Here at PDS, we take pride in highlighting some of our incredible solutions partners. We know these companies have the potential to revolutionize pharmacies just like yours through their products and services. We’re excited to introduce GRX Marketing; read on for their sponsored blog post about leveraging public relations to market your independent pharmacy.
One of the most common questions we get asked by our clients is, “How can I market my pharmacy without spending a lot of money?” There are multiple ways to get started, but one easy and effective method is through Public Relations (PR). A strong PR strategy consists of tactics designed to build good relations with your pharmacy’s various audiences.
- Prospective customers
- Community leaders, etc.
This medium can be used to promote products, services, staff, ideas, events and more. It does not necessarily have to be new to your pharmacy, you can promote something anytime if the general public is not aware of it, even if you added a new service six months ago, for example. PR can have a strong impact on public awareness at a much lower cost than advertising. When using Public Relations tactics, the pharmacy owner does not pay for the space or time in the media, so it is often considered more credible to the public. It’s important to note that since you are not paying for it, the media staff does have discretion on what they publish.
Writing Your Press Release
Use these tips to craft an effective and engaging piece.
- Get a strong headline. If it doesn’t catch the reporter’s eye it won’t get published. Try to keep it at 15-20 words.
- Avoid using “selling or fluff” words. Copy should be objective and informational, not promotional.
- Be concise by keeping the entire piece around 300 – 500 words.
- Include as many facts as possible and remember to keep it newsworthy.
- Using real quotes will add insight and personality to your piece.
The goal of Public Relations is to educate your audience. While you do not want to inundate the media with Press Releases, there is no harm in sending one quarterly. A good rule of thumb is to have a staff or family member read it beforehand, did they find it interesting? If they answered, “YES,” it’s a good story to send.
Power of the Internet
In the “old days,” a business owner would have to fax a Press Release to the media, hoping it would get picked up. Today, the internet has become a vital channel. Your story may not get picked up for print, but if posted to the web, it can be shared through social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), thus reaching and engaging an even larger audience. Anytime you send a Press Release, remember to alert your staff in case they are asked about the story. Additionally, you can increase your audience again by asking your team to share the story on their social media channels.
Establish Your Pharmacy as a Thought Leader
Another benefit of using public relations to market your pharmacy is that it helps build positive relationships with the local media and can help to establish your pharmacy as a health-care thought leader. A reporter may reach out to you first if a pharmacy or health-related story comes up, further increasing your exposure and positioning yourself as anexpert in the community. Any articles you are a part of can also be posted on your website and/or placed in your pharmacy for customers to read.
Be proud of your pharmacy and what you have to offer! Share it with your community, by incorporating public relations into your 2017 marketing plan.
When it comes to offering your patients the latest options in their health, wellness, and medical care, size matters. Chain pharmacies are logical places patients expect to be introduced to the latest in their personal health options because they are equipped with their expanded footprints, buying power, and national brand recognition. Though, much like mighty ships require expansive space to maneuver, so do national chain pharmacies.
Independent pharmacy owners are at a unique advantage in their ability to adapt and maneuver when they need according to where the market leads. These owners who recognize their opportunity to create for niche offerings and leverage them, elevate their pharmacies above national recognized brands.
Not sure which niches first deserve your attention? We’ve pulled together five of the juiciest underserved niches in pharmacy today, now it’s your turn to learn about and pick that low-hanging fruit.
- NICHE: Pharmacy Genomics
Pharmacogenomics, also known aspersonalized medicine, is exploding within the pharmacy industry. The ability to tailor drug therapies to a patient’s specific metabolic and DNA blue print is a hot-button innovation. Pharmacy owners are staying ahead of the curve by investing in both themselves and their staff through current research and training. Be the first pharmacy in your community to offer personalized medicine.
- NICHE: Travel Vaccines
Between packing, securing their passports, making arrangements at work, hiring pet sitters, and financial planning, most travelers put getting up-to-date on their travel vaccines on the very end of their to-do lists — if they remember them at all. This is your opportunity to promote pharmacy services that provide the most common (and even uncommon) vaccines travelers need before their big cruise, backpacking trip through Europe, or visit to their family. You’ll not only earn their business by offering them this service, but make their lives easier. They’ll appreciate not having to make an appointment with their general physician.
