With so much competition among pharmacies, it can be difficult for an independent pharmacy to gain traction in their local community. After all, larger chains tend to occupy every single corner in America, making it all the more important for community pharmacies to stand out.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to increase your pharmacy profit. With the right pharmacy team and pharmacy programs, your store can be a hub of consumer activity.
It seems pretty straightforward, but make sure your team is doing the obvious and non-obvious things to best position your store effectively. Here are three simple steps you can take to better serve your customers and make your independent pharmacy more profitable.
Most of the time customers enter your store with a specific purpose in mind. It might be to fill a script, to purchase cosmetics or a greeting card. Key product placement is essential to a positive consumer experience and if your customers have trouble finding what they want, they are likely to become frustrated and stop shopping with you.
As a pharmacy owner, it is important to always analyze the layout of your store. Too often, owners fail to see things from the customer perspective so be sure and strategically place products in logical, convenient locations, have appropriate signage and prioritize popular products whenever possible. Also, think seasonally. For example, in the winter cold medicines should be easy to find. In the spring and summer, prime shelf space should feature sunscreen and allergy medication.
Additionally, items should be logically grouped so if someone is going to buy bandages, he or she may also want an antiseptic at the same time. When these products are placed close to each other, they will be easier to find and increases the likelihood of the consumer buying both products instead of only one.
It is not just about how the shelves are organized but what is on the shelves in the first place. Modern consumers are used to options. When they arrive in a store, they expect to compare and contrast different brands to find the best product at the best price.
To this end, similar products should be in the same aisle. If a customer wants to find pain medication, all the options should be readily available on the same shelf. This way, it is easy to compare brands, gauge prices, check out dosages, ingredients and more. In order for a community pharmacy to stay relevant, having the best selections in town is of vital importance.
By having enough brands on hand, every customer will find what he or she is looking for before checking out. This is all a part of providing a positive experience for customers, ensuring that they leave satisfied with their purchase. Just remember the context in which most people visit a pharmacy. Many customers visit the pharmacy when they or their loved ones are sick. This already causes enough stress. It is the job of the pharmacy staff to make them feel comfortable and help them as much as possible.
Although stocking your pharmacy effectively can make a huge impact on the bottom line, pharmacy employees also play a big role in increasing profitability through upselling. One of the easiest ways to increase profits is by encouraging your team to engage with patients and customers and be comfortable making recommendations or upselling.
Upselling is a common business strategy, in which employees leverage a conversation with consumers to get them to buy more. While it is important to never be too pushy in a selling context, pharmacy employees have a unique opportunity to provide targeted helpful product advice.
In a restaurant upselling means offering appetizers, alcoholic beverages and dessert to increase the cost of a meal. In a pharmacy it can be as simple as suggesting related products. When someone comes in to buy cold medicine, a friendly reminder that there is a good price on tissues or humidifiers might be effective. If a customer is picking up a box of diapers, pointing out the great deals on diaper cream or baby wipes might be a logical extension.
Employees should be well-trained to look for these opportunities, offering smart suggestions that appeal to a consumer’s specific needs. This will not only improve profits, but it can be a critical part of excellent customer service. A good upsell should never feel like a sales pitch. Instead, it should feel like one-on-one attention from a dedicated employee.
If you are interested in increasing profits at your independent pharmacy let’s talk. Schedule a free discovery call with an experienced Business Growth Advisor to get advice about leadership team development, increasing profitability and much more.
One of the biggest advantages of managing employees at an independent pharmacy is the flexibility to design a personalized pharmacy team. In fact, a well-managed, high-performing team will produce better business results.
But how does one build a team of high performers?
Effective communication is an essential part of effective team management. Better communication facilitates more streamlined operations, and helps eliminate time-wasting activities because everyone understands what is expected of them.
Pharmacy owners must shift the focus of their employees towards achieving business goals, personal accountability and top-notch customer service. Your customers and employees will all be happier thanks to this approach.
Here are some important tips for turning individual pharmacy workers into an impressive high-performance team:
1. Effective Time Management
Start by analyzing the duties of each team member. For a thorough and accurate analysis, it is best to do this without following the workers around like a shadow. Simply observe what they do throughout the day, and ask them about their duties. Ask these questions about different tasks to determine if they are essential:
- What would happen if this task were removed?
