3 Things to Boost Independent Pharmacy Profits

pharmacy profits
Boost Independent Pharmacy Profits
Starting as an entrepreneur, your vision was clear: you wanted to own a business, so you could apply the storehouse of knowledge you gained over the years of school and put it to good use. Achieving your goals wasn’t easy, and now it’s time to perfect your strategy and implement the real vision for your own pharmacy.

How can your pharmacy stand out? How can you make your place of business somewhere your employees want to come to every day? It’s time to connect the dots and help your independent pharmacy profits grow. It’s time you feel that work-life balance.

To help you get there, here are 3 things every successful pharmacy needs:

1. Leadership

You’re a leader, but are you leading? Leadership requires a unique skill of inspiration and making your employees feel safe, secure, and confident about their jobs. Building a relationship of trust is the key. If your employees feel secure, they will want to work hard and go that extra mile to get things done. They won’t be afraid to ask questions and evolve -all while staying loyal to your pharmacy. Your employees are more than a group of people that works for you. You’re on the same team, working toward the same goals – and that requires mutual respect. You don’t want your team to come in and simply put in their time, counting down the hours until the weekend. Creating a culture through your brand will attract the right people and will encourage your employees to share the same dreams and goals. Building a motivated team is half the battle to the top.

2. Innovation

The ability to stand out from the crowd is another crucial component of any successful pharmacy. There’s a reason why you started an independent business: you wanted to implement your own vision and bring innovative ideas to life — ideas that will satisfy the existing customer base, at the same time opening new revenue streams. Filling prescriptions is just one way to help patients fulfill their needs. Providing them with a great service and a motivational environment will build a trusting relationship, which in turn, will ensure customer retention. Your happy customers will soon turn into brand evangelists who will gladly promote your business because of how much it means to them.

3. Connection

Finally, making connections within your community is what makes a business skyrocket. You may not have put a lot of emphasis on networking when you were in pharmacy school or even working for a chain pharmacy. Owning an independent pharmacy is all about building strong connections: you don’t have to run through every bump in the road on your own. Getting together with like-minded individuals will help you gain a different perspective, as well as encourage you to create and implement new ideas.

Knowing that you’re not alone is a good feeling to have. Sharing mutual problems, giving and taking advice will help you strengthen your pharmacy’s strategy and vision. You’ll have the advantage of avoiding mistakes other pharmacy owners have already made. You’ll gain help in the areas that are most vulnerabile. Additionally, you’ll learn industry secrets early. In the pharmacy industry it’s not uncommon for a drug price to go up, or for certain insurance carriers to lose coverage of some drugs. By connecting with others in the same field, you can obtain this information first and use it to be proactive with your pharmacy business.

Your goal should be to stay ahead of the game, always. To live, breathe, and evolve, your pharmacy business you will need to lead, innovate and connect. It’s not just about filling prescriptions and counting profits. It’s about forming relationships with other industry leaders to help you learn and grow. It’s about being at the forefront of new ideas and the first in your community to dive into fresh opportunities.

Ultimately, it’s about creating an environment that your team wants to be a part of, where it can thrive and the desire to do the best type of work all the time just for your pharmacy exists. You may have already been in business for a few years, but your strategy doesn’t stop just because new business has officially started.

There you have it! These three tools will help you evolve your pharmacy to its fullest potential and keep you ready for the future.

Ready to take your business one step further?

Take an opportunity to tap into some of the juiciest markets that are guaranteed to boost your independent pharmacy profits. Register for the FREE Webinar:  5 Niches Chain Pharmacies Are Ignoring [That You Can’t Afford to Be] – March 18th, 6:30 PM.

5 pharmacy niche markets


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Every pharmacy sells the exact same thing. How will you stand out?

Pharmacy Marketing 360

describe the imageAs a pharmacy owner, chances are good you don’t come from a robust marketing background. That’s why PDS is committed to providing our members the trainings they need to create realistic marketing campaigns with confidence.

One of the ways we turn pharmacy owners into marketing rock stars is through Pharmacy Marketing 360º. This training is comprehensive and will have a positive impact on your pharmacy’s future. Created with care and detail by PDS Chief Marketing Officer Samantha Timmermann, this two-day workshop with follow-up webinars could be the missing puzzle piece your pharmacy has been craving.