- NICHE: Fertility
More and more women are taking charge and control of their fertility, more specifically those who have recently been diagnosed with infertility. As these women face the emotional, physical, and mental struggle of receiving, facing, accepting, and treating their diagnosis, create a safe place in your pharmacy they can utilize as a resource. Providing the medications, supplies, and support they need as they navigate their fertility journey will make your pharmacy more than just a convenient stop on their way home – you’ll create a relationship that will last through their journey and into their pregnancies.
- NICHE: Hospital Discharges
Whether your patients are leaving the hospital with a brand new member of their family, or going home to recover from major surgery – the last thing on their mind is having to stop at their community pharmacy to pick up their new medications. Establish new relationships with patients, right when they need you the most by offering Bedside Delivery. They won’t soon forget the exceptional service they received and who provided it to them.
- NICHE: Wellness Testing
Health and wellness is no longer a trend, but a lifestyle many people are committing to. With incentives from their insurance, physicians, and even employers, your patients are health conscious and it means that you should be, too. Providing testing gives your patients access to services they could previously only obtain through their physician. Save them the additional cost of a doctor’s office copay and give them the freedom to take charge of their health.
Now you can watch the on-demand webinar 5 Niches Chain Pharmacies are Neglecting, where Dr. Lisa Faast will go deeper in why you need to implement these niches and the benefits they’ll bring to your pharmacy and community. Click below to watch.
Bedside delivery is a profitable service you can implement that will connect your independent pharmacy with new and existing patients in an effort to provide the best care possible.
Are you ready to take your Bedside Delivery program to the next level? Here are the 5 steps for successful Bedside Delivery implementation that will help get you started.
1. Research Your Hospital
Before jumping headlong into a Bedside Delivery project, you have to do your homework! As yourself questions like:
- How many beds are your local hospital?
- What specialties does it service?
- Does it have an outpatient pharmacy or does it already provide any Bedside Delivery (spoiler alert: even if they do, there is still an opportunity for you!)?
- How far away is the hospital from your pharmacy?
- What are current penalties for readmissions and where are they hurting?
2. Request a Discovery Meeting
Once you know more about your hospital and its pain points, you can set up a meeting to present to the administration about the benefits of developing a strategic relationship. They will want to see a detailed plan for your pilot phase, implementation, staff training, clearance, expansion, follow-up, and the entire workflow. You must be confident on what your pharmacy can provide and how you can help the hospital reach its readmission goals.
3. Follow-up and Persistence is Key
If your hospital is anything like the norm, you’ll have to practice your patience, be persistent, and follow-up at regular intervals to push the project forward. Most hospitals have many layers to maneuver before getting the green light, so persistence should be your main skill here. Do not become discouraged! Typical Bedside Delivery initiatives take anywhere between 1 to 2 years to get fully rolling hospital-wide, but when you’re seeing 15-20 new patients a day from an average 300 bed hospital, you’ll be glad you took Step 3 to heart.
4. Sign the Contract, Jump the Hoops
Once you wow the hospital with your presentation and persistence, you can reveal your Bedside Delivery contract. Agree on a contract detailing the services you provide and the support and access the hospital will provide. Then you can finally set your start date! Next, will come the various screenings, clearances, BAA and vendor details, and HR requirements you’ll need to execute before the hospital gives you a badge and lets you step your foot in their door to peek in the charts. Again, be persistent.
5. Begin the Pilot
It’s go time!! You’ve laid your foundation, you’ve trained your team, you’ve met with the nursing staff on the pilot unit, you’re ready! Your persistence is not done yet. Doctors and hospitals will need to be exposed to your services on a daily basis. They will become increasingly more comfortable as they realize you’re doing all the heavy lifting. Patients will appreciate you helping them transition home and your follow-up. Do a great job, and you’ll retain them, their families as well as hospital employees and their families.
Bedside Delivery is an enormous opportunity whether you have a 10 bed, 100 bed, 300 bed, or 1,000+ bed facility. You just have to know how to get started!