- Are there more benefits or disadvantages for changing this process?
- Is there any way to simplify this task or process?
- Are there too many people working on the same tasks?
- Are technologies available to make this process simpler?
Never make a change that compromises quality, service or accuracy in filling medications. When time-wasting tasks are cut and duties are clearly outlined for each team member, assignments will be finished faster. The day-to-day nature of the pharmacy business can be unpredictable, but implementing a time-management plan will make fluctuating volume demands easier to navigate.
2. Set Clear Business And Performance Goals
Every independent pharmacy owner should have specific goals. Setting daily goals for managing time, completing tasks or hitting a specific sales target can be a great way to help your team stay focused. Communicate these goals with your team members using a central shared bulletin board or an electronic system for better clarity. Hold regular meetings to evaluate progress.
3. Motivate With Incentives
When most independent pharmacy owners think of incentives, they think of cash bonuses. These are not always necessary. Weekly rewards such as a free bottled beverage and a protein bar could also do the trick to reward behaviors inexpensively. Consider offering gift cards, an extra vacation day or a credit voucher for in-house purchases to the best-performing worker on your team for each quarter. Simple recognition tactics such as paper awards, thank-you notes and a program for honoring the top employee of the month, can help boost morale and encourage quality work.
4. Rethink Training Strategies
Are staff members effectively trained when they are hired? Examine pharmacy training materials and methods. If there are processes that seem ineffective, remove or replace them. Ask your seasoned team members to suggest improvements for new employee, team training and development plans. One of the most important elements to incorporate throughout training and beyond is a collaborative culture.
5. Create A Team Culture
pharmacy success stories have a positive culture of teamwork, which translates to increased efficiency and improved ROI. Though building a strong team is not a one-time activity or a box you can check off. The process itself takes time and work, and maintaining it requires a team-oriented workplace culture.
If a pharmacy has several employees and a few departments, it’s a good idea to designate leaders for each. Then encourage team leaders to strengthen their sub-teams and support one another. It can be helpful to have regular “all team” meetings where workers praise one another for their efforts.
High-performing pharmacy teams are worth their weight in gold. Pharmacy owners have the power to create a positive and collaborative store environment that makes for happy customers and better results.
Would you like to learn more about building and leading a High-Performance Team? Let’s talk!
Schedule a free assessment call with an experienced Business Growth Advisor today.
Become a Community Healthcare Destination
How can pharmacy owners stand out among the competition and grow market share? By positioning your store as a community healthcare destination.
The healthcare landscape is one of constant change and gaining a competitive advantage can be an ongoing battle for the independent pharmacy owner. There are a multitude of challenges that owners like you deal with every single day just to keep the lights on and leaving little energy to innovate.
So how can pharmacy owners stand out from the competition and enhance market share?
It’s simple. By positioning their pharmacy as the “community healthcare destination”.
But You May Be Wondering How To Position Your Pharmacy As a Community Healthcare Destination
Utilizing tools, such as data-mining which means analyzing information to find patterns of useful information that can be applied to your business. Data-mining enables you to identify key areas of opportunity that you can react to. You may find trends that indicate a need to stock a certain product or a product or service that might need to be eliminated. By reviewing data and learning what is really happening in your store, you can find areas to improve your business, streamline and ultimately increase your bottom line.
Keep in mind that innovation can take on many forms; there may be dated processes in need of overhaul, or a new niche service that you can incorporate to address a specific healthcare concern within your local area. Or perhaps a new more profitable medication that you can use to replace another one.
Here are some simple steps to getting started on the path to establishing your pharmacy as a community healthcare destination in your neighborhood:
- Strive to understand the unique healthcare needs of your community – Once you begin to understand the healthcare needs of your community, you can identify how to address them by adding, clinics, immunization programs, disease education and much more.
- Use data to discover opportunities and refine numerous aspects of your business – Analyzing and understanding your data, can help you determine key areas of focus such as improving customer service, adding new disease-specific products and/or managing your P&L more efficiently.
