For most independent pharmacy business owners, it often feels as if small changes in daily activities could rarely contribute to a substantial increase in pharmacy profitability.
Your team spends countless hours every day filling scripts, restocking shelves, staying up-to-date on inventory orders, offering your patients premium care, and if you’re really on top of your game, syncing patients.
Most pharmacy owners feel as if they don’t have a spare moment, let alone an hour for a new project. Spending 60 minutes, every day, analyzing your dispensing data can drastically improve your pharmacy’s gross profit margin per prescription. Read on to learn the first three steps toward improving pharmacy profitability by analyzing your dispensing data.
Make an impact on your bottom line with RxAnalytics
Greg, a Utah-based PDS member, and pharmacy owner increased his gross margin by 5% in a few short months when he started the program. The result? His team was able to add almost $400,000 to their annual profit by analyzing their pharmacy’s dispensing data. Read more stories like his here! This strategy is not only a great way to increase your pharmacy profitability, but it also ensures your patients are receiving the best possible medications for their needs.
What does it mean to analyze dispensing data?
Data analysis is a new way of thinking and looking at your business using PDS’ proprietary software, RxAnalytics. There is a wealth of information at your fingertips and most likely it goes unused every day. A part of this strategy is running daily reports on your existing patient database to identify profit-driven opportunities within your pharmacy business. For example, a simple, doctor-approved switch from one low-profit drug to one in the same drug class, but with a higher margin, can increase your profits every month that patient is on the prescription, and often lead to fewer side effects.
Step 1: Running Reports Daily
You probably already know what your volume is on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The fact of the matter is that you’re focusing on the wrong metric! Pharmacy owners need to concentrate on their gross profit per prescription.
PDS members utilize the PDS Profit Chart to identify exact therapeutic optimization switches, and working with Profit Gurus to identify opportunities specific to their pharmacy; enabling the creation of pharmacy systems that allow their teams to find more of that type of business. It’s about working smarter, not harder, and focusing your efforts to earn more from your existing patients. However, you’ll also start to identify trends which is the next step in this strategy.
Step 2: Identifying Dispensing Trends and Profit Opportunities
Daily reports help owners to identify commonalities in your customer database, which is critical to optimizing your pharmacy profitability.
For example, look to identify a number of patients that suffer from the same ailment who are registered with the same insurance provider. Half the patients may have been prescribed medication A, while the other half have been prescribed medication B. If medication B pays out significantly higher and is known to produce better results, it’s worth attempting to switch the first group over to medication B from medication A.
Typically, you or a key employee can assess opportunities either by looking at disease-based or prescription-based pathways. It’s best to check both pathways regularly, and once you’ve identified a strong opportunity to improve patient care and profitability, you want to move on to Step 3 – Replicating Your Success.
Step 3: Replicating Your Success – Dispense and Repeat
When a profitability opportunity identified, the most efficient way to benefit from the discovery is by identifying all candidates within your database that meet the same criteria.
For example, rather than identifying one patient who should be switched from medication A to medication B. Identify all your patients that meet the same criteria and work on switches across the board for maximum profitability.
Getting Results With RxAnalytics
After running your reports to identify opportunities and analyzing trends, you will be ready to work toward increasing profitability with strategic medication switches. Your team will be in an excellent position to reach out to patients with recommendations for better medications, supplementary products, programs and services that will both improve patient care and increase revenue.
RxAnalytics is arguably the most impactful change you can make when it comes to your pharmacy business profitability and the change can easily be executed in an hour a day. If you’d like to learn more ideas for increasing your profits, download our eBook: Pharmacy Business Blueprint for Massive ROI where we outline three proven tactics that help owners get out of the profitability rat race while providing world-class healthcare to patients.
Three Game-Changing Business Strategies to Achieve Massive ROI in Your Pharmacy Business!
Have you been struggling to create the pharmacy business you once dreamed of as a staff pharmacist?
Battling to get through another year just to stay afloat?
Are you asking yourself, ‘How are other owners expanding and sparking growth?’
We operate in an industry full of questions and unknowns, and many are seeking the same answers and opportunities you are; business strategies that increase profitability without sacrificing patient healthcare.