PDS has created a Bedside Delivery workshop that will make you the expert and teach every aspect of selling and delivering a Bedside Delivery Service in your local hospital. The next course is May 19-20, 2017, so register today! From researching profitable hospital units, to navigating how to penetrate the hospital administration — this course will ultimately let the attendee become the subject matter expert on transitions of care.
Want more information? Watch this short video from our course facilitator, Dr. Nicolette Mathey on why you shoud consider a Bedside Delivery program.
Watch Dr. Nicolette Mathey Below:
Need even more information? Download our free Bedside Delivery Guide. The next training starts soon! Visit the Bedside Delivery training page to register for the next session today!
The Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) is a trending pharmacy business tactic, with more and more owners adding the service to their repertoire. It’s an annual check up intended to update and review patient history, assess a patient’s vitals, screen them for risks and establish a list of their health care providers and medicines.
The AWV can be provided by any healthcare professional, including pharmacists, with physician approval, and is covered by Medicare B – which is great news for patients! Additionally, it is the perfect opportunity for independent pharmacies to offer value-added, relationship-building services to doctors.
According to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, in about 40% of a pharmacist’s available working time, AWV could cover $120,000 of their annual salary, making it a particularly lucrative endeavor for increasing profitability. However, surprisingly, only 11% of patients are taking advantage of the opportunity for an AWV – mostly because they haven’t been asked – making this a hugely untapped market for pharmacy businesses.
Pharmacists who invest the time and resources in setting up the clinic in a doctor’s office and proactively reaching out to existing and new patients to get them scheduled for an AWV have huge potential for increased earnings.
The numerous advantages of AWV include…
- A better understanding of patient needs
- An opportunity to update files
- Increased profits by offering ancillary services, such as diabetic shoes and pharmacogenomic testing
- And, an important check-in with your patient, guaranteed to happen at least once a year!
It’s clear Annual Wellness Visits are a pharmacy business’s secret weapon!
5 Reasons Why Annual Wellness Visits Are Pharmacy Business’ Secret Weapon
1) Gain greater involvement in patient care
An Annual Wellness Visit is an opportunity to check in with your patients. It’s a great way to keep your patient files streamlined and up-to-date, which makes offering the best standard of care to your patients that much easier.
Having this guaranteed face-time with your patients also allows your team to share new programs and opportunities with your patients efficiently, as well as ensure your patients are following proper protocol when it comes to their medications.
2) Sync your patients
AWVs are also a fantastic time to focus on getting patients who haven’t taken advantage of medication synchronization. Your team can easily make the sync set up part of the visit and even look at offering applicable patients adherence services if that’s something your pharmacy offers.
3) Implement profit chart recommendations
During the AWV, you and your patient will both be focused on the conversation about their health care needs. This is an ideal time to implement strategic switches that your team may have identified through data mining and regular use of the PDS Profit Chart.
In some cases, you may be able to recommend a switch, such as a pain cream that yields superior results for your patient’s care and is also incredibility profitable to your business.
4) Complimentary products and add-ons
Due to the general nature of the Annual Wellness Visit, you’ll receive a comprehensive picture of your patient’s up-to-date health care needs, and your patient will likely be more receptive to a conversation about supplementary products.
With this style of visit, most patients are not in a rush and will be open to talking further about their needs and potentially beneficial products from their trusted healthcare provider.For example, the AWV is a great time to speak to diabetic care patients about diabetic strips and pain creams.
5) Nurture relationships with physician partners (and grow your client base)!
Working with a local physician to offer AWV in partnership is a great way to develop and build strong doctor-pharmacist relationships.
This can be extremely valuable when it comes to requesting medication switches with physicians, as well as a valuable way to grow your business through new patient opportunities.
Additionally, working in partnership with a physician (or a few physicians for AWV services) is a good gateway into developing other mutually beneficial clinics in partnership. For example, rolling out pain clinics, diabetic clinics and flu clinics with physician partners is a great way to nurture your business and optimize your opportunities for growth.
Launching Your Annual Wellness Program
If you’re ready to offer Annual Wellness Visits in your community, chat with one of our Business Growth Advisors. They can discuss how PDS Members fast-track their success with our Clinical Services Profit Ignitor workshops and a team of Business Coaches and Performance Specialists. For more money-making and patient-focused strategies, download our eBook – The Pharmacy Business Blueprint for Massive ROI – now!
