By Dave Wendland for our 99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy blog series

Research from The Integer Group (May 2013) found that 30% of shoppers like to continue shopping while waiting for their prescriptions to be filled. So, this post offers some quick ideas on how to enable that within your community pharmacy:

1. Let’s start with the most obvious idea – merchandising. I often remind pharmacists to take the 180-degree challenge. While standing at the pharmacy drop-off area, I ask pharmacists to consider the pharmacy counter, merchandising displays, waiting area, and promotional endcaps. If each does not have products that relate to the pharmacy and/or complementary sale items, then it is wasted space.

An egg timer and a 10% off coupon2. Next, we should encourage patients to shop the whole store. I once worked with a pharmacy that was committed to 10-minute prescriptions. We came up with an idea that gave each customer an egg timer and a 10% off coupon. The pharmacist encouraged them to shop the front of store and bring items back when the timer went off. Not only would the prescription be ready but the customer would also receive special savings.

3. Here’s another very simple “While You Wait” idea: most patients are picking up a prescription because they or a loved one is not feeling well. So, invite them to go pick out any greeting card and add it to their purchase for a penny. Imagine their delight, the appreciation for your thoughtfulness, and the other items they may return with.

4. One last idea. Consider more than one waiting area. Why? Because patrons will see merchandise that they may otherwise never walk past. Plus, it allows some space between the pharmacy counter and the waiting area … like the old expression says, “a watched pot never boils.” Even if you’re dispensing scripts within 10 minutes, if the patient is sitting and watching your every move, 10 minutes feels like a lifetime.

So, next time you are dispensing prescriptions, incent your patients to purchase something and move about the store while they wait. You’ll be amazed by what happens.

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