The independent pharmacy store is one of the fastest growing and evolving businesses. According to an industry analysis by Boehringer Ingelheim, independent pharmacies rank at the top compared to chains, clinics, mass merchants, and grocery in all three of the survey’s customer satisfaction categories: filling of medications, convenience, and wait times.
The main challenge for independent pharmacies is standing out from their competition while maintaining employee and patient safety and driving revenue. Customer retention and loyalty is a profitable way to differentiate your pharmacy from big box retailers. Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers, with 80% of future revenue coming from 20% of current customers.
The question is, how to keep them coming back. We have highlighted 5 Ways to Increase Customer Retention in Your Independent Pharmacy.
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Optimize Your Pharmacy Point of Sale System
The daily needs for pharmacies are plenty and complex, from managing inventory and controlled substances, to tracking sales trends, employee tracking, and workflows. The secret weapon lies in your point of sale (POS) system. Often relegated to simply processing transactions, a POS system designed with the needs of your independent pharmacy in mind houses an abundance of information about your products and customers that can be used to provide better customer service and boost the bottom line.
Leveraging the data collected by your POS can help pharmacists streamline operations and better serve their patients with more focused care. With the majority of revenue created through prescription medication, pharmacy retailers need to find opportunities to create additional streams of income. Many OTC’s can be purchased anywhere, but the expert recommendations geared toward improving patients’ well-being are unique to your pharmacy. The expertise paired with aligned products gives patients a reason to add OTC items to their basket. Your POS system can provide supplementary recommendations at the time of prescription scan based on customer data and history.
Use POS data to enhance customer experiences and create an efficient checkout process. Find out who your most frequent shoppers are and give them extra special attention. Personal connection and relationship building are key to customer retention.
Offer More Than Medication
Prescription and OTC medication are the bread and butter of a pharmacy’s revenue, however offering additional products and services can boost loyalty and increase sales. Offering non-prescription items give customers a reason to shop with you even when they do not have a prescription to fill. Incentivize customers to shop in your store by offering products that add to their overall health and wellness such as dietary supplements, sports nutrition, home health care items, vitamins, health and beauty products, and services such as flu shots, testing, and health screening.
Placing such items strategically throughout your store or at the point of sale increases basket size. The data collected from your POS can provide insights into which items sell best or provide a basket analysis of what your customers are buying together to create opportunities for cross-promotion.
Customers will appreciate the convenience of making one stop, and you’ll build their trust with your expertise and offering comprehensive care for all their needs.
Provide Customers with Flexible Solutions
Going to the pharmacy is not exactly at the top of everyone’s to-do list. Especially in our busy day to day, and now with the need for social distancing, patients are looking for more flexibility when filling prescriptions and picking up OTC or household necessities. Providing flexible solutions for prescription pick-up and payment allows customers to get in and out quickly and at their convenience, which will enhance their experience and give them an incentive to come back.
Features such as mobile delivery, drive-thru, curbside pick-up, or mail-in options not only offer convenience to your customers, but also provide safe methods of obtaining medications and other needs. Alternative pick-up solutions improve medication adherence, which will ensure that your patients will continue to return to have their prescriptions filled as needed and result in better patient outcomes and well-being.
A POS system that allows for the acceptance of multiple payment methods such as integrated credit/debit card, gift cards, and coupons makes it easy for customers to efficiently get what they need and pay in a manner that is most convenient to them. Customers may choose your pharmacy over another that only accepts cash or has a complex system for accepting credit cards.
Create Better Experiences with Pharmacy Loyalty Programs
As an independent business owner, you have the opportunity to connect with your customers in a way a large chain cannot. A prime example is running a successful loyalty program that gives you the competitive advantage. Gartner Loyalty Research shows that 52% of customers will join a loyalty of VIP program. What differentiates between an unsuccessful and a successful loyalty program? Knowing your customers, catering to their needs, and making them feel special makes all the difference.
Use your point of sale system to engage with customers by using collected data to create targeted and specialized rewards and coupons for loyal customers. Using the unified reporting features within your POS, generate reports to provide insight into customer behaviors to better promote and market products. Cater to the needs and preferences of your customers, such as changing the layout of your store to display certain items together based on buyer history. Create incentives through discounts, rewards, and coupons to shop at your store using data to suggest items and provide coupons to expand basket size and increase spending. Tracking customer loyalty and rewards points, helps you determine when to run promotions and create specials based on purchase patterns.
Provide Customers with Focused Attention from Pharmacists
Patients value individual and specialized care from medical professionals, as focused attention and care improves patient outcomes and establishes your pharmacy as a trusted partner when it comes to their health and well-being.
When technology is leveraged to simplify complex tasks, pharmacists can focus on providing better patient care. Use automated tools to track inventory and replenish stock, access reporting features to make better informed business decisions, and track employee workflows and productivity for better efficiency. Streamlining the operations of your pharmacy allows for more focus to be on your patients and less on administrative tasks.
To create trust and loyalty, pharmacists need to build relationships with their patients by getting to know them and their unique needs. With their time freed up, pharmacists can have more important conversations to get to know their customers and better understand their needs to make informed recommendations for complementary or future purchases. Customers are more likely to return when they feel cared for and like they can rely and trust your expertise.
Building a strong customer following ensures the success of your independent pharmacy when sized up against the big box and online retailers. Tapping into the features of your specially designed POS system to improve efficiency and streamline your operations adds value to your pharmacy; allowing more time for patient care and specialized attention based on customer data.
To ensure success, partner with a POS provider that understands the challenges and needs of your pharmaceutical business and can offer solutions that scale with your needs as you grow.
Contact Auto-Star to start getting the most from your pharmacy point of sale system.