With a new session of Pharmacy Marketing 360º starting in June, now is the time to think about registering yourself along with your marketer. Some of you might have questionsabout the training and what better way to address them than by getting the scoop from Samantha herself. In the following interview Samantha discusses what marketing mistake you are likely making, why going after target niches means more business and how Pharmacy Marketing 360 can introduce you to like-minded peers.

PDS Marketing Department: What do you think is the biggest marketing mistake pharmacy owners make?
Samantha Timmermann: They are forgetting to market themselves. They are so busy just in the daily grind. That, or they market with just whoever comes to them. If the newspaper people approach you to do an advertisement, yes, that’s good. But no one is opening their newspaper thinking “I need to find a new pharmacy today.” But what if you switch around your message and talk about your awesome services like a diabetes education class? That might catch their eye.

Samantha%27s Newest Marketing Webinar

You cover a lot of information about target audiences during the training. Why do you think that is so important for the pharmacy industry?

It’s important for every business but it’s especially important for independent pharmacies. When you ask a pharmacist or owner “Who is your target customer?”, they all say “Anyone and everyone who needs a prescription.” Well, that’s not quite true anymore. If you are just filling maintenance medications, that’s not going to take your pharmacy where you want it to go. If you can laser focus in on a target audience, you can have more fun with it. When you go for specific niches, that’s how you differentiate yourself from other pharmacies. It’s not just about target audiences, it’s about creating products that are truly remarkable.

Tell me about the experience of the training. What can PDS Members expect?
One of the big things we do here at PDS is help connect like-minded individuals who walk the same terrain and offer great emotional and collaborative support. That shows up not only at the conference and the message boards, but it shows up tremendously in the actual trainings. You are going to sit in a room with other pharmacy owners and pharmacy marketers and that is going to inspire you. That’s a really big part of it. On day two of the workshop, you are going to present your pharmacy marketing plan to the group and everyone is going to give you feedback and tell you what has worked and what hasn’t worked. You can talk to people who have already been there.

What do you want to tell a Pharmacy Owner that is considering registering but hasn’t quite decided yet?
This is where you and your marketer will be able to go and remove all of the distractions and focus on a niche idea instead of getting stuck in the whirlwind of filling prescriptions everyday. If you are wondering how to replace some of your customers that you are losing–the key is to identify something you might be passionate about and this is where you will learn how to launch it. Whether it’s a wellness niche or even vaccinations, this is where you can really focus on building a part of your company that you haven’t considered yet. Because when every pharmacy sells the exact same thing to the exact same people, what are you going to do to stick out?

Pharmacy Marketing 360º is Friday and Saturday, June 26-27 in Fort Lauderdale. Learnmore and register here. 

Want even more information on pharmacy marketing. Watch Samantha’s latest webinar ‘Attrating Your Most Profitable Customers’ right here!

Dana Krangel PDS Blog AuthorAbout the Author: Dana Krangel is the Marketing Specialist for Member Services at Pharmacy Development Services and a regular blog contributor. Dana can be found on Google+LinkedIn


3 Steps to Set Up Your Independent Pharmacy for Success

3 Steps to Set Up Your Independent Pharmacy for Success
 Independent pharmacy owners feel the pressure to have the edge against big box chains, mail order, and other competitors. With more niche strategies opening up to the independent pharmacist, there are an increasing number of ways to exploit what you thought was a dead-end and gain from undiscovered opportunities.
3 Steps to Set Up Your Independent Pharmacy for Success

Read below for 3 ways you can set your pharmacy up for success with an interesting new niche you could establish in your pharmacy!

  1. Distinguish your pharmacy from chain stores. 

    Create an inviting space with well-defined areas for specific product types. Couple this with caring staff that seek out opportunities to help the customer. This pairing will help develop relationships and create repeat customers. 

    Your products are non-negotiable to a successful retail pharmacy. Using effective, high quality and unique products will create product loyalty. Try offering a combination of well-known big sellers and plenty of unique, reputable products. 

