If there’s any goal that every business owner has in common, it’s this: grow the business. The same rings true for a pharmacy business.
Steady growth not only enables you to provide your patients with the highest quality care, but it ensures you can do so for years — and even decades — to come.
If you want to grow, however, you need the right strategy. In this blog, we'll share practical insights, proven techniques, and innovative ideas to help you develop a growth strategy that works for your pharmacy.
Here are 10 ways to grow your pharmacy business:
Even if you decide to offer a new service, you can’t offer them all. That’s why, instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, you should be a master of one.
You can become a med sync master, a diabetes management expert, or a health-and-wellness guru. Whatever you choose, your niche should be specific, specialized, and unique to your pharmacy.
Finding a niche doesn't have to be hard. Just look to your patients.
Use PioneerRx's custom reports to better understand your patient population. What conditions do they struggle with? What are their health goals? What’s stopping them from getting there, and how can you help?
Once you identify a niche, invest in additional training and development from your staff — whether workshops or certifications — and get the word out to patients.
In 2021, Americans spent over $860B on clinical services. Many of those services were performed at pharmacies. But which ones will actually drive growth to your business?
According to experts, these five services will bring in the most profit and accelerate the most growth:
PBA Health, for example, reports that pharmacies offering immunizations see an extra $40-90K in annual revenue. NCPA predicts that point-of-care testing will even exceed immunizations.
Aside from the immediate revenue opportunities, adding a new service can get more patients in your door to fill scripts and buy front-end items.
To learn more about the services above and how to implement them in your pharmacy, visit our New Year, New Services blog.
83% of customers say that convenience is important to them. If you aren’t already offering convenient ways for patients to pick up their medications, you should be. Some great places to start are:
Sometimes patients don’t need fancy flyers, billboards, or targeted ads to find you. Sometimes they just need a push from their doctor.
Referral networks are a great way to work with providers in your community, collaborate on patient care, and tap into a new network.
By actively engaging with providers, you can position your pharmacy as an extension of the healthcare team. As a result, providers will be more likely to recommend your pharmacy for medication management, counseling, and specialty services.
But how do you get the conversation started?
Nicolette Mathey, Owner of Palm Harbor Pharmacy and ATRIUM24, discusses the importance of doctor detailing on the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast and gives practical advice for starting your referral network. Tune in here:
If a patient has a migraine, they might need a prescription — but they might also need a heat pad or cold compress, a face mask to block out light, or supplements to support brain health.
So when your patient picks up their script, are you offering them products or services to go with it?
Enter the world of cross-selling.
Cross-selling involves recommending related products or services based on specific medication needs. When you cross-sell products, you not only create a personalized treatment plan for patients. You also open up opportunities for growth.
Kathy Campbell, CEO of Medicap Pharmacy, is an advocate for cross-selling.
In a recent episode of the Beyond the Scripts Podcast, Kathy says, "I don’t see it as selling at all. I see it as my responsibility as a pharmacist to have my patients [get] great outcomes by telling them everything I know and providing a quality product."
She continues, "Pharmacists know how to vet a product, but your patients are going other places… and the research shows [those places] aren’t good. So for me, it was very important for me and the wellness of my community that I [have] a vetted, reliable solution for them."
When you recommend products, you don’t have to stop at one. Instead, combine your favorites and make your own bundles.
By bundling items like vitamins and supplements, cold and flu essentials, or sports injury kits, you’re providing patients with convenient and comprehensive solutions for their specific needs.
Easton Bryant, Owner of North Century Pharmacy, incorporates bundling in his successful business model. He and his team create custom supplement packs called NCPaks that can be shipped nationwide.
Patients simply go to the North Century Pharmacy website, fill out a questionnaire asking about their specific needs, goals, and challenges; and receive a recommended medication regimen right in their mailbox.
Bundles have been a great way for North Century Pharmacy to grow beyond the community and even out of state.
Easton says, “I’ve recently gotten orders from North Dakota and North Carolina. We’re able to ship across state lines since they’re not prescription products, which is pretty neat."
Hear more from Easton and learn how to start bundling by visiting our blog, They’re More Than Just Supplements.
Health Mart reports that while the gross margin on prescription sales is around 23% (or lower) in an independent pharmacy, gross margin on front-end sales is about 38%.