Pro-tip Don’t just look at profit data, track results! Successful patient outcomes will be instrumental in the long-term marketing of your pharmacy services.
- Become a Community Healthcare Ambassador – Once you identify one or more areas of specialization to focus on in your pharmacy, you can start planning the implementation and marketing of these services. Visit doctors offices, hospitals and elder care facilities to build your network and share the unique services you offer to support the needs of these patients.
Pro-tip: Your knowledge is your strongest asset. Focus on quality, not quantity when it comes to patient interactions.
BONUS: Community-centered programs to solidify your position as the local community healthcare authority:
Below are some helpful turn-key programs and initiatives that PDS has developed to help independent pharmacies expand their reach and establish themselves as the leader for treatments and education. Need help getting started? Contact us for more information!
Understanding the needs of your patients will allow you to identify new services, key products, and distinguish you from your competition. Utilizing this knowledge will be invaluable for the longevity and sustainability of quality programs and exceptional customer care.
No one knows your local community better than you do, so use these tips and free program guides to decide which programs will be the best for your business.
Let’s talk! Schedule a call with an experienced pharmacy business expert to learn more about our independent pharmacy strategies that will have you on the fast track to profitable results.
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 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.
If you have been paying any attention to the headlines, you know that Walmart recently announced the closing of 269 stores worldwide, including 154 stores in the United States. Stores began shutting down just two days after the announcement and have continued over the past few weeks. If one of the store closings is in your area, you have an opportunity to gain a huge amount of new business in your pharmacy, and acting quickly will be critical to your success in this area. Many PDS Members have reached out to ask for our recommendations and assistance in leveraging this opportunity.
1. Contact store management.
Pharmacy staff members at your local Walmart may be concerned about the well-being of their patients after the store closing. Take time to get in touch with them and offer your services to take care of their patients. Provide some flyers or business cards to be kept at the pharmacy counter.
A personal visit is worth 1,000 phone calls! As a pharmacy owner, you will be amazed at the results if you are able to build a strong relationship with big-box staff members before the store closes. You may gain insider information and they may be willing to distribute or display a letter on your behalf. Pharmacy staff will feel compelled to send dozens of patients to your store if they know you personally.
2. Recruit pharmacy talent.
Ask about top staff members that will soon be without a job. Excellent pharmacy staff can be difficult to find, so don’t miss the opportunity to recruit excellent talent with prior pharmacy experience in your local area.
3. Use traditional marketing techniques.
Radio, newspaper, TV and direct mail can all be great avenues to reach Walmart customers. Target your message to the Walmart audience and make them aware that their friendly local pharmacy is ready and willing to take over their healthcare needs.
4. Offer incentives.
Provide an in-store coupon for all former Walmart customers. You can make this coupon available on your website and in local newspapers. The Walmart coupon should be applicable to any customer transferring prescriptions. You may also choose to provide incentives or a contest for staff members who bring in the largest number of prescription transfers from family, friends and strangers alike.
5. Use social media marketing.
Create an advertisement for Facebook. You will have the ability to target cities where Walmarts are closing and select “liked Walmart” as a criteria for the audience who sees your ad. For only $5 or $10, your advertisement will be viewed by thousands of people on Facebook.
6. Implement a referral program.
Make a coupon for existing patients to share with family and friends. When they bring in a former Walmart patient, a discount is provided on any purchase for both the new and existing patient.
In any communication with Walmart patients, it may be productive to emphasize the importance of their health care and the fact that you have been and continue to, serve the community, offering pricing that is comparable and often times cheaper than local big-box stores. The message is that their neighborhood pharmacy is still eager to meet all of their health care needs. The local independent pharmacy is still their premier, reliable healthcare provider. Now is the time for independents to make it known that you can and will compete with out of pocket costs, and have been for many years or decades.
When an opportunity like this presents itself, time is of the essence. Independent pharmacy owners must be prepared to act quickly and effectively. That’s why it is so important to have a team of experts behind you. When news of Walmart closings became apparent a few weeks ago, PDS Members immediately worked with their Business Coaches and Performance Specialists to develop a plan of attack. Our members are already beginning to transition patients from local Walmarts into their pharmacies.
