That train has left the station

July 26, 2016By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Dave Wendland

Quite often I’ll receive a call from an independent pharmacy creating a defense to an incoming competitor to their community. Generally I’ll share some sage advice that positions them not only for survival, but the ability to thrive.

I also receive the occasional call from the pharmacist bemoaning the arrival of a competitor to their community that causes me to chuckle out loud. When asked when the competitor is opening their store, the embarrassed response is “tomorrow" or "within a week.”

So, let’s consider the circumstances of such news about a competitor’s arrival. Did the competitor literally have a magic bean that they planted and can open an entire pharmacy in a day or a week, or was the existing pharmacy owner simply in a state of denial wishing the news wasn’t true? Likely the latter. If you're anticipating the arrival of a competitor – proper planning and preparation are paramount.

Here are a few survival tactics to consider once the train has left the station:Engage your staff in strengthening your store

  • Understand the competitor’s DNA
    • Do the research!
  • Clean up your place
    • Get your house in order
    • Take care of items in disrepair
  • Focus on your strengths
    • Become crystal clear on your “mission”
    • Eliminate distractions
  • Get your staff involved
    • Retail pharmacy is a team sport
    • Engage your staff in strengthening your store
  • Build customer loyalty
    • Provide rewards to your loyal customers
    • Listen to their input – and take action
  • Ask for help!
    • Your wholesaler will assist you
    • Call in “experts” to help

Surviving – and thriving – in the shadows of an incoming competitor is entirely in your control. Don’t let your competitor take control, putting you into a reactionary tailspin. With methodical planning, careful execution, and focused efforts you will actually become stronger.