Pharmacy Trends for 2016

Every year, technology advances and consumer behavior changes - directly affecting your business. Staying on top of the business environment shifts can be tough, but the extra effort is definitely worth it. Over time, it's often the most adaptable businesses who see the most success. We want to help you stay ahead of the game, find out the trends for 2016 here:

1. Cross-device syncing

SmartPhones, iPads, laptops, desktops – whatever device you’re thinking of, your patients are using it. So why not sync your efforts to engage with them across all platforms?

  • InsightsIt’s important to really get to know your patients. Unfortunately it can be hard to get a complete set of data if you’re only gathering it on one platform. Having the ability to learn about your customers no matter what device they are on, is a powerful ability. Include a form on your website, mobile app, and social media pages where patients can tell you more about themselves* – demographics, health information, email. *Make sure it’s HIPPA compliant
  • PersonalizationSend health information that’s relevant to individual patients. Once you have data about a patient’s conditions and medications, you can let them know about a discount available to them, an FDA alert related to a medication they’re taking, or even a trial they may be eligible for. This tailored customer engagement is available through your weekly FDA and Release alerts, discounts library, and access to clinical trials information.

2. Customer-Centric Decision Making

Molding your business around your customers. This can seem like a no-brainer, “isn’t that the point of my pharmacy, offering products and services to my customers?”, but it’s easy to miss out on opportunities to make things more convenient and better tailored for your specific customer base.

  • Varying hoursAre there options you can offer on certain days that might draw more customers in, or accommodate some of your loyal patients?
  • DeliveryIf delivery isn’t a service you currently offer, this is another way to show customers how much you’re willing to help them.
  • Changing the products available in your front-end
    Maybe you’ve had customers ask for products you don’t carry. It could be worthwhile to expand your front-end based on your patients’ requests.
  • Convenient refill options
    Making refill available through as many platforms as possible is a great way to offer convenience.

3. Utilizing Referrals

According to Nielson, 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products – making these recommendations the information source ranked highest for trustworthiness. If word of mouth is that powerful, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t broadcast the wonderful things patients say about you.

Ask your long-time happy customers to write a review about your pharmacy on Facebook and Google. Not only will these reviews help bring you new business, but they really help with search engine optimization so you show up more frequently on the web.

4. Specialty Prescribing

According to United Health, “Although there are a range of possible trajectories for future growth in specialty spending, estimates suggest it could quadruple by 2020, reaching about $400 billion, or 9.1 percent of national health spending”.

5. Front-End Sales

With a gross margin of 38%, the return on front-end is worth the time invested. If you’re looking for help on how to get started with your front-end, NCPA has a fantastic support center: http://www.ncpanet.org/solutions/front-end-overhaul.

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6. Reaching Out to Customers

  • Seeking feedbackAsking patients to share insight on their experiences at your store is a great way to show that you’re constantly searching to improve. It also is a great way to stay ahead of the curve – address concerns before they become bigger problems, or take advantage of great customer ideas. One way to do this is to include a customer survey in prescription bags and on your website.
  • Keeping Them InformedEngage with customers and get them involved with the pharmacy by letting them know about events and sales going on at your store.

7. Automated Support

People tend to value response time very highly. If you set up an auto-responder email for your support address to let people know you are looking into their request and will get back to them ASAP, you’re sure to appease your customers while saving yourself some time.

8. Location Based Advertising (LBA)

LBA is essentially targeting customers who are near your store at the time of seeing an ad. Facebook and google both offer great ways to advertise to people who are nearby – an essential way to reach potential customers at the most optimal time.

Sources:
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254620
http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/directions-in-pharmacy/2015/august2015/five-technology-trends-changing-pharmacy-practice-today-and-tomorrow
https://www.talkdesk.com/blog/6-top-customer-service-trends-for-2015/
http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2013/under-the-influence-consumer-trust-in-advertising.html
https://www.nbch.org/nbch/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/000000003258/
NBCH_AB_SP%20Pharmacy%20original.pdf
http://www.upsher-smith.com/wp-content/uploads/USL-The-Front-End-Opportunity.pdf