Attending any pharmacy conference is an investment that should be weighed against the potential ROI. Before purchasing a ticket, ask yourself if it is worth the time and money to attend and how the event will add value and increase profits for your independent pharmacy.
This is where the 2017 PDS All-Star Super-Conference comes in — finding value here is only limited by your willingness to implement with intent to win. The enthusiasm and energy of pharmacy owners while in attendance is a major reason why headlining sponsors keep coming back, year after year. Owners arrive ready to find solutions and make decisions. The relationships created between exhibitors, and business owners are invaluable when it comes to solving problems and driving profits for pharmacy owners. Continue reading “3 Surefire Ways PDS 2017 Will Add Value to Your Pharmacy”
Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) takes pride in an unmatched commitment to helping independent pharmacy owners improve their businesses and become more profitable. In the spirit of bringing the latest innovations and best practices to PDS Members, CEO, Dan Benamoz, recently took his Leadership Team on a field trip to see another world class organization up close — Zappos headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. This ground-breaking e-commerce organization is known for many things like disrupting the retail sector by selling shoes online and an unwavering commitment to customer service.
So, what can a company that helps independent pharmacy owners have in common with an e-commerce shoe company?
As it turns out, a great deal.
To improve customer service, increase profits, and drive word of mouth referrals, both Zappos and PDS understand that it is imperative to know who your most profitable customers are. Continue reading “Are All Customers Created Equal?”
So challenging, in fact, that we’ve created an arsenal of tools, tips, programs, strategies, and trainings to combat the frustration that comes with owning and growing a pharmacy business.
After almost two decades developing and nurturing a network of the most progressive pharmacy owners in the nation, we understand some of the challenges you may be facing.
- You have a problem staying ahead of those ever-changing and growing DIR fees.
- Customers are forced to go to other pharmacies or mail order.
- You have a lack of inventory processes.
- Cash flow issues are causing a strain on you both personally and professionally.
- You have a toxic company culture that is affecting your bottom line.
Where can you turn to for answers? PDS members have access to our vast resource library of pharmacy development tools and industry message boards. You could also wait to attend our annual PDS Super-Conference in February 2017 to reignite your passion for pharmacy. However, if you are not a member and you cannot wait until February for solutions, we’ve still got your back.
“Life gives to the givers, and takes from the takers.”
-Dan Benamoz, Founder and CEO, Pharmacy Development Services
Our mission is to not only help our PDS members, but each and every independent pharmacy owner out there. Because the more we help each other, the greater our collective success will be.
Every year, we feature the top Showcase of Success honorees on stage at our annual Super-Conference. This year, we have taken our most inspiring success stories from the past four years and added them to our website for every pharmacy owner, manager, technician, and anyone in the industry to access and implement. You can find the stories here on our website.
As you read through these stories, you will find inspiration and strategies from peers who have been in your shoes. It is almost impossible not to find a solution that you can adopt and apply to your own business.
To get an idea of the massive ROI you can get from just reading these stories, here are a few huge wins from our honorees:
What are you waiting for? Let one of our Showcase of Success stories be your next AHA! moment for your pharmacy.
The hundreds of pharmacy owners and staff members who graced the stage and sat in the audience sharing ideas and plans are what made PDS 2016 unforgettable. Our growing network of leaders in independent pharmacy is powerful enough to transform the industry. Our award winners, Showcase of Success presenters and panels of experts shared success stories related to everything from synchronization and pharmacogenomics to clinical services and team management. Continue reading “3 Takeaways from the 2016 PDS Super-Conference”
Competing against large national chains and mail-order pharmacies is a major challenge independent pharmacies have faced for years. Meanwhile, becoming the most recognized and trusted pharmacy in a local community is another challenge altogether. How will you set yourself apart from local competitors in 2016?
Pharmacogenomics is one method of business expansion we will promote in the year ahead. In fact, we believe it is such a profitable opportunity that we will hold an experts panel on pharmacogenomics at the 2016 PDS Super-Conference. In recent years, we have featured revolutionary tactics like prescription synchronization and bedside delivery.
There are many new programs you can implement to gain a competitive edge, but before you get started, here are 3 considerations to help you get started.
1. Will it benefit your target market?
When you are focused on your target market’s pain points, you will have a better understanding of what services will be the most beneficial in solving their problems. For example, if you find that a large number of patients are coming to you to fill prescriptions after they’ve been released from the hospital, bedside delivery may be a service to consider. Knowing your audience and tailoring your services to fit their needs will make a huge difference in customer satisfaction. Before you select an innovative new program, make sure it is applicable to your patients and your community.