When we put the question to our team of experts (including bankers, business coaches, corporate executives, marketers, pharmacy owners, and trainers!) about which pharmacy-specific growth tactics are worth it and which ones flop, they all said the same thing – focus on profitability and data.
Download our new blueprint for pharmacy business owners who want to provide world-class healthcare AND boost your pharmacy profits.
We repeat – if you want to see massive ROI this year – follow the profit!
- Get proactive.
- Don’t wait for business to come to you – go out and get it.
- Look for the business initiatives that are the most profitable.
Jumpstart Your Pharmacy Business Roi, It’s as Easy as 1,2,3.
- Leverage Your Dispensing Data – Create opportunities by analyzing your existing database while identifying and anticipating patient needs.
- Attracting the Most Lucrative Customers – Get rich by maximizing the opportunities that serve the needs of your best customers.
- Leveraging Strategic Partnerships – The more you connect with like-minded peers, the greater your own success will be.
While many independent pharmacies operate with the majority of their patients yielding $10 prescriptions, the most successful owners know that they can tap into their same database to yield hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in prescriptions every month. You can apply this same strategy to your pharmacy, too!
If you’re ready to stop focusing on obstacles that are beyond your control, like low-paying insurance providers, download our newest eBook – The Pharmacy Business Blueprint for Massive ROI – now! Or, to see results even quicker, chat with one of our Account Executives. Tell us how we can help you.
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.
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.
The team at RxSafe, the Grand Event Sponsor at the 2017 PDS All-Star Super Conference, walks into the office every day with one goal in mind: to streamline retail pharmacy workflows and inventory management.
Today we share a pharmacy automation case study featuring RxSafe customer Jana Bennett, owner and pharmacist at Medicine Shoppe 0708, and her path from being understaffed to more efficient without hiring a new technician.
Meet Jana Bennett: RxSafe 1800 Customer
Medicine Shoppe 0708 is a pharmacy in Sherman, Texas that is dedicated to friendly, personalized service. The owner and pharmacist, Jana Bennett, is committed to providing accessible and helpful service to customers. She practices the philosophy of treating all customers like they were family.
The pharmacy processes between 375 and 600 scripts per day and primarily serves customers who are 65 and older.
Her Pharmacy’s Challenge
Prior to installing the RxSafe 1800, Medicine Shoppe 0708 was growing quickly and considering hiring more employees in order to get the work done. However, they knew that hiring new employees can sometimes be a challenge and the amount of time needed to manage those resources, substantial.
They were also concerned about internal and external security. The pharmacy previously had two employees who were stealing controlled substances. They had also been burglarized recently. Additionally, in order to better serve their customers, they saw the need to increase efficiency and reduce any chance of human error related to filling.
Finding a Solution
Medicine Shoppe 0708 purchased the RxSafe 1800 after thoroughly researching the competition.
“The competitors only handle the top 200 medications, but we wanted something that would hold and manage all of our inventory,” says Jana Bennett. “The RxSafe 1800 could handle 80% of our volume and the payment was less than hiring another technician. We thought about automation but didn’t think we could afford it. RxSafe changed our mind.”
- Payroll reduction. Significantly increased the volume of prescriptions processed without increasing employee count. Offers the ability to grow significantly without adding any more payroll. “We’ve been able to grow a lot without increasing payroll. Our payroll was 9 percent before, after installing the RxSafe it’s at 7.3 percent.”
- Internal and external security. Secure storage and tracking of drugs prevents theft and diversion. “RxSafe has saved me a lot of mental anguish knowing that I can look at a drug and identify everyone who’s interacted with it. I can tell you in five minutes who has touched any drug.”
- Increased efficiency and reduced error rate. Increased efficiency by removing bottlenecks, accurately tracking all drugs and eliminating filling errors. “RxSafe has eliminated the frustration of trying to locate a bottle—you always know where every drug is.”
- Inventory management. Reduction in physical inventory time and audit process. Eliminates the need to do audit counts. RxSafe does audit counts and transfers the data to the pharmacy management software system. “We’ve been able to increase our inventory turns. Now our average inventory turn rate is between 13-14, before it was around 11.”
