In a market where big-box competitors have a large degree of control over the industry, local pharmacies can feel like their market share is under siege. Phil LaFoy, co-owner of Blount Discount Pharmacy, learned that, just because national brands have the economy of scale on their side, they simply cannot deliver the level of personalized care possible with local independent pharmacies. In fact, by closing the gap in technology, Phil was able to leverage his competitive advantage and see his big-box competitors scramble to compete with him, rather than the other way around.
Phil recognized the changing tide in the way patients were communicating with their health care providers years ago, when he decided to launch Blount’s website. With relevant business information readily accessible online, patients quickly became accustomed to looking online first when trying to find the address, phone number or hours of operation. As the website developed to offer 24/7 refill capabilities, Blount’s patients quickly began adopting a new way of managing their prescriptions.
Last month, Phil saw more than 500 online refills through the website alone, resulting in over 45 hours that he didn’t have to spend on the phone manually receiving refills. With the option for home delivery, patients are no longer choosing where to refill their prescriptions for convenience — they’re basing the choice on the quality of service they receive, which is where big-box competitors no longer have the competitive advantage.
Blount Discount Pharmacy’s website now averages over 1,200 website visitors a month—far exceeding many local competitors. The secret, Phil said, is wide and consistent messaging of their website and online tools. Wherever possible, Phil includes the website URL on all marketing materials, prescription bags and prescription labels. This helps guarantee that, when a patient thinks to refill, he or she will look first to the website. With the recent addition of a mobile app, Blount Discount Pharmacy now sees an average of 650 monthly refills and counting, resulting in over 54 hours time saved by him and his staff.
National chains have taken notice of the success of Blount Discount Pharmacy and other local pharmacies and are making changes to compete. Phil said he’s even noticed a big-box competitor price matching some of his prescription specials. Patients respond to quality and by closing the technology gap and doubling down on personalized patient care, Blount Discount Pharmacy has managed to flip the script on their big box competitors.
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