So while you cross-sell and sell bundled products, make sure you sell the right ones. Namely, make your margins. Some of the highest-margin products include:
Stock up on products from your wholesaler or third parties.
Once you receive them, strategically position them in your pharmacy. Place your products in high-traffic areas easily accessible to customers. Create eye-catching displays and signage to draw attention to the products and highlight their benefits.
To get the word out about your new products, leverage the power of social media.
Share engaging content, testimonials, and educational information about the products on your Facebook and Instagram accounts. In doing so, you can increase awareness, attract customers, and drive sales.
For more front-end sales ideas, visit our blog, The 40 Products Your Pharmacy Should Be Selling.
The average repeat customer spends 67% more than a new one. If you want to grow your pharmacy business, don't only attract new customers — maintain those you already have. One of the best ways to do it is with a loyalty program.
Different pharmacies have different ways of running loyalty programs. Some make special offers, some do future-use rewards, and others give freebie items to loyal customers.
However you choose to do it, PioneerRx offers plenty of features to identify and reward your customers.
At the point-of-sale, PioneerRx users can assign loyalty IDs to customers, track loyalty points, enable reminders, and generate loyalty reports.
PioneerRx’s VIP Rankings feature also identifies customers with the highest grossing prescriptions and OTC purchases so that you can reward them. In the system, an icon displays a patient's VIP status next to their information.
Bronze customers are the top 10-20% of patients contributing to the overall profit; silver customers are the top 6-10%; and gold customers are the top 5%.
Irina Arany, PIC of Cookeville Medical Family Pharmacy, uses the feature to implement rewards.
"We’ve been using our program to boost our customers’ loyalty and encourage them to return to our pharmacy," says Irina. "Every $0.10 spent earns the customer 1 point, which can be redeemed on OTC items within the pharmacy."
Michael Kim, Owner of Grubb’s Pharmacy, uses VIP Rankings to remove the fees associated with certain services, such as same-day delivery and medication compliance packaging.
He says, “We can identify those patients who are good for the business, and then we can forgive some of the fees on our services as an option for VIP customers. We can retain their business and make them feel appreciated for using our pharmacy. I think PioneerRx has some of the most cutting-edge technology that’s helping our pharmacy capitalize on a lot of opportunities that are available.”
One of the most exciting and ambitious ways to grow your pharmacy is with an online storefront.
An online storefront is especially effective if you sell niche products, like vitamin and supplement bundles. It allows you to reach a new customer base, stay on top of digital trends, and earn revenue from front-end items.
However, setting up a storefront involves many regulations and compliance requirements.
If you decide to try an online storefront, you'll need the help of legal professionals and regulatory agencies who can help you meet the requirements.
Add product listings to your site and highlight the value offered. Optimize for search engines to improve visibility and integrate secure payment options for seamless transactions. Develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to raise awareness and drive traffic to your store.
Opening an online storefront requires time, effort, and meeting plenty of compliance requirements, but it can grow your pharmacy far beyond your community.
Are you willing to take the plunge?
One final way to grow your pharmacy business is by running a blog.
A blog can seem daunting, especially compared to other options like social media, but all you really need is expert insight. As a healthcare expert, you’ve already got it. Now all you have to do is put pen to paper — or in this case, finger to keyboard.
On your blog, you can provide valuable and informative content (medication FAQs, explanations of common conditions, health tips and tricks, etc.). This can help build trust and credibility in your expertise.
A blog is critical if you have an online storefront. By strategically linking to relevant products or services within your blog posts, you can create a pathway for readers to explore and buy products on your website. This can significantly boost your online sales and increase customer engagement.
If you don't have enough time to write blog posts, consider outsourcing to freelance writers who can deliver quality content. This will allow you to maintain a consistent posting schedule without compromising the quality of the content.
Growing your pharmacy business isn't an easy feat, but the right strategy can put you ahead of the curve and on the path to growth.
By embracing innovative services, finding your niche, building strong referral networks, and offering convenient solutions, you can enhance the customer experience and attract new patients.
By leveraging cross-selling, bundled products, high-margin items, online storefronts, loyalty programs, and blogs, you can further differentiate your pharmacy and create lasting connections with your community.
Remember, growth is a journey that requires resilience, adaptability, and a genuine commitment to caring for your community. It’s an investment, but any pharmacy owner will tell you it’s worth making.
How will you accelerate your pharmacy’s growth?