    Share what you know to help others bring their bodies back into a state of health. Train your staff on this as well as both seasonal and common items and trends.

  2. Establish yourself as a local healthcare expert. 

    Creating an image ofauthority and trust in the community is invaluable to your sales and retention efforts. Pharmacy tip: Offer webinars or in-store workshops on specific health topics (i.e. addressing high blood pressure or losing weight). Distribute brochures and flyers on providing information on adjunct or alternative therapies and products is a great way to get more people in the door.A great way to showcase your pharmacy as a local healthcare expert is to amp up your blog activity and distribute a weekly or monthly e-newsletter. Invite customers to subscribe to your blog and use that space to offer healthy tips (i.e., introduce natural medicines and therapies).

  3. Have a plan and share it with your team. 

    Developing a plan with your team will help them get on board with the company agenda and make them feel that their voice matters. Once you develop a plan, focus on a different sales goal each month. Training your team to be knowledgeable will give them the tools they need to confidently interact with your customers. Product and health care training opportunities should be provided each month. Then, reward your staff for a job well done!

About the Author:
Natural Creations is an exhibitor at the 2014 PDS conference and distributor of alternative medicines. They produce the highest quality products strictly operating according to cGMPs and made in a safe & controlled environment. Their product line is of USP grade & have a purity of 98-102%.

To speak with a representative, stop by booth #59 at the Independent Pharmacy Business Growth Conference to learn about the alternative medicines available to you, or visit Natural Creations online at www.natural-creations.net.


4 Steps to Conquer Customer Service in Your Pharmacy



bigstock Dill Pickle 2415726

Gaining and keeping customers is a crucial part of your business. Your customer service must be second to none!

We know that you’re busy … you’re a pharmacist, business owner, supervisor, manager, husband/wife, mom/dad, brother/sister, motivator, leader, entrepreneur, accountant … and you have to be a customer service guru, too!

Today’s lesson from Bob Farrell will give you one more avenue to become a superior customer service expert. Bob’s customer service mantra Give ‘em the Pickle! was born when he received a letter from a loyal customer vowing to never return to his ice cream parlor, because the waitress wouldn’t give him an extra pickle without a charge.

Can you imagine losing a loyal customer over a pickle? It may seem silly, but it happens to businesses every day! Giving away ‘pickles’ is a way for any company to keep their customers happy, exceeding customer expectations and differentiating the pharmacy from its competitors. The cost of a few extra pickles is far less than the cost of lost customers and lost business.

So what are pickles, anyway? We’re not talking about dill pickles, sweet gherkins or bread and butter pickles. ‘Pickles’ are those extra, special things that keep customers coming back.

  • A handwritten thank you note with every order shipped
  • Walking the customer to the item they’re looking for instead of just pointing them in the right direction
  • Calling the customer by name
  • Answering the phone with a smile

Every extra effort counts. If it makes the customer feel good about themselves and their experience with your store – then it’s a pickle. The trick is to figure out what your customers want and make sure they get it.

Remember, pickles = raving, happy customers = better business!

Let’s go over 4 key principles for exemplary customer service in your pharmacy:

  1. Service: Make serving others your number-one priority. Great customer service happens when you exceed customers’ expectations by adding your special touch and by having the courage to make things right. (Give em’ the pickle!)
  2. Attitude: Choose your attitude. How you think about the customer is how you will treat them. A shining attitude is contagious around customers and shows in the quality of your work.
  3. Consistency: Customers return because they liked what happened last time. Set high service standards and live them every day. Add your special touch and exceed their expectations.
  4. Teamwork: Commit to teamwork. Look for ways to make each other look good. In the end, every action by you and your staff will become visible in your business and to your clients, whether you work at the counter or behind the scenes.

So, what’s your pickle? 

  • If your pickle doesn’t immediately come to mind, you need to develop one.
  • Even if it does, we can help you identify additional pickles and get your staff excited and on board with your customer service philosophy.

Great customer service is incredibly important. If you are anything like most pharmacy staff and pharmacy owners, you can probably use some help and encouragement in this area.