2. Will it set your pharmacy apart?
While many of the national chain pharmacies offer the same services, you have the ability to provide more. A personalized touch will make your customers feel valued and like they’re part of your family. What new services can you offer that are available nowhere else in your community? Is there an opportunity to expand your current customer base? Identifying and leveraging niche markets is also a great way to differentiate yourself from other pharmacies.
3. How can you provide extraordinary customer service?
One of the biggest challenges of any business is getting people in the door, but perhaps an even bigger challenge is getting people to come back repeatedly. Extraordinary customer service can make all the difference in patient retention. Going above and beyond for each of your patients means saying “yes” when everyone else has told them “we can’t do that for you.” It means taking a few extra minutes to talk to a patient about their prescriptions and answering any questions they may have. As an independent, the opportunity to build personal relationships and “wow” your customers is your extra competitive edge.
In 2016, make it a priority to identify new innovative methods to compete in your local market. If you’re struggling to find ways to set yourself apart from the other pharmacies in your area, you’re not alone. At the PDS Super-Conference, you will be joined by 1,000 of your peers, who will be sharing ideas that can transform your business and bring in brand new revenue streams. If you would like to identify new ways to compete in your local market, there is no better place to do it. We will even provide the tools and resources to implement new programs quickly and seamlessly. Click here to register for the Super-Conference now.
The pharmacy industry is a competitive and ever-changing environment. If you don’t keep up with news and trends, you can miss the boat on important industry changes and new governmental mandates. Increasing your exposure to what others in the industry are thinking and saying is a great way to keep you focused on moving forward. Reading blogs is the best way to stay on top of the trends, and today, we handpicked a list of pharmacy ownership blogs worth following!
Naturally, the PDS blog is the best place to start. Subscribe by submitting your email address here. With our email notifications, you will never miss a post! It’s never smart to rely on only one source of information, so let’s take a look at a few other great pharmacy ownership blogs you can read:
TED Medicine. TED is a small nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TED’s inspirational audio and video presentations discuss a variety of pharmacy-related topics including cutting-edge technology trends and discoveries in the field of Medicine. You may enjoy listening or viewing TED Talks on your phone, tablet or home computer at any time. A new episode is posted every few days, so this can be a great source of information if you don’t have the time to sit down and read as often as you would like.
Retail Management Solutions. RMS is the industry leader in pharmacy point-of-sale technology for retail and outpatient pharmacies. RMS is the only point-of-sale provider in the nation that focuses strictly on the pharmacy market. Because of this singular focus, they have a great insight into the ever-changing world of pharmacy products and services. If you’re interested in the most up-to-date information on the technology trends for your pharmacy, this blog is a great place to start.
77% of internet readers use blogs, and blog is quickly becoming one of the most trusted sources of news. In fact, many people now trust blogs as the grass root source of news. It’s clear that keeping up with pharmacy blogs will be beneficial to you and your business in many ways.
If staying informed and up-to-date on everything related to the pharmacy industry is important to you (as it should be), you can’t miss the largest annual gathering of independent pharmacy owners. Click here to learn more and register.
How can you quickly boost your pharmacy’s profit margins with little to no effort or costs? Well, consider McDonald’s success with their “supersize” options. By simply adding six words to each order (Would you like to supersize that?), McDonald’s convinced millions of customers to spend an extra $0.60 for an extra large drink and French fry. Adding this question to each order did not take any extra amount of time or money and in turn, increased the fast food restaurant’s profit.
So, how can you “supersize” your customer’s orders? In an independent pharmacy business, cross-selling is a quick and easy way to increase profits, while positioning your pharmacy as knowledgeable and caring. Remember, you are not in the prescription-filling or DME business, you are in the problem solving business. You offer solutions to people’s health issues. And guess what? There are hundreds of cross-selling – or back-end opportunities as we like to call it – readily available within the four walls of your pharmacy.
But I Didn’t go to Pharmacy School to be a Salesman!
This is correct, you didn’t spend six plus years learning how to make a “sale” or how to directly grow your independent pharmacy profit. However, you did learn about the different interactions and side effects of hundreds of medications and how to educate your patients on the solutions available to them. By simply re-framing your team’s thought process (and incorporating a little bit of training), the opportunity to increase your bottom line by thousands of dollars a year sky-rockets.
And remember, as the pharmacy owner, you should not be the only person on your team who is asking patients if they are interested in a relevant supplement. Train your staff and create critical drivers that encourage your team to put a little skin in the game.
How to Craft a Profitable Supplement Business
As a pharmacist, you were taught to be on the alert for major side effects from the drugs prescribed. However, from our experience, pharmacies rarely focus on educating their patients on the nutrients that are depleted bythese medications or those supplements that will enhance the performance of their prescription. As the “drug expert” in your community, this educating opportunity is your golden ticket.
