Prescriptions may be the number one reason patients come into your pharmacy (they are your most vital revenue source, after all). To maximize your pharmacy’s revenue potential even more, take advantage of the non-prescription sales opportunities available to you today.
Prescription profit margins have seen a decline in recent years. On the other hand, OTC or front-end product profit margins have remained consistent and strong. While prescriptions make up the bulk of your revenues, a good OTC sales strategy can be just as impactful to your profitability.
Through these seven easy-to-implement strategies, you can encourage patients to make non-prescription purchases and ultimately boost your pharmacy’s 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 trending. A study by Hamacher Resource Group (HRG) revealed the cold & allergy, vitamins & dietary supplements, and pain relief categories represent nearly 43% of unit sales in health and wellness.
Be sure to 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 is optimized to display merchandise that you want patients to see and buy. 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 see more traffic. Rotate products in and out of these areas and at the end-of-aisle displays to see which items result in increased sales when relocated to these highly visible locations. Test different floor areas. Move merchandise around. A little reorganization has the power to influence your patients’ purchasing decisions.
3. Train Your Pharmacy Team to Cross-Sell and Upsell
A large number of drugs dispensed can cause drug-induced nutritional deficiencies. Many of the patients that walk through your door are already buying nutritional supplements. Knowing this, you should ask yourself:
- Are they buying supplements 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, and are often not taking the correct nutrients their body needs. For example, you make $5 selling a patient a beta blocker, and then you make $15 selling them the CoQ10 his body needs to counteract drug-induced nutritional deficiencies.
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 patients are picking up.
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, thus opening the conversation to upselling. Check out the OTC Guide, which gives you specific product recommendations based on what your patients are already purchasing.
It can also be helpful to hold weekly team meetings to inform your staff of 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, check out the on-demand webinar: Outside the Vial: Improving Profitability with OTC Sales.
4. Build Strong Customer Relationships
According to HRG research, customer service is overwhelmingly rated as the most important competitive advantage. Consumers who establish good, trusted relationships with their pharmacy are more likely to return compared to when 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, 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 also need joint cream. Customers with a cold might be looking for a box of tissues. Display related products next to each other so 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 to make some changes. Updating your decor, brightening the lighting, or simply adding a fresh coat of paint can go a long way.
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?” People love a listening ear. And their feedback is just what your team needs to make necessary improvements.
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, Pharmacy Business Blueprint today to increase your profits while providing world-class healthcare.