It’s time to create your online presence

September 30, 2013By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Megan Moyer

Creativity is an essential tool in planning for growth. While changing up your product assortment can lead to an increase in sales, and creating partnerships with local businesses can as well, you can also increase awareness and drive more business by creating an online presence.

Think of how much more inventory you could “carry” with an online store. While you naturally will feature products that you stock in your online presencestore on your website, you can also include items you may not have the physical room for, but can order next-day from your wholesaler.

Your site doesn’t have to be ecommerce-enabled to improve the shopping experience for your patients. The ability to view product ahead of a store visit will be a convenience to both busy customers and those with mobility challenges that aren’t able to look around or move around the entire store. There are also plenty of consumers that look at store websites before they decide whether to make a trip in to be sure the visit would be worthwhile. Creating an easy-to-navigate and searchable website will help attract customers used to online shopping.

You can reach a much wider audience with a website, attracting customers well outside of your regular selling radius. Make sure to search-engine optimize your content so the site comes up in organic searches for what you want to be known for. Planning pays off.

An online site is also a great selling tool in the store. If you see a customer browsing the aisles, unable to find what they are looking for, you can have a laptop or tablet available where they can browse your site to find the item and you can add it to your wholesaler order for next-day delivery. The value-add of this expansion of inventory builds customer loyalty and longevity.

Some independent pharmacies may find that an ecommerce site makes sense. If your store carries hard-to-find items of a specialized or clinical nature, an ecommerce site could expand your business. Explore your options with your distributor for setting up an ecommerce site. Ask them if they offer a turn-key solution to minimize costs.

And finally, don’t forget social media! Set up a Facebook page and show the personality of your store to build your online community. Identify a staff member that could be a dedicated, ongoing resource to post and monitor the page to keep it fresh. You can use your Facebook page to lead people to your website and vice versa. Offer promotions that give them a reason to keep coming back (and into your store!).

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