By simply offering (high-margin) solutions to these potentially dangerous situations and prescription alternatives, you can add thousands of dollars to your bottom line and add volume and credibility to the pharmacists’ role as counselor. And not to mention, brand your pharmacy as the local option that truly cares about the well-being of its customers.
Watch this video to learn how one pharmacy owner added $10,000 to his bottom line by simply offering a high-integrity calcium supplement.
High Margin Back-End Opportunities
While there are 100’s of back end opportunities available at the fingertips of pharmacy professionals, here’s a quick list of conditions and products that have proven to decrease the chances of nutrient depletion and improve the disease state…and your bottom line:
- High Cholesterol Patients – Red Yeast Rice
- Chronic Pain Patients – Arnica Profen
- Geriatric Women and Poor Bone Density Patients – Calcium Supplement, such as Osteohealth
- Depression, Poor Bone Density Patients, and Muscle Relaxant Patients: Vitamin D3
- Beta Blockers – deplete co-enzyme q-10
- Blood Pressure Medications – deplete co-enzyme q-10 and B-6
- Diabetes Drugs – deplete co-enzyme q-10, B-12, and folic acid
- Diuretics – deplete magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium, B-6, and vitamin-c
- Statins – seriously deplete co-enzyme q-10
SHARE: What other items in your pharmacy do you see potential back-end opportunities? Think diabetic shoes + diabetic socks, Band-Aids + triple antibiotic ointment, etc. and share below:
Exceptional customer service is essential for customer satisfaction and retention in any industry, and it holds especially true for pharmacies. While many of the national chain pharmacies offer the same services as you do, your pharmacy can provide your customers with more. Your pharmacy should be more than a place where you fill prescriptions, it should be a place where your customers know they are your neighbors and feel valued. Having a well-defined customer service strategy in place can not be an afterthought if you want to stay competitive.
Here are a few simple ways to ensure your customers are receiving top-quality service:
Tip #1: Train Your Employees
Your customer service process will never succeed without good people behind it. Hire talent with great people skills and help them improve through ongoing training. Employees that are personable, positive, friendly and have the right skill set will take your company further than you can imagine.
Tip #2: Listen to Your Customers
Excellent customer service is more than what you say and do for the customer. It also means giving them a chance to make their feelings known. With today’s technology, this can be easier than ever. Listen to what your followers are saying on social media and respond accordingly. If you’re getting more than one person with the similar comments, chances are many of your customers may be feeling the same way.
Tip #3: Admit Any Wrongdoings
Going above and beyond to resolve an issue is especially important when a customer has a complaint or a problem. There are many ways of showing the customer you care. When a prescription has been delayed, what should you do?
- Call the customer personally with an update on the status of the order and expected completion time
- Offer a small discount
- Send a note apologizing for the delay after they have picked up their medicine
- Include a gift card for an over-the-counter purchase
Tip #4: Show Your Customers That They are Valued
Nowadays, customers have more choices than ever for where to get theirprescriptions filled. Automating the “thank you” process using email and other digital message delivery systems is certainly easy, but it lacks the personal touch of a birthday card or hand-written message your customers appreciate. This is an excellent way to differentiate your independent pharmacy from big corporate giants.
Customer service is an integral part of owning a pharmacy and should be seen as a key component of running your business. Your most vital assets are your customers, and there are countless ways to provide them with extraordinary customer service.
Prescriptions may be the number one reason customers come into your pharmacy, and they are definitely one of the biggest revenue sources, but it’s vital 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 non-prescription or front-end products remain consistent and strong. Non-prescription merchandise can be an important source of revenue and maximizing your retail sales might be just as important as selling prescribed medications. Here are seven strategic ways to entice customers to make non-prescription purchases and ultimately boost your pharmacy revenue.
1. Study 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 Advantag
The layout of your pharmacy can impact how to most effectively display your retail merchandise to generate more 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 Team to Cross-Sell and Upsell
Your pharmacy staff is your most important asset. Coach them to both build relationships with customers and make relevant product suggestions. Train your staff to be helpful and ask customers what products they are looking for so they can easily find what they came into your store for. Your team might be able to recommend alternative or complementary products. It can also be helpful to hold weekly team meetings to inform your staff what inventory needs to be moved, marked down or removed.. Perhaps 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. And 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.
7. Service That Sizzles
It doesn’t matter if you run a pharmacy or a ditchdigging 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 healthybottom-line for your independent pharmacy.
Looking for more ways to stand out from the crowd? Download our free eBook, 3 Innovative Ways to Compete in the Pharmacy Market