How to create a point of difference for your pharmacy

Let’s face it - competition is nothing new to pharmacy or in fact business in general, the more successful businesses are those that can adapt to the change while those that don’t adapt will be left behind.

The competitive landscape for Australian retail pharmacies has largely intensified over the past five years, which has been driven by a significant increase in the number of large discount chains with aggressive pricing strategies, supermarkets expanding their product offering to include unscheduled medicines previously only available in pharmacies, and the rise of online pharmacies with heavily discounted retail offerings.

These new competitive forces have increasingly divided the industry into small, high-service pharmacies that offer allied preventative and primary healthcare services and large, highvolume, low-margin pharmacies that compete on price and range. Knowing which of these models your pharmacy fits into is extremely important and depending on where you sit will determine how your pharmacy may respond to the competition.

Firstly, to drive sales and profitability pharmacies need to attract new customers and retain existing customers. One way of doing this is to ensure that your pharmacy stands out from the crowd - create a point of difference for your pharmacy.

So how can you do this?

  1. Deliver an exceptional customer experience. Creating an experience for customers starts at the front door; consider how you and your staff greet each customer as they walk into your store. Get to know your customers and remember key details such as their names or something that they like and ensure that this approach is consistent from the front of the store to the back of the store. Build a team culture that is focused on delivering exceptional customer service. The saying “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” could not be truer. The more you make your customers feel like you know and understand them the greater retention you will see.
  2. Engage with your customers more often. Connect with your customers regulary; share content with your customers via social media channels that inform them about key health matters and the products that you offer in the pharmacy; send out reminders and run information sessions or introduce a loyalty program. The more you connect with your customers, the greater the rapport you will build, and the more “sticky” those customers will be to your pharmacy. Implementing a CRM (Client Relationship Management) system is a great way to help you manage client engagement.
  3. Thoroughly understand the local demographic and offer products and services to their requirements. Regularly engage with your customers and truly understand their needs. Are there products or services you could be offering to your customers that you do not currently have or provide? Some examples of the services that your pharmacy could offer include compounding, vaccinations, home delivery, HMR’s or meds checks just to name a few. At the end of the day the more you understand your customers and their requirements, the more likely it is that those customers will continue to return time after time to your pharmacy as opposed to the competitor up the street.

Don’t let the competition leave you in its wake. Take the time to create a point of difference for your pharmacy that will see you stand out from the crowd. Contact the pharmacy specialists at PKF today.

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