Here at PDS, we have many incredible solutions partners that have the ability to revolutionize pharmacies through their products and services. We’re so excited to share with you one of them — iMedicare. They would like to share with you the blog they wrote below about how you can join the revolution to reshape Medicare Part D. Read on!
Like PDS, iMedicare shares the same dedication and passion to helping community pharmacies win. Recently, we conducted a survey that polled 5,000+ of our pharmacy customers and discovered that many want to see real change in the industry. A change that serves the independent community, while being patient-focused. So we decided to investigate how pharmacies like you could create a profitable Medicare Part D plan.
Curious? We hoped you’d be! The following will be a thorough step-by-step plan on how to get started building your profitable Medicare Part D plan and help patients along the way:
Step 1: Start an insurance company.
All Medicare plans must have a license from the Department of Insurance (DOI) of the state they want to do business in. Each state has different requirements, the most important one being the capital and surplus requirement.Capital and surplus refers to cash in the bank (assets minus liabilities) and some states require as much as $10 million, as in the case of Iowa.Find each state’s capital requirements from the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) here.
So what do you do? You start the new insurance company in North Carolina, which has a $1.1 million capital requirement, then fill out all the forms and get a Certificate of Authority for Insurance. Next, you apply toNAICto get a risk-bearing entity code. Now, you can apply in other states as an out-of-state insurance company to get the Certificate of Authority for each state. Note: you will still need to fulfill the capital requirements for each state. So,you will need around $10 million to ensure all state requirements are satisfied.
Why would you want to apply in every state? Because more states equals more Medicare patients, and more premiums. Having a large number of patients on your plan is key to Medicare plan financials.
But here’s the real reason: Around 400,000 LIS (low income subsidy) patients lose their coverage due to plan and premium changes every year. These low income patients are auto-assigned into one of the LIS-eligible Medicare Part D plans offering a $0 premium for LIS patients. There are 6 LIS-eligible plans in each state, on average. So, if you have a LIS-eligible Part D plan, you will capture 400,000 / 6 = 66,000 new patients in your plans without doing anything – simply due to the way the system works. Let me say this again:
If you have a plan with a premium below the benchmark in all 50 states, you will automatically get 66,000 Medicare patients on your plan each year.
But before you get too excited, you must start a Part D plan and go through the Center of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) application process. There’s an important CMS rule to be aware of: In the2014 Final CMS Rule, CMS introduced the requirement thatall new Medicare plans must have 2 years of experience in health insurance OR 5 years of experience as a PBM for health insurance.
This CMS rule makes it much harder for new plans to enter the market. You have 2 choices:
- Run your new health insurance company for 2 years before applying to CMS.
(i.e., offer Medicare Supplement plans)
- Buy a failing insurance company with 2 years of experience.
Based on our research, the buying route seems to be the preferred method for many companies.
- Ascension Health (a hospital system) bought a small Health Insurer in February of 2015 for $50 million.Click here for press release.
- Symphonix, now a national Medicare Part D plan, acquired Vista Health for around the same amount.Click here for details of the deal.
The most cost-effective option is to buy aninsurance shell company. These companies go for about $80,000 per state license (that’s about $4 million for 50 states). This does not include the capital and surplus, soyou are looking at a minimum investment of $14 million. The risk with these transactions is the unknown liabilities they bring from previous insurance policies they may have used in the past. While there are some preventive measures to minimize this, trust is a big factor in these transactions.
Step 2: Hire a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM)
While the health insurance company has the licenses, the name, marketing, and contract with CMS, the day-to-day operations of a Part D plan are done by a pharmacy benefit manager.
PBMs do the work behind the scenes. PBMs create and administer the plan formularies, pharmacy networks, rebates, reimbursements, enrollments, phone calls, prescription claims processing, reporting to CMS, and compliance.
You may be tempted to start your own PBM, but it is unlikely that you can comply with all the CMS requirements your first few years.Others have tried, and failed:
By freezing all new enrollments, CMS can put any plan out of business with a stroke of a pen.
To hire a large PBM for all the functions above, you will likely have to pay a signup credit of a few hundred thousand, and then $10-$15 per member per month (PMPM). Or you can get a smaller PBM for $4-$5 PMPM.
