As an independent pharmacy, you’re facing more competition than ever – from national chains to online retail giants, like Amazon. Whether you’re well-established or you’ve just opened your doors, marketing your store is vital to your long-term success. Marketing helps to establish your reputation and build awareness within your community, so it’s easier to attract and retain customers. However, with limited time and budgets, many independent pharmacy owners aren’t prioritizing marketing. So, the question becomes, how can independent pharmacies effectively market their store without drawing from their already limited resources. The answer may surprise you, but for many, it can be found within their existing pharmacy management software. Here’s how BestRx is helping its pharmacy customers market and grow their business:
Automatic Review Requests
Although it may seem like success and online positioning is given to the highest bidder, one (FREE) old-school marketing tactic continues to be extremely effective. Word of mouth marketing and customer reviews still carry more weight with other consumers than other types of marketing. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 90% of consumers read reviews online before making a purchase1. This is because people want to do business with companies they can trust, especially when it comes to health-related services. Independent pharmacies excel at developing strong relationships with their customers and providing personalized care, which means you’re already doing everything you need to; you just need to get the word out!
When someone is looking for a pharmacy, often they start by searching online for options nearby. Then, they’ll look at each store’s reviews to help them weigh their options. This means that even if your store is one of the first listed, if you’re lacking reviews, or your rating is low, they’re probably going to obtain their medications from one of your competitors. That’s why it’s so important to regularly request customer reviews, particularly for your Google Business Profile. Google is the most used and trusted search engine and having multiple positive customer reviews listed there will help you:
- Boost your online positioning. This is because Google algorithms are configured to associate multiple positive reviews with business popularity and credibility. Essentially, the higher your pharmacy ranks, the more relevant Google assumes your listing will be to searchers.
- Achieve a better star rating, which is your average customer satisfaction score. In general, when you have a higher rating (between 4-5 stars), the more clicks your Google Business Profile is likely to get.
- Identify areas you can improve to better serve your customers, thanks to a continuous stream of feedback.
Establishing a process to grow your online reviews doesn’t have to be time-consuming or costly either. Using the Messaging Interface in BestRx, pharmacies can send their patients requests for a review automatically by email or text message. The electronic request features a customizable message and a link to your Google Business Profile, website, social media pages or a designated review site, like Yelp. Pharmacies can also indicate when they’d like review requests to be sent (like after a prescription has been marked as dispensed), and the software takes care of the rest.
This way, you can obtain new customer reviews and increase your visibility online – without adding more work or financial investments for your pharmacy. Plus, the Messaging Interface offers a variety of other electronic communications that can be used to keep patients on track with their medications and engaged with your store.
Online Patient Portal + Mobile App
Nowadays, there are millions of mobile apps available, and the average person has roughly 40 apps installed on their smartphone. With more and more business being done online, customers want the same convenient access to their medications. This includes being able to request refills and communicate with their pharmacy whenever and wherever they are. This is where independent pharmacies have traditionally lagged behind larger retail chains because these web-based services can be expensive and require technical expertise that smaller pharmacies typically don’t have. That’s why BestRx made it a priority to launch its online patient portal and mobile app, Your Local Pharmacy.
“Marketing has always been about how to reach an audience. What has changed, thanks to advancements in technology, are the channels used to engage with your audience. Today, people are spending more time on their mobile devices than ever before. Small businesses that aren’t finding ways to reach their consumers on their mobile device will find it increasingly difficult to keep up with their competitors,” says Hemal Desai, President of BestRx. “BestRx has always been focused on providing independent pharmacies with the tools they need to remain successful and our Your Local Pharmacy app is a perfect example of how we continue to fulfill that commitment.”
Your Local Pharmacy provides independent pharmacies with a simple, affordable way to offer patients online access to their medications and compete with big box stores. The convenient, web-based portal and mobile app offers multiple benefits for your customers and your store, including:
- Adding convenience and better access to care for customers.
- Simplifying the prescription fulfillment process, enabling patients to request refills in a few clicks.
- Automatically routing prescription requests to your pharmacy’s refill queue, eliminating manual entry by your staff.
- Allowing customers to easily track the status of all their medication requests at once.
Enabling you to provide medication guidance and respond to customer questions electronically, reducing the amount of time spent on the phone.
By leveraging BestRx’s web-based patient portal and mobile app, pharmacies can enhance their customer experience, operate more efficiently, and grow their business – without having to invest the time and money to develop an online solution of their own.
Customizable Customer Loyalty Programs
Attracting new customers costs five times as much as retaining an existing one. That’s why pharmacies should also have programs designed to help them maintain an active customer base. Establishing a customer loyalty program is an inexpensive, effective way for pharmacies to:
- Improve their customer retention rates.
- Encourage repeat business.
- Build stronger, long-lasting relationships with their customers.
- Provide added value and differentiate themselves from the competition.
- Grow their revenue.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Do I really need a loyalty program?” and the answer is a resounding yes. Not only do the larger chains have them, but your customers want them. Nowadays, consumers want to feel connected to the businesses they utilize and having a loyalty program is a key component. In fact, according to Hubspot, approximately 70% of customers say a Loyalty Program is a meaningful part of their business relationships.2
Often, customers don’t come back, simply because they don’t have any incentive to return or feel their business is valued. However, when they are incentivized to come back, long-lasting relationships can develop. Not only does this mean recurring revenue for your store, but repeat customers have a significantly higher lifetime value than one-time shoppers.
Establishing a point-based customer loyalty program is an easy solution for independent pharmacies. Plus, BestRx’s point-of-sale software, BestPOS makes things even simpler for pharmacies, with a customizable loyalty program built-in. That way you can establish a loyalty program that works for you and your customers. You can determine which purchases are eligible for points, reward values and how they are redeemed. Keep in mind, the goal is to encourage customers to make repeat purchases and build up their points, but the amount needed to obtain a reward should not feel out of reach.
While marketing your pharmacy may not always seem like a priority, implementing strategies to build your online presence, strengthen your reputation in your community and encourage repeat business is essential to your long-term success. Plus, there are multiple ways you can market your store by leveraging your pharmacy management software, without adding to your to-do list or your expenses. Learn more about how BestRx is helping pharmacies grow their business.