Friday, June 9, 2017

8 Easy Ways Independent Pharmacies Can Increase Profits

If you own a pharmacy, you have your share of challenges and concerns.
The current insurance landscape is volatile and unpredictable, which makes it hard for you to know what reimbursements to expect. Plus, wholesale prices for brands and generics have risen to unprecedented levels.
The bottom line is, It’s hard to predict your bottom line (so to speak). Needless to say, every business owner wants to boost profits, but independent pharmacies need it more than ever.
Here’s the good news. A lot of independent pharmacies around the country have figured out simple and creative ways to boost profits and attract new clientele.
In this post we’ll show you 8 simple tips and ideas your pharmacy can implement right now to boost profits.
Use Your Size As A Strength
To be sure, large chains have certain advantages. But as a local neighborhood pharmacy, you’ve got an edge in key areas, such as the flexibility to try new things, and the ability to offer a personal touch, which large chains simply cannot compete with, because they don’t comply with the rigid sets of rules they need to follow.
Smart pharmacy owners are finding lots of ways to increase profits, so they can compensate for the growing challenges they face.

Here is a countdown of the “Top 8 Ways” you can improve your pharmacy’s bottom line:

  1. Lots of personal attention. Customers frequently have questions and concerns about prescriptions, drug interactions, side effects, insurance coverage, and more. By taking the time to answer questions and resolve their concerns, you’ll build rapport and trust, and create a pleasant experience. That gives customers a reason to come back, and refer you to friends and family.
  2. Home delivery. We live in an “Amazon” world, where making shopping convenient–by eliminating the actual shopping–can be very attractive, especially for sick and elderly customers. Plus, customers are usually willing to pay a delivery fee, making this a “double whammy”– an added perk for customers, and a new source of revenue for you.
  3. Focus on the front-end experience. No pharmacy these days can profit on drugs alone. The more appealing you make the shopping experience for non-pharmaceutical products, the more sales you’ll generate. Imagine that you’re a customer walking through your store, and see how it feels. You may notice that the layout can be more logical, and product placement can be neater, more organized, and easier to find things. Make sure everything is fully-stocked and in the right section. Place similar products close to each other, so it’s easy for shoppers to compare. And keep seasonal items front and center, for maximum sales.
  4. Hire staff members who add value. The right employees can be the difference between a good pharmacy and a stellar one. Paying more for quality personnel may be worth the investment. They can offer customers the “red-carpet” treatment, like calling doctors’ offices when needed, and working out confusing insurance and billing issues. Staff members can also improve customer engagement, and even be trained to recommend products and upsells, and “push” items with higher margins, to create instant profitability, and pay for themselves.
  5. Take advantage of technology (you don’t need to be tech-savvy). You can use smartphones and other common devices to create a super convenient experience for customers. Send text message alerts when prescriptions are ready, email blasts about sales and promotions, and offer automated refills. These little perks can have a massive impact on customer satisfaction…and your bottom line.
  6. Additional healthcare services. Seasonal vaccines and other health services, as well as educational workshops, are a proven way to get bring in new customers in and generate revenue. Research your community’s specific needs, and create the services to fill them.
  7. Use data and market research to determine what’s in high demand. Business owners nowadays don’t need to play guessing games or rely on “gut instinct.” There are many research tools and resources available to help you discover which brands and items are popular, and what’s likely to bring in the highest margins.
  8. Purchase smart. There’s no doubt that the number one way to boost profits is buying low and selling high. Ben Franklin famously said it, and it’s just as true today–saving money boosts profits as much as earning it. Find the lowest prices by shopping around for bargains and discounts on prescriptions, OTC, and non-pharmacy items. These days especially, with generics and brands extremely costly, finding alternative distributors and savings on overstocked and short-dated drugs can be highly beneficial. Top businesses in any industry are meticulous with their expenses, and it pays off.
Takeaway: Despite the challenges of owning an independent pharmacy, you can use proven business principles and a little creativity to come up with ways to attract new customers, and get more sales out of your existing clientele. Take advantage of your size, freedom, and flexibility to provide a super personal and pleasant experience, and run your store in a customer-centric way that focuses on helping your number one source of revenue–your local community.  Before you know it, you may become the “go-to” neighborhood store that our parents and grandparents still fondly remember.This article originally appeared on the website Save Big Rx on Decenber 16, 2016.