Besides the PBM cost, you will need to spend an additional $550k per year: Actuary ($100k), a lawyer ($100k), CMS consultants ($100k), and a Statuary Accountant required on staff full-time ($250k)
Step 3: Create a business plan for your Part D plan
Every year, Medicare plans place a bid on the premium for their plan. For 2017, the average premium was $35.63/month.Click here for the CMS announcement.
CMS subsidizes the premium with an additional $25.45/month per patient, depending on the health risk score of each patient. Moreover, CMS covers 80% of the costs in the Catastrophic phase through what is called “Federal Reinsurance,” which will be around $70 in 2017, judging from theMillimanandKaiser Family Foundationreports. So, added up,Part D plans will receive over $1,500 per member in 2017.
Then there’s DIR. Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR), refers to rebates and fees from manufacturers and pharmacies that the PBM negotiates on the plan’s behalf.From 2012 to 2015, DIR has increased from $10 billion to 23 billionaccording to a recent CMS factsheet.The same study shows that DIRs lower the plan’s liability from $1,077 to $666 per member per year (PMPY).
A Part D Plan’s gross profit is $1,500 – $666 = $834 PMPY. PBMs take at most $180 PMPY. Other G&A expenses such as compliance, IT, rent, employees take another $216 PMPY.So the EBITDA of a Medicare Part D plan comes to around $438 per member per year.
So given the $438 in profit per member per year, what do we need to make this a reality?
- Q: First, how many enrollments do you need to make a Part D plan profitable?
A: Depends on the expenses to win an enrollment. With $0 marketing expenses, 100,000 enrollments would put a plan definitively in the black. By pricing the plan premium below the low income benchmark (as we discussed in the last article), your national Medicare Part D plan will receive ~60,000 enrollments automatically from the low-income patients auto-assigned in a plan each year across all 50 states. However, for a Part D plan to truly win the market, it will need closer to 1 million enrollments.
- Q: How does the competition get enrollments?
A: Some Part D plans price their premium below profitability in order to beat the competition. Other plans use insurance brokers to drive enrollments. The commission for these enrollments are around $28 per patient per year for a Part D plan, and ~$400 for a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Q: How can a start-up plan beat the competition?
A: One of the best ways is by partnering with pharmacies.
A start-up plan can partner with pharmacies in each community to drive down patient costs. By lowering patient costs, the Medicare Plan would surpass any other plan’s profitability, and have a key stakeholder in each community.
- Q: Why would pharmacies partner with a Part D Plan?
A: Because pharmacies would have ownership in the Medicare Plan entity.
Hence, the best way for a new Medicare Plan to succeed is if pharmacies themselves own the majority of the new entity.
To make this collective plan a reality, pledge below.
The moment $50 million in pledges is reached, iMedicare will help with the plan setup, to help make pharmacies a real player in the insurance market.
Let’s take a look at your pharmacy marketing.
Are you implementing the foundations of marketing to drive traffic through your door? If you’re like most independent pharmacy owners, you don’t have a fancy marketing team for implementation. In fact, most pharmacies have limited time, money or resources for marketing. That is where most owners give up and focus solely on clinical solutions (which is a mistake, ask me why here or in the comments below!). But since you’re reading this blog, you’re not like most owners, are you?
The need for a dedicated marketing team is a myth. Sure, it’s nice, but you already have the right people on your team, you just have to put the process in place. Now that you know you have the manpower, how do you get access to the right processes and profit strategies?
PDS members have unique access to our member training courses, one of which is Marketing 360. This is a live class taught by PDS pharmacy marketing and business experts, Dr. Lisa Faast (me) and Lisa Baker. We both have an extensive background in marketing specifically for the independent pharmacy industry.
This course shows indepenedent pharmacies how to:
- Build the right team within your pharmacy
- Create anactionable strategy
- Focus on target audiences
- Leverage marketing tools that will optimize your existing efforts
- Infuse the marketing angle on all the PDS profit strategies
- Eliminate the trail and error of developing a marketing plan for your pharmacy.
PDS members who take this course start driving traffic to their pharmacy — fast.
Not a PDS member? Don’t worry, not everyone can be perfect! But you can chat with us about joining if you want to see the same incredible results in your pharmacy. (Just in case you’re wondering… we’re not making this stuff up.)