- Workflow. Significant reduction in technician’s walking, searching and returning time. “Our employees are happier because the workflow is smoother, it saves a lot of time with put-away, the workspace isn’t cluttered, it’s the same process every time for every script.”
About Medicine Shoppe (MS0708)
The Medicine Shoppe pharmacy was established in 1968 by a pharmacist whose mission was to bring to his community a pharmacy that was both dedicated to personalized service and managed by the pharmacist. Medicine Shoppe International, Inc. (MSI), a Cardinal Health Company, is still distinguished by its commitment to providing expert, personalized health care. MSI is one of the largest franchisors of independent community pharmacies in the U.S. with over 500 Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy locations across the United States, and more than 200 international pharmacies.
Connect with RxSafe!
To learn more about RxSafe and their cutting-edge pharmacy automation technology, go to www.RxSafe.com. Also plan to stop by their booth #100 at the 2017 PDS All-Star Super Conference in February in Orlando, Florida.
When you partner with organizations such as Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) and Live Oak Bank, you are choosing to do what it takes to win in an unfair game. You no longer have to make due with whatever prescriptions come through the door. If you know where to look there are countless opportunities to make a substantial profit in your independent pharmacy. Continue reading “Busier or More Profitable: Which Would You Rather Be?”
In light of recent price increases of the life-saving device, Epi-pen, there are discussions happenings throughout the media and across industry message boards about lower cost or generic alternatives available to consumers. This situation puts independent pharmacies, as healthcare destinations, in a unique position to offer patients valuable information on Epi-Pen alternatives.
Patients that are lucky enough to have health insurance that covers the cost will likely never see the significant price increase, but those without coverage may have trouble affording $600-$650 prices of the Epi-pen. If a cash paying patient comes in and asks about alternatives or the reimbursement information for Epi-pen you have a few different options you can share.
- Anaphylaxis Kit – This is a much cheaper alternative to auto-injectors, but the patient should receive a thorough consultation on how to properly use the kit, as this is an injection and vial solution. This will cost the patient about $35-$45 dollars.
- Put the following items in a 5x1x3 box:
- 1 ml Adrenaline 1mg/ml
- 1 ml BD syringe
- 25g 1 inch needle
- Sterile alcohol swab
- Directions: For Anaphylaxis 0.3 to 0.5 mg (0.3 to 0.5 ml) undiluted. Administer the injection intramuscularly (IM) or subcutaneously and repeat every 5 to 10 minutes as necessary.
- Put the following items in a 5x1x3 box:
- Epi-pen Savings Card – Some patients may be eligible for the savings program offered by Mylan, but there are restrictions, and the patient will have to fill out a form to determine assistance eligibility.
- Adrena-click – This is a slightly lower-cost alternative, though not by much. The drug comes in 0.15 mg and 0.3 mg doses, similar to Epi-pen, but the switch has to be prescribed by the doctor and operating this brand is different from the Epi-pen so ensure your patient understands how the device works before they are in an emergency situation. Additionally, this is only recognized in a few states, for the time being, so you may not have this option for patients.
Patients may feel that there are no options available to them, but this is where independent pharmacies have the opportunity to step up and bring value to the community. By making your pharmacy a healthcare destination, building a sense of reliability, and providing excellent customer service — you are creating an ambassador for your store. If someone was able to save you hundreds of dollars on a life-saving drug needed for yourself or your child and invested the time to show you how to use it, wouldn’t you continue to come back for other health care needs?
PDSAdvantage is a web-based app that allows pharmacy owners and employees to engage in one place. Our exclusive message board connects you with a network of pharmacy professionals from across the nation discussing everything from relevant industry topics and training to current events and ideas to help your store succeed. Click below to get your pharmacy team signed up for PDSAdvantage.
Improve Pharmacy Profitability
The average independent pharmacy operates on very thin profit margins, forcing owners to reevaluate ways to keep costs low and profits high on a regular basis. Not knowing where to look first can be frustrating and overwhelming. Here are the three methods of improving your pharmacy profitability you should regularly assess in your business.
