The Dollars and the Indies: Pt. 3

October 3, 2013By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Jenny Kosek

Dollar stores are positioned either in areas underserved by supermarkets or drug stores, or in strip malls next to big box retailers to lure consumers to a faster, easier shopping experience. Where is your store? Chances are you’re in a small downtown or perhaps well away from busy retail areas in your community. So how can you make sure customers know where to find you to enjoy the convenience, competitive cost, and incredible customer service you pharmacy offers?

You’ve got to market to them.

As more channels threaten to draw customers away from independents, pharmacy owners need to begin aggressively marketing their stores in creative, work to attract and retain customersstrategic ways. A quarter page ad in your local paper simply won’t let customers know you exist anymore, and families that may have been coming to you for decades are just as prone to wavering loyalty as newer customers. So, it’s up to you to spread the word about your pharmacy and work to attract and retain customers. Here are 5 easy steps you can take to boost awareness of your pharmacy:

  1. Build, or rebuild, your website. If you don’t have the know-how to build a customer-focused website, find someone who does and make sure the site meets current web best practices for customer usability.
  2. If your pharmacy’s web presence is lacking, know that your customers’ web presence is not. They are on social media, they are blogging, and most importantly, they are reviewing. There are countless opportunities for your customers to be your brand advocates online. Encourage them to share their (positive!) opinions of your pharmacy in their own social media to build awareness of your business.
  3. Go IN the community. Don’t wait for customers to come to you. Reach out to local schools, organizations, or businesses to offer health education opportunities, and take those opportunities to “sell” your pharmacy while sharing your expertise.
  4. Hit the airwaves. Sharing your expertise on local radio programs may help to position you as an expert in the community on health, beauty, and wellness trends and offerings.
  5. Get social. If you don’ know Twitter from Tweety Bird, you probably have someone in your life who does. Perhaps it’s a younger staffer or your college age niece. Engage them, and you’ll engage customers. Generation Y loves social media, and many have explored social media marketing. Find someone savvy to help you develop a low-cost, potentially high-return strategy for social media marketing and start reaching customers.

The dollar channel will continue to expand, and it’s up to independents to actively attract customers to their stores if they hope to compete. Get online and get out from behind the counter to go find them!

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