With PDS support, our members are able to move faster and more effectively than other independents. If you’re interested in learning more about how PDS can help you, like we help hundreds of other independents nationwide, sign up to speak with one of our Business Advisors. The conversation will be quick, easy and hassle-free.
The Pharmacist of the Year is selected annually based on their commitment to the well-being of their customers and local community and contributions to the independent pharmacy profession. Essentially, this is someone who is known for their committment to moving the profession forward in a positive way.
Jason Foil of Lumberton Drug Company in Lumberton, NC is a true innovator! He holds an Elite Level PDS Membership and has been part of our PDS Family since 2012. One of the reasons he is being recognized for this honor is his robust list of accomplishments and tremendous growth and profit for his three stores.
How did he achieve these phenomenal results? Here are a few highlights:
- His pharmacy offers a unique synchronization program called Home Rx that takes the enrollment process direct to patients’ homes or facilities. In 2015, he and his team expanded the Home RX program and doubled enrollments from 245 to 500 patients (a 1.8 x return on investment).
- He worked with his team to develop a Diabetes Care Club to monitor patients’ A1C numbers and to track and measure the impact of their program on their patients’ health. The Diabetes club has also attracted new patients to the pharmacy.
- He focused on building relationships with doctors in their community to look for opportunities to integrate the needs of the community with the pharmacy’s offerings.
- He focused on his own growth by participating in several PDS trainings including, the Advanced Leadership Program and Dare to be Free. He joined the PDS Board of Directors Group which he says provided him a network of contacts across the country and new opportunities, along with a peer group that held him accountable.
Congratulations to the PDS 2016 Pharmacist of the Year, Jason Foil of Lumberton Drug Company!
If you would like to reach this level of pharmacy achievement, it is never too early or too late to get started. Many of the most successful pharmacists we work with begin by focusing on one specific program like synchronization or compounding. Jump start your success by downloading your copy of our free ebook, Generating More Pharmacy Customers with Compounding, where you will learn how to launch your own compounding niche and get more customers in the door immediately.
Pharmacy Entrepreneur of the Year
At the annual PDS Super-Conference, we take time to recognize the exceptional achievements of industry leaders from the PDS community. This year, we presented awards for Pharmacist of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and Pharmacy Team of the Year.
The Entrepreneur of the Year is selected annually based on their dedication to the growth of their team, their business and the pharmacy industry as a whole. While we know that all PDS Members are dedicated to leading their pharmacy and the entire industry forward, this year’s winning pharmacy owner stood out from all the rest.
Amina Abubaker of RX Clinic Pharmacy has been part of the PDS family since 2012. She is a passionate and knowledgeable pharmacist who is very active, has received several accolades from pharmacy industry leadership organizations and is a true innovator, known for taking ideas and concepts and turning them into realities. She also does a great job of empowering her pharmacy team to help her achieve success.
Her list of accomplishments is very long, but here are a few highlights:
- Last year she focused on becoming a URAC accredited pharmacy
- Due to her ability to build relationships, the compounding business has grown enough to hire another pharmacist and technician
- Through her work with a primary care physician and an infectious disease PA, she helped create the first “one stop shop” for HIV care in North Carolina
- Her Clinical Pharmacist, alongside a physician and a PA, bill Medicare for annual wellness visits as a revenue stream for the pharmacy
- She launched a new PGx product called RxIGHT which is available to consumers, yet uses pharmacists as primary service providers for testing and counseling
- She enabled the pharmacy to be hand selected for a grant to provide specialized MTM services to help Medicare and Medicaid patients
- She added Rodan and Fields skincare lines as profitable revenue streams to the pharmacy
Amina’s achievements are extremely impressive, but it all started with just one step. One of our favorite quotes here at PDS is,
“A year from now, you will wish you had started today.”
In what area of your business can you initiate improvement right now?