Watch the video below as Dr. Lisa Faast, PDS’ resident pharmacy expert and VP of Marketing, shows you how to easily get started on your dream marketing plan.
Now is the time to start establishing the supporting tactics for the 2017 strategies you’re implementing. We know that you have limited time, money or resources for marketing. So use yours more efficiently by becoming laser-focused on your marketing efforts.
The next session of Marketing 360 begins on March 30, 2017 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Here’s how you can attend:
Approximately 20,000 independent pharmacies are operating in the U.S. today, and all are facing fierce competition ready to knock them out of the game. The resources and budgets of independents can’t compare to those of a multi-million dollar retail pharmacy, so independents have to get ‘creative’ by harnessing the talents and providing professional development, for everyone on their team.
A new wave of indie pharmacy owners are working to dispel the notion that they are a dated and dying breed of healthcare providers. Here are a few reasons why your local store is the place to visit for your healthcare needs.
- Indie Pioneer: Hashim Zaibak, owner of Hayat Pharmacy, saw the opportunity to save their patients money by providing a low-cost epinephrine pen alternative. This safe and comparable option to an expensive life-saving medication helped uninsured patients when retail giants could not.
- Indie Pioneer: Patient Synchronization (SyncRx) isn’t a new program to the pharmacy industry, but Jason Turner of Moundsville Pharmacy recognized how valuable it could be to patients with complex medication regimens. He developed a Medication Therapy Management (MTM) component which allowed his team to provide OTC solutions for patients suffering medication side effects. Jason changed the game by providing personalized patient solutions.
Your community pharmacy is your local health care destination. No one has the knowledge and latitute to address community health care needs like your local pharmacy. Many have community-centered programs that are beneficial to anyone such as wellness clinics, immunization programs, and disease testing and education.
The end all, be all goal of independent pharmacies is successful patient outcomes.
Your Roadmap is Waiting
When you attend our Super-Conference, you’ll notice that one of our beloved traditions is to recognize the PDS members who have shaken the ground in their success in the last year. These are pharmacy owners who, in one short year, have claimed their success over a variety of struggles. Be it cashflow issues, cultural deficits, financial decline, stagnation — you name it, these owners have come out on top.
Have you ever wondered how successful pharmacy owners have managed to bet against the house and win? Well, we have your roadmap, and it’s easier that you think! You just have to come and sit at the table.
Hundreds of your peers can attest to the success they’ve achieved. We have proof in what your peers are saying and in hard numbers. This is the real deal and we have a guarantee to back it.
If you want to learn more about the PDS Super-Conference, watch the video below as our very own Nicolette Mathey, PharmD and Pharmacy Expert shows real success from real pharmacists… and how their success is your gain!
Watch the video below!
The PDS Super-Conference is the pharmacy event of the year that is guaranteed to change the way you run your business. Join us for the next event in February! Click below for details.
What if we told you it’s possible to thrive during this holiday bustle?
This year’s busy retail season is crazier than ever, and you may be wondering how you will survive Christmas 2016. We know firsthand that major shifts in customer volume and stock shortages are hard to predict. Nevertheless, we want to assist you in taking care of the things that you can control. And, to help you eliminate stress and make sure your operations run smoothly, we created a simple list of practical tips that will help prepare your pharmacy to thrive through the New Year.
- Make sure your shelves are properly stocked, so customers who come in to purchase specific items don’t have to wait in the long lines just to ask if you have more. On the flip side, avoid packing shelves with too much merchandise: displaying fewer items creates the sense of urgency and motivates customers to buy while supplies last.
- Place products strategically throughout the store to maximize sales. Get creative – prepare a speedy recovery kit: tissue paper, hand sanitizer and cold medicine – and display it next to the checkout line or in the areas where customers are waiting on their prescriptions. This will help sell individual items faster, and your patients will know that you care. Eager to introduce new items or promote existing merchandise? Display themnext to your holiday best sellers for more visibility and they won’t go unnoticed.
- Organize selling floor and supply areas so additional merchandise is readily available for quick restocking, especially during rush hours and after store closing. The last thing you want to do is to spend time trying to hunt down a specific product, especially while your customer is waiting.
