy industry thrive.