The role of pharmacies is somewhat changed compared to one in the past. People used to consider the pharmacy as a place to fill their prescriptions, but, pharmacies and pharmacists do much more than prepare medications. Most people fill their medication and medicinal devices from their local community pharmacies. To outstand and succeed among the other pharmacies, community pharmacies should find a way to distinguish their pharmacy from others. And to run a successful community pharmacy business, pharmacies should be well prepared to satisfy their customers, here are some tips for retail pharmacy business.
1. Medication Therapy Management Program
Pharmacists are the experts on medications. They have the authority to review patients’ medication lists to make sure drug safety and efficacy while minimizing negative side effects. The medication therapy management(MTM) program is one of the additional methods to make a profit for pharmacists. Pharmacists review patient health profiles and history of medications to detect any problems that may harm patients. By making changes, discontinuing, and starting new medication therapy, pharmacists can not only ensure patients get the most benefits from medication therapy but also earn profits from their work. During the MTM program, pharmacists counsel patients and may reflect on patients’ preferences on medication therapy plans. Counseling with pharmacists can enhance drug adherence by helping patients understand medications and making them feel that they are also directly involved in the treatment plans. It is clear that both pharmacies and customers get benefits from the MTM program, so community pharmacies need to encourage pharmacists to do MTM programs to succeed pharmacy business.
2. Additional Pharmacy Services
Many pharmacies expanded their services to provide more various services to customers. The most outstanding example is CVS MinuteClinic. CVS MinuteClinics provide lab testing, clinical services, COVID-19 testing, and vaccination with or without an appointment. People usually need to make appointments with their primary care physician for these services which is time-consuming for patients. With CVS MinuteClinic, customers can save time and cost to travel to clinics. the customers can do testing when they visit a pharmacy to fill their monthly medications. In addition to these services, CVS MinuteClinic added urgent care services in some states. CVS could afford various services since they are the biggest franchise pharmacy in the US with big funding and more staff compared to independent pharmacies. Not all pharmacies can offer these services to customers due to limited resources and staff. However, vaccination is the most frequently conducted service in community pharmacies, therefore, every community pharmacy should possess vaccines in stock and prepare their pharmacists not to miss sales opportunities.
3. OTC Products
With minor wounds and colds, patients come into the pharmacy to find self-care remedies before they visit the doctor’s office. Over-the-counter(OTC) products take a huge part of entire pharmacy profits in community pharmacies. There are numerous OTC drugs available in community pharmacies, and it is one of the easiest ways to make profits in community pharmacies. Most patients take herbal medicines and supplements, and community pharmacies make margins from OTC medication sales. So, to maximize sales opportunities, pharmacies should regularly check their products and restock frequently sold products. Also, attaching simple visual or verbal advertisements may draw attention from customers and encourage purchase.
Pharmacists can affect OTC sales via recommendations and counseling. As drug specialists, pharmacists know a lot about medications. Pharmacists’ knowledge can help patients select drugs to treat and it directly goes to purchase. Recommending a drug based on a patient’s symptoms is the primary purpose of communication, however, it also forms a trusted relationship between pharmacists and customers. That relationship and trust can promote OTC drugs purchase and make loyal customers. Loyal customers are important for community pharmacy business, and it will bring profits as a result.
4. Customer Specific Service
In community pharmacies, the most valuable customers are elderly customers because they fill most prescriptions. People over 65 years old have at least one metabolic syndrome, and they take several drugs and supplement for treatment and management. Therefore, pharmacies should provide the elderly population targeted services to gather more customers. Elderly customers are likely to face mobility difficulties, and coming to the pharmacy to fill their monthly refills can be a burden to them. Thus, customers may prefer pharmacies that provide community delivery service for refills. In order to recruit more customers, community pharmacies need to analyze their customer population and consider providing differentiated services from other pharmacies to be a competitive pharmacy.
5. Creating Welcoming Environment
In community pharmacies, all staffs including pharmacists, pharmacy managers, and pharmacy technicians are busy throughout the day. In a busy work environment, customers may be dissatisfied with services due to long waiting. When customers walk into a pharmacy to pick up their medications or talk to a pharmacist in general, they need to wait at least 15 minutes. Customers will be angry or upset with no greetings or a welcoming environment. So, a waiting room with magazines or posters may produce patient endurance and prevent unsatisfied customers.
The community pharmacy business is more than dispensing medications to patients. To run a successful pharmacy business, pharmacies should aware of what they need to prepare to meet patients’ needs and make them satisfied with pharmacy services. Therefore, community pharmacies should provide various services to make their customers happy and make them loyal customers.