- Consider extending holiday hours these last few days of 2016. Everyone is busy and your time-crunched customers will appreciate the convenience of having an extra hour of uninterrupted shopping. There should be nothing more important than serving your customers.
- Evaluate last year’s holiday sales to plan and effectively organize staff: reports that are available in your POS system may provide an insight on customer count for a specific time frame, allowing you to quickly identify peak retail shopping hours and schedule more employees for when you need them. Slack times may also be leveraged with preassigned projects: for example, frontline employees who normally run cash registers can help organize shelves and clean the floor during less busy hours.
- Prepare your staff: for some of your employees this may be their first retail season. Working through holiday hassle and bustle can be overwhelming, so make sure your team understands the responsibilities and has all available resources to effectively prioritize and complete tasks.
- Use sales games as positive reinforcement to reward your staff when they practice higher level selling skills. For example, if the average items per sale in your store is 2.27 items, you should reward them for higher results – like selling 4 or more items to a single customer or achieving a daily average of 3 items per sale or more. To hit those goals, they will have to try harder at adding-on with every customer. The key to making games work for your employees is to make them fun!
We hope that our holiday tips will help you bring down stress levels, boost morale and spread cheer and joy among your team members and patients!
What are your best practices this Holiday Season? Let us know in the comments…
Interested in acquiring more out-of-the box ideas that will diversify your pharmacy?
Whether your goal is to skyrocket your profits, become a stronger leader, increase organizational efficiency or protect your assets, we invite you to join the industry’s movers and shakers (just like you!) at the PDS All Star Super-Conference. Join us for the next event in February! Click below for details.
Millennials, defined as those born between the early 1980’s and 2000, are an extremely brand-loyal generation. Developing relationships with this demographic should be a major goal for your pharmacy. One of the best ways to gain the business of this 80-million member group is to gain their trust. You will be well on your way to securing millennial supporters if you adhere to these six easy tips:
Maintain an Authoritative Online Presence
Their ability to find information about you and your products is crucial. If you offer a service at your pharmacy, like a medication synchronization program, put it on your website and publicize it. Millennials did not learn computers and internet skills later in life like older generations – internet access is all they have ever known. They are the first generation to grow up in a digital world and simply will not trust a business without a quality website and reasonable social media engagement.
Engage with Them
It’s not enough to just have a website and social media accounts. They want to engage with brands on social networks. 62% of millennials say that if a brand interacts with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. This obviously requires more labor on your part, but will be well worth it when your business expands as a result.
Don’t Ignore Their Complaints
Some sociologists refer to the millennials as an entitled generation. What this means for your pharmacy is that ignoring their feelings is a sure way to lose their business. When problems develop, do not avoid them, make excuses or place blame. You should immediately fix the issue. In a millennial’s eyes, the customer is always right and keeping them happy is your responsibility.
Never Misrepresent a Product or Service
Remember, this is the group of people most likely to engage with their peer group over social media. Never misrepresent the features, advantages and benefits of a product or promise anything you can’t deliver. One millennial who feels they have been lied to can easily alert hundreds or even thousands of others within seconds, which will cause big problems for you. On the other hand, millennials can serve as irreplaceable ambassadors if they are happy with your business.
Let Them Help You Plan
Millennial customers are the future, so why not let them help plan that future? When determining upcoming services or goals, let a group of millennials help you decide on the next big steps. In a Forbes survey, 42% said they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services. Typically, companies create products and hope that their target market will consume them. Millennials don’t like this traditional mindset – they want to be involved with products from the beginning of development. If your pharmacy enables them to be part of your brainstorming, the whole process will be more successful.
Donate or Volunteer Locally
Millennials want to stay loyal to a brand that gives back to society. In the same Forbes survey, 75% said that it’s at least somewhat important that a company gives back instead of just making a profit. Millennials love brands that support their local communities and would rather purchase from them than corporate competitors. Your pharmacy can do this easily by rolling out a free children’s vitamin program or other services to benefit underprivileged youth.
If you want to build trust and credibility with your Millennial customers and hold on to them for life, you can easily get started today by watching our free webinar, 5 Ways to Attract, Engage, & Delight Millennials.