Get started immediately by downloading your free copy of the ebook, Generating More Pharmacy Customers with Compounding, where we reveal important tips including:
- How pharmacy compounding drives business revenue
- How compounding ensures a steady flow of new customers
- What resources and trainings are available for compounding and much more
Learn more, launch your own compounding niche and get more customers in the door now! Before you know it, you could join the ranks with pharmacy industry leaders like Amina.
As we mentioned in our blog post Compounding: An Introduction and Getting Started, compounding used to be the primary function of pharmacists. They provided customized medication for patients, tailoring formulas to individual needs. With the advent of mass drug manufacturing, the role of compounding declined and pharmacists were seen more as drug dispensers than anything else.
However, recent technological advancements and increased innovation has again enabled modern pharmacists to revisit customized medications through compounding. This makes exploring the benefits of compounding as timely and a true differentiator in your local market that will help your pharmacy stand out.
For instance, when a patient is unable to take a commercially available drug or they require a medication that has been discontinued, a licensed pharmacist can recreate that medication via compounding. Other times, patients don’t respond to the traditional forms of treatment, or they simply need their medication in a different form. By offering compounding, you fill the need for a customized solution at your pharmacy.
Not convinced? We’ve detailed 5 key benefits of pharmacy compounding so you can learn how it can boost your business and help your patients live a healthier and happier life.
Providing Access to Discontinued Medications
At times, pharmaceutical manufacturers discontinue production of certain drugs due to low demand. In doing so, they make it difficult for the patients who still need these medications to fill their prescriptions.
Today, compounding pharmacies have access to the highest quality pharmaceutical ingredients and can fill the prescription, using the latest research, quality control process, and techniques.
Compounding pharmacists like you play a pivotal role in providing access to these medications by recreating pharmaceutical-based ingredients to get patients exactly what they need.
Making Medication Easier to Take
Let’s face it: Some medications have an unpleasant flavor, making it hard for the patients to take them as directed, which decreases the likelihood of compliance.
A compounding pharmacist can customize the prescription with the patient’s flavor of choice. This is especially handy when dealing with patients who may refuse medication, like young children, elderly patients, or even pets! Your patients will thank you once their medications become more tolerable. . Plus, they’ll tell their friends, family, and coworkers about you because you took away one of their “headaches” – administering medication to their child or elderly relative.
Offering Alternative Dosage Forms
For patients who have trouble swallowing pills, having the capability to provide an alternative form of the medication (such as a liquid, cream, or gel) is a convenient and appealing service.
Making Allergy-Sensitive Medication
Some patients cannot take mass-produced medication due to an allergy, a sensitivity, or intolerance of dyes, lactose, gluten, alcohol, fillers or preservatives contained in certain medications. A compounding pharmacist can make it possible for the patient to get the treatment they need by recreating the formula for that medication without the offensive ingredients.
Offering Unique Services that Set You Apart from Competition
Offering compounding at your pharmacy can set you apart from your competition. It allows the pharmacist to use their extensive drug knowledge to help the patient and prescriber create a truly unique treatment plan.
You are able to ask your customers about the side effects they’re experiencing and what questions they have about their medication. Then, you can start developing a new product catered to their individual needs – something chain pharmacies don’t do.
Compounding pharmacists are often able to offer treatments for unusual or resistant maladies that traditional allopathic medicine can’t help with or has failed.
Should You Offer Compounding at Your Pharmacy?
Consider this scenario: The average pharmacy with 100 patients per day can easily have 5 patients who will benefit from compounding products. With an average $50 spent per prescription, this would add $77,500.00 per year to your gross profit.
Compounding allows you to increase revenue while offering your patients and physicians alternative targeted solutions for their healthcare needs.
Still need more information? Download our free eBook! Generating More Pharmacy Customers Through Compounding and read more about how other independent pharmacy owners have succeeded by adding this profitable niche
Compounding Pharmacies: How to Overcome Negative Stereotypes
In an interview recorded at the PDS 2015 Super-Conference in Orlando, Florida, PDS expert, Lisa Faast, PharmD explains how pharmacists can use their expertise to overcome negative stereotypes often associated with compounding pharmacies. Dr. Faast says, “the majority of compounders out there are the most outstanding educated pharmacists…” and the best thing you can do as a compounder is showcase your patient success stories.