Retail pharmacy: Know the marketplace to grow the customer base

June 18, 2015

Expert tips on attracting and keeping retail pharmacy customers

To increase revenues, retail pharmacies must grow their customer base – and increase the quality of customers they attract.

During a recent webinar, Dan Benamoz, RPh, CEO of Pharmacy Development Services, a business education, coaching, and mentoring firm in Palm Springs, Fla., offered several tips for boosting sales through customer acquisition and retention.

See also: Win-win: How retail pharmacists can help health plans with CMS Star Ratings measures

Dan BenamozFind your customers

Pharmacies must first determine their ideal customers. “If your target audience is ‘everyone’, you don’t have a target audience,” Benamoz said. “In pharmacy [in general], the ideal customer is geriatric [customers], followed by pediatrics. In your case, it could be customers on four or more medications, compounding, or whatever your niche is.”

Pharmacies that don’t have a niche should determine where there are gaps and needs in the marketplace. “Just because you want to do something doesn’t mean it is right in your particular area. If you have an interest in wellness but you are in a high Medicaid area, you are not going to be selling high-value vitamins,” Benamoz said.

Promote

Once pharmacies determine their niche services, they can begin communicating those services to current and prospective customers in a number of different ways. They can send direct mail postcards describing one of their niche services, such as bone-density screening. Text-messaging, voice-broadcasting, and other technology tools are other ways to communicate new or existing services. “There are a lot of other, more effective ways than newspaper and TV [advertising] - tools that are very inexpensive,” Benamoz said.

Of course, retail pharmacies can save a signficiant amount of money by simply retaining their current customers. One effective way to do this is to develop consistency in the customer experience.

“Become process-dependent, not people dependent. Whatever time they come in, and whoever they talk to, make sure they are having a consistent experience,” he said.

Benamoz also recommends making every effort to reactivate former good customers. Pharmacies can contact those customers and ask what they can do to earn back their business. “That is a good follow-up phone call, and you would be surprised at how effective that is,” Benamoz said.