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
How to overcome negative stereotypes often associated with compounding pharmacies
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.
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.
Dan Benamoz, RPh, President and CEO of Pharmacy Development Services, discusses the technology trends that independent pharmacists should endeavor to familiarize themselves with.
This video was recorded at Pharmacy Development Services’ 2016 Super Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Independent Pharmacy’s Competitive Advantage Over Chains
Dan Benamoz, CEO and Founder of Pharmacy Development Services, always says that the main competitive advantage independent pharmacies have over retail chains is the ability to “turn on a dime.” While chain pharmacies are mass merchandisers, independents are not and should not try to be. Instead, independents should focus on innovation.
When an independent pharmacy owner identifies the innovative new program or technology they want to implement, they should focus on getting it done as quickly as possible. According to Dan, the public perception is that independent pharmacies are behind on technology, but that should not be the case. Independents have no bureaucracy, no attorneys, and no corporate red tape to get through when a new opportunity presents itself.
Here is what Dan Benamoz said on the subject in his February 2016 interview with Pharmacy Times:
Niche is a buzzword we love here at PDS. Of course, niche typically refers to specialty services, but at PDS we see niches as opportunities to stand out and dramatically improve your bottom line. The independent pharmacy landscape has shifted dramatically in the past few years and one of the biggest changes is in how pharmacists turn a profit. Now more than ever, independent pharmacies need to identify new programs and implement them quickly to stay ahead of competition.
How will you identify profitable new niche opportunities for your pharmacy?
1. Attend industry events with an open mind.
Industry events like the PDS Super-Conference are an incredible place to source new ideas for your business. In fact, we recently received this note from pharmacy owners who attended the 2016 event in Orlando:
“Dan, I would like to thank you for opening up our eyes to think out of the box and to learn how to work smarter, not harder. You have helped us to begin to change our thinking by not looking at the smaller picture but to look at the bigger picture. We were looking at the money we were losing on a product and not at what we could make in the long run. You gave us a starting point with ideas we will put in place. We want to be an elite pharmacy to help patients no matter what ailment they may have.” -Rudy and Dawn Letellier, Waveland Pharmacy
Although the note doesn’t make it clear which specific ideas, niches and programs were most impactful to them, we’re willing to bet that the ideas Rudy and Dawn picked up at the PDS Super-Conference have the ability to improve their company culture and increase cash flow.
2. Join a community of industry leaders.
We caught up with PDS Member, Angela Stokes, who raved about the benefits of PDS Membership and talked about the importance of identifying and implementing new programs.
“I could stand here and name programs probably for an hour, that we created and absorbed, and it revolutionized our pharmacy. I don’t even know if we would be in business today if it wasn’t for what PDS gifted us with.”
PDS Members form a unified community to share ideas and learn from each other’s successes and failures. They attend numerous pharmacy-specific trainings and work with best in class Subject Matter Experts, Business Coaches and Performance Specialists to identify and implement the best new programs faster than their competitors.
Watch the video to hear what Angela had to say:
3. Tap into online resources.
At the very least, digital resources like blogs, ebooks, webinars and message boards can help you stay informed. Enter your email address on this page to subscribe to the PDS blog and receive ideas, inspiration and updates tailored to the pharmacy industry. On the Industry Message Board (PDSAdvantage), you will have the ability to connect and converse with thousands of pharmacy professionals on a daily basis.
Time and again, we hear from pharmacy owners nationwide, who say that customized services like compounding, bedside delivery and SyncRx+ are the answer to obtaining new pharmacy customers and increasing profitability.
So what are you waiting for? Download your free copy of the ebook, Generating More Pharmacy Customers with Compounding, where we reveal important findings and 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!
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.