by Julie Massey for our 99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy series

With competition an ever-present threat, you always have to re-assess your business and your position in your community. Knowing where your strengths and weaknesses lie in comparison to your local competitors will help you focus on areas where you need to improve or capitalize on qualities that are your strong suit. One aspect to think about as you look to enhance your offerings is whether you can fill a niche for consumers in your area. Being an independent pharmacy, you have more flexibility to do this than any of your chain or mass competitors.

Figuring out what niche you can fill may be as simple as asking your current customers if there is something unavailable locally that they travel outside of the community to purchase. You can also ask your chamber of commerce to find out if they are aware of a need that can be filled. If these answers don’t provide an easy answer, try conducting a short, pointed survey of customers, or ask the chamber to help you distribute it to the community at large. Another option is hosting an open house and surveying attendees, or taking a poll at other events you host or participate in around niche

Healthcare provider partners in the area are another good source to try. There may be a remedy or a specialty item that they know their patients aren’t able to get at any of the local retail outlets, and your pharmacy could become the source of that solution for them. Is there a treatment that no local healthcare professional provides? Perhaps you could host an out-of-town practitioner to work with patients in your store once or twice a month.

The key with finding a niche and having success is knowing there is demand for the item or items you add to your assortment, or services you start offering. When you start by asking what is needed, the most common answers should point you in the right direction.



As the coordinator of our Visual Assets team, Julie oversees and coordinates all of the company's product imaging and editing of OTC HBW products. In addition, Julie is responsible for the management of the page layout and design to support monthly production of our merchandising and pricing services. Julie is accountable for setting graphic standards and process enhancements for visual production components.


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