Embrace your “indie” mystique to reach the 2nd largest generation

August 29, 2013By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Jen Johnston

The last time you thought about the millennial generation (gen Y) they may have been a bunch of ragtag middle schoolers whose only source of income was their weekly allowances from mom and dad. You may have had to watch that they didn’t steal candy or lip gloss, but they didn’t really affect your pharmacy’s bottom line, right? Well, while you were busy running your business (likely quite successfully, I might add), they grew up. U.S. millennials, covering people born between 1981 and 2000, now number some 73 million, and their annual outlays were pegged by a comScore study at $170 billion. That is a significant collective purchasing power.

Unfortunately, as a whole, millennials are not shopping at independent pharmacies. “So what?” you might say, “We’ve got the baby boomers, and there are 78 million of them!” That’s true, and I am not trying to diminish the economic impact of that very important purchasing group. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that gen Y is the largest generation since the baby boomers. Not to mention that baby boomers are in the second half of their life, and the oldest millennials are approaching their mid-30’s, still well in the first half of their life. They have careers, spouses, families, and money to spend – and they will continue spending for 50 years to come. Even the youngest millennials will be over 18 in four short years. It is important to cater to both baby boomers and millennials in order to grow a sustainable business.shopping at local, small businesses

Are you under the impression that when it comes to the younger generation you just can’t compete with the convenience and often lower prices of the “big guys”? I’ve got news for you, you have a secret weapon the big guys will never have. Lean in a little closer and I will tell you what it is: You. Are. Cool.

What, you don’t believe me? It’s true. You are cool simply because of the fact that you are independent. Millennials love all things “indie.” From indie music, to crafters, to movies. And they have a penchant for shopping at local, small businesses. I wish community pharmacies would start branding themselves as “indie pharmacies” – just the name alone sounds cool.

So if they like all things independent, why don’t gen-Yers shop at your store now? Well, let me ask you, do you have a website, and is it optimized for mobile? Do you have an iPhone app? Are you connecting with them where they spend their time – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter? Do you promote the fact that you are “indie”? Do you offer niche products or local items that can only be found at your store? Is your layout unique? Is your store bright and interesting or dull and dusty? What are your promotional plans surrounding Small Business Saturday? (Do you even know when Small Business Saturday is?)

It’s time to start embracing your “indie” mystique and reaping the rewards of catering to the second largest generation of our time.

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