How to Buy Smarter with Pharmacy Wholesalers
Typically, a single wholesaler will not meet all of your purchasing needs nor provide the best pricing for all prescription purchases. A good way to avoid relying on one wholesaler and putting your already thin profit margins at risk, is to have several secondary suppliers as a point of comparison. Taking advantage of the Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) industry-exclusive message board in PDS Advantage will enable you to get peer recommendations, insights and customer service feedback, before making commitments.
Know Your ‘Top 20’ Prescribers
Not all prescribers are created equal so ramping up your profits should start with identifying your most profitable prescribers. A deep dive into your data will show you which prescribers are moving the profit needle, and which ones keep you busy behind the proverbial bench. Prescribers may land on your list for a number of reasons, but volume should not be one of them. Once you have identified key providers, start implementing ways to stay top of mind by providing value-added services and exceptional customer service to keep the referrals coming in your door.
An often overlooked way to increase your pharmacy’s profitability is to ensure you are recouping the maximum on insurance reimbursement claims. There are three strategies every pharmacy should implement and enforce to remain confident that you are not leaving any profits on the table.
- Regularly update U&C price points — This information is critical to setting an accurate cash price for prescriptions and receiving the maximum on insurance reimbursements. It should be standard operating procedure to examine your switch data to identify claims that paid at U&C.
- Ensure accuracy with DAW claim codes — Incorrect coding can result in the accrual of significant losses. Train your team to be attentive when submitting DAW codes, because not doing so will negatively affect the profitability and efficiency of your pharmacy; the reimbursements will be inaccurate; the pharmacy will lose time over claim resubmissions and misinformation on claims may trigger the most dreaded consequence — a pharmacy audit.
- Consistently update AWP information — Pricing and reimbursements models are still largely based on AWP, and ‘bad data’ leads to inaccuracies that affect profits. Pharmacy owners should make sure their software is updated daily with the latest pricing information. Many third parties lag in their updating of AWP, which will mean a pharmacy will have to invest time to reverse and resubmit claims to capture lost profit.
Independent pharmacy owners often believe they cannot impact their pharmacy profitability. However, the strategies above can result in thousands of dollars in profits each month. Yet, most pharmacies haven’t changed the management of prescriptions and processes in years. If you are waiting for prescriptions to come in the door, dealing with inventory and purchasing headaches and finding little time to implement new initiatives or improve your current processes..you are doing it wrong!
Running a reactive pharmacy is ineffective and killing your bottom line…but there is a better way! SyncRx Plus is a program that incorporates the traditional synchronization adherence model and with an added MTM component. The implementation of this program will improve your pharmacy’s profitability through data mining, improved quality measures, workflow efficiency and by leveraging your third-party contracts.
What is missing from your business strategy for your independent pharmacy? Unless you are regularly leveraging your dispensing data, the answer is — a lot.
Simply increasing prescription volume isn’t the answer. Quantity does not always equal quality. In today’s industry, the most successful and profitable pharmacy owners are using their pharmacy data to make laser-focused business decisions. Understanding where your profits are coming from, such as the profitable prescribers, empowers you, the independent pharmacy owner, to hone a sharp competitive edge you may not have known existed.
There is an incredible amount of data at your fingertips. When applied to make informed business decisions, you can improve how you and your team engage with key customers, build strong prescriber relationships, optimize patient outcomes, and increase pharmacy profitability.
So, where do you start?Continue Reading
Prescriptions may be the number one reason patients come into your pharmacy (not to mention a vital revenue source!), but it’s imperative for your business to boost non-prescription sales as well.
In recent years, the profit margins of prescriptions across the industry have been dropping while margins for OTC or front-end products remain consistent and strong. This merchandise can be an important source of revenue and maximizing your retail sales are just as important in your profitability as selling prescribed medications.
Below are seven strategic ways to entice patients to make non-prescription purchases and ultimately boost your pharmacy revenue.
1. Do Your Market Research
Just because you like a particular product, doesn’t mean everyone else does too. Don’t rely on your intuition to figure out the best ways to grow your non-prescription sales. Review data and research to determine which over-the-counter and retail products are hot. A study by Hamacher Resource Group (HRG) found that pharmacists assumed that diabetes products ranked as the fourth most-shopped non-prescription category, but point-of-sale data revealed that diabetes products actually ranked 15th.
