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Target marketing and your pharmacy, Part 2

business strategy


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Convenience is usually one of the major factors in the success of your target marketing. All demographic groups like convenience, whether it’s ease of location access by vehicle or on foot, hours of operation or the efficiency of each in-store shopping experience and checkout. The major retail pharmacy chains have definitely made this factor a key driver in their current expansion plans as shown by the sites and number of midnight and 24-hour locations. Significant sales impact has also resulted by furthering the convenience offering with food departments in many outlets.

This has enabled these large format pharmacies to target groups such as students, seniors and young families with a new mix of merchandise that increases the size of the average basket purchase on each visit. This new category also creates the opportunity for price promotion on everyday consumables like bread, milk, butter and eggs, which not only create a strong attraction to the store, but also give a second opportunity for more gross margin dollars when the consumer impulse shops other food items.

Have you studied the traffic flow in your store? Do you have a busy early morning, lunch hour, after-school or after-supper traffic flow? Does the number and experience of the employees on duty at these times support your business and promote an easy in/out experience for the consumer? Is it necessary to extend or change your hours of operation if significant business is available?

Examine the design of your store from the customers’ viewpoint. Can the front checkout system handle busy times as well as function well with minimal staffing at slow periods?

Is your pharmacy design capable of handling more prescriptions than you are currently filling? Does it promote customer convenience while allowing for the necessary privacy and professional interaction?

If you have a walk-in clinic or emergency department in your area, do you market your services and hours to them? Let them know your hours on Sundays and holidays. Make them aware of your in-store clinics, such as blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring.

This action will make it more convenient for them to recommend your pharmacy and allow you to assist in educating their patients.

Most stores offer some type of delivery service. Verify the benefit of this service by setting standards such as minimum order value and/or the need for the inclusion of an OTC product or a prescription. Convenience does not have to mean delivering a case of Coke and two boxes of Kleenex.

Hours of operation, store design, in-store service, availability of home delivery and variety of product offering all are important attributes of convenience.

When you analyze your business, don’t forget that convenience is one of the major reasons people visit your pharmacy, often more important than price

in the consumers’ mind. Improved convenience should produce measurable positive results in customer and prescription counts, average sale and total business.

When using target management to grow your business, it is fundamental to choose any key driver of the operation and focus on how to do it better.

To achieve this, it may be necessary initially to dissect the current results and look at how and why these are being accomplished. Then, work on what can been done more effectively, and when and if new methods must be implemented.

By using many different parameters, such as staff turnover, gross margin or expense values, target management will produce the year-end results you plan for rather than some nasty surprises.

Barry Ray is a retired pharmacist in Welland, Ont.


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