Local independent pharmacies are valuable assets to their communities, but like all small businesses, they’re not immune to the ups and downs of the economy; with so many big chain stores offering convenient and cheap services traditionally provided by local pharmacies, many people have noticed that their loyal customers have started to take their business to those big stores. And unfortunately for smaller stores, they often don’t have the money to fund expensive marketing programs or big limited-time sales.
So if you happen to run a small pharmacy and you’ve noticed that your sales aren’t as high as they once were, here are a few simple — and very affordable — ways to get those sales numbers back up:
- Offer a customer loyalty program, or new product promotions. This program doesn’t have to be as extensive as the savings programs that big stores offer, although many newer pharmacy POS systems will allow you to create and track rewards points that would otherwise be too confusing to manage. Simply offering weekly specials or coupon codes may be enough to bring customers into your store, especially when the discounted items are products that they actually want.
- Speaking of products that your customers want, you could be losing sales if you’re accidentally stocking your shelves with products that your customers don’t actually want, while failing to keep in-demand items in stock. Although it can be difficult for pharmacies to stock up on products (many medicines will expire if kept too long, for example), pharmacies do have one major advantage: in-demand products are largely determined by the season, so with a little bit of planning, you’ll be able to order items in time. Many retail POS systems even track current sales trends and send you alerts when products need to be reordered.
- Getting involved in your community will also make a big difference. In fact, the reason why so many people support local businesses in the first place is because they give back to the community more so than chain stores: the taxes paid by local businesses go back into the community, local stores can create — and keep — jobs in the community, and consumers are responding more to businesses that really try to foster personal relationships with employees and customers. By getting involved in your community and giving a little back, you’ll reassure your target audience that your business is here to stay, and is important.