Also, review your sales figures to see which product categories are most popular with your customers and take steps to make these products easier to locate in your pharmacy.
2. Use Your Pharmacy’s Floor Plan to Your Advantage
An effective pharmacy layout will display your merchandise to optimize sales. Some areas of your pharmacy probably receive more foot traffic than others. For example, areas next to the prescription counter and aisles leading to the checkout registers tend to be higher in traffic. Rotate products in and out of these areas and at the end-of-aisle displays to determine which items see increased sales in these highly visible locations. Testing different floor areas will give you a good idea about where your pharmacy’s prime real estate is located. Moving merchandise around will also help keep your store fresh and current for your customers.
3. Train Your Pharmacy Team to Cross-Sell and Upsell
As a pharmacist, you know that a large number of drugs dispensed have the potential of causing drug-induced nutritional deficiencies. Many of the patients that walk through your door are already buying nutrients. Knowing this, the questions you should ask yourself are:
- Are they buying them from your pharmacy?
- Are they buying quality supplements that are beneficial to their health?
Upselling nutrient depletion supplements is a win-win. Patients who are buying supplements elsewhere don’t normally consult a pharmacist at the time of purchase, so are oftentimes not taking the correct nutrients their body needs with drug-induce depletion. For example, you make $5 selling a patient a beta blocker, and then you make $15 selling them the CoQ10 his body needs to have because of that drug.
Your pharmacy team is key to this “UpSolutions” strategy. Train them to build relationships with customers and make relevant product suggestions based off the drugs they are prescribed.
This can also work for any product you sell in your store. Coach your team to be helpful and ask customers what products they are looking for so they can easily find it and this can open the conversation to upselling.
It can also be helpful to hold weekly team meetings to inform your staff what inventory needs to be moved, marked down or removed.
Idea: Hold a contest and reward staff members that upsell the most products each month. For more information on upselling non-prescription products please read our blog post, 7 Ways to Upsell Your Pharmacy Customers
4. Build Strong Customer Relationships
According to HRG research, consumers who have established good, trusted relationships with their pharmacy are more likely to return compared to visiting stores where they don’t have a personal connection. Your talented team is capable of creating an atmosphere of comfort and trust so be sure to train them to engage with customers and establish personal relationships whenever possible. .Guide your staff to recognize repeat customers and greet them by their first name or ask questions about their families, work or pets. Everyone appreciates a personal touch.
5. Stock Related Products Closely
Knowing how products relate to each other can help your pharmacy increase retail sales. For example, people who are looking for a knee brace may find it helpful to also purchase joint cream or customers with a cold might be looking for a box of tissues. Display related products next to each other, so your customers can easily find what they are looking for. Don’t forget to use your pharmacy floor plan to help you determine how to position related products for maximum sales impact!
6. Be Your Own Secret Shopper
Forget everything you know about your pharmacy and walk through the doors as a secret shopper. Walk the aisles with a fresh eye and ask yourself if things look inviting. Would you continue to shop in this store? If you are hesitant, it may be time for some changes. Updating your decor, brightening the lighting, or adding a fresh coat of paint will go a long way in providing your customers with a pleasant shopping experience. We give some more simple tips on how to refresh your pharmacy here.
7. Pharmacy Customer Service That Sizzles
It doesn’t matter if you run a pharmacy or a ditch-digging company, everything begins and ends with customer service. Offering truly exceptional service is one of the best ways you can boost merchandise sales at your pharmacy. Ask the question, “Is there something we could do to improve your shopping experience and if so, what would it be?” This not only shows that you care what they think, but also allows you to get direct feedback to inform your team and implement changes.
A pharmacy is so much more than just a place to fill prescriptions. It’s a place where people can find convenience products, supplements, food, souvenirs and other household items. Knowing the most effective ways to increase sales of these items will pay off with a healthy bottom-line for your independent pharmacy.
Looking for more ways to drive your most lucrative patients to your door? Download our free eBook, The Pharmacy Business Blueprint For Massive ROI today to increase your profits while providing world-class healthcare.