Our eight-week, webinar-based workshop The Lost Art of Business Etiquette will help pharmacy employees identify and employ the lost art of social etiquette through increased awareness of business communication and body language. Learn more about all the programs Pharmacy Development Services offers our members.

{Pharmacy Management} How to Make Choosing Easier

Pharmacy Choices

Every consumer wants customized experiences and products while shopping, but when faced with 700 options the choosing becomes difficult. In a recent Ted Talk, speaker Sheena Iyengar, explained, after her experimental findings, how businesses can improve customers’ experience when making choices.

Do you know how many choices you make in a day? In a week? In a month? In a study of over 2,000 Americans, on average consumers make over 70 choices in one typical day. Wow!

In the corporate world, scientists have studied CEOs by following them around, documenting their various tasks and noting how much time they spent making decisions. In turns out, the average CEO engages in about 139 tasks a week, with each task made up of many sub choices. 50% of CEO decisions were made in 9 minutes or less and only about 12% of the decisions took an hour more of their time.

Think about your own choices in your pharmacy business and personal life. Do you know how many choices are in your 9 minutes or less category or your 1 hour or more category? How well are you managing these choices?

In an average grocery store, there are over 70 olive oil choices. 70! Choice overload. We all experience it. Sheena conducted her own study in a grocery store to discover the customer buying patterns depending on the more or less choices offered. She proposed these two questions for customers buying Jam in a grocery store:

1. Would a customer stop for 6 flavors or 24 flavors of Jam?

2. In which case (6 or 24 flavors) are people more likely to make a purchase?

Sheena found that about 60% of people stopped for the 24 flavors over the 6 flavors of jam. But when it came to actually buying, the experiment showed the opposite. Only 3% of the people who stopped to see the 24 flavors bought, but over 30% of the people who stopped for the 6 kinds of flavors bought.

Choice overload affects us even in consequential decisions. We choose not to choose even when it is in favor of our best interest. Why? Because of 3 negative consequences:

  1. We delay the choice and procrastinate
  2. Make worse choices – financial, medical
  3. More likely to choose things that make us less satisfied

Let’s apply these studies and findings to your pharmacy business. The following four techniques can help your customers with choosing and purchasing in the store.

1. Cut

Less is more. If you are willing to cut there will be an increase in sales. By lowering the number of products, costs will lower and there will be an improvement in the choosing experience. For example, when P&G went from 26 kinds of Head and Shoulders products to 15, they saved money and increased sales by 10%.

The average grocery store offers over 45,000 products, the typical walmart offers 100,000 products and the 9th largest retailer, Aldi, offers only 1400 products.

2. Concretization

In order for people to understand the difference between the choices, they have to understand the consequences associated with each choice. And these consequences must be felt in a concrete way. For example, the average person spends up to 15% more when they use a credit card over cash because the money does not feel as real.

3. Categorization

We can handle more categories than we can choices. Think about walking down a magazine aisle. If you are given 600 magazines in 10 categories or 400 magazines in 20 categories which will make you buy? The less intimidating layout. The categories help differentiate the magazines. Customers would believe there are more choices when given 400 magazines in 20 categories.

4. Condition for Complexity

By starting off easy and gradually increasing the complexity of the buying decision, the customer learns how to choose. For example, when buying a car there are manydifferent decisions and choices to be made. By varying the choices in which they appear, you can change the buying outcome to be more favorable. Ordering high choices to low choices, consumers can get very overwhelmed and settle with a default or not buy at all. Even though the information is the same, if ordered from low to high, consumers are more likely to make all choices and purchase.

These techniques are designed to help you manage your personal choices and help your customers manage theirs. In order to make choosing easier for you and your customers, the key is to be choosy about choosing.

Based on the Ted Talk, How to Make Choosing Easier by Sheena Iyeganr.

4 Ways Independent Pharmacies Can Get More Referrals from Doctors

 There are three ways to grow your pharmacy:
  1. Increase the number of transactions
  2. Increase the frequency of transactions
  3. Increase the amount per transaction

The easiest way to increase profitablity is by tapping into your existing customer base, and increasing your customers’ frequency or amount per transaction. However, it’s always nice to attract new customers. One of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to attain a new customer in your independent pharmacy is referrals.
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