Women Shoppers: How to Appeal to Women in Your Pharmacy

March 21, 2015By Articles, Independent Pharmacy


Written by and published in Elements magazine, March 13, 2015

If you haven’t thought about how to make your pharmacy appeal to women, now is the time. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that women make 80 percent of health care decisions for their families and that women are, almost universally, the primary caregivers. Are these women shopping in your independent community pharmacy?

Besides their importance as primary health care decision makers, women are also valuable front-end shoppers. A study by Hamacher Resource Group, Independent Pharmacy Shoppers: Who, What, and Why?, found that more than two-thirds of independent pharmacy shoppers are women.

If your female customers are filling their prescriptions and then heading elsewhere for their health and wellness shopping, you could be missing out. But with the right marketing, products and in-store merchandising, you can persuade them to further explore your front end, while also attracting new shoppers.

When choosing products to stock for women in your front end, remember that women’s roles today extend beyond mother and caregiver. According to Pew Research, 20 percent of women today don’t have children. So, it’s important to cater to women who aren’t family-oriented, too.

Here are some tips on how you can make your pharmacy appeal to women.

Celebrate women in your pharmacy

Use promotions and products to show women you care. “Run promotions that recognize the needs and concerns of women,” said Dave Wendland, vice president of Hamacher Resource Group. “And carry products that not only meet the health care needs women are shopping for, but that also provide pampering for them.”

Some ideas include small hand lotion or lip balm giveaways; free multivitamins, especially for women who are pregnant; and “hot tea” days where women can try a new flavor for free.

“Don’t forget to recognize and appreciate women for the work they do as primary caregivers,” Wendland said. An easy way to do this is to offer a special coupon or discount just for women. You could even dedicate a specific day in your pharmacy to celebrating women with special products or events available. Or, celebrate holidays dedicated to women, like National Women’s Health Week in May.

Provide the information they need

As the primary health care decision makers in their families, women are often in search of, and will appreciate, reliable health information.

“Women want to be well-informed about their decisions,” Wendland said. “Make sure to provide them with information they can trust, and advice they can depend on.”

Offer literature, like brochures or flyers on women’s health issues. This can be general information or specific to different demographics. But women are likely to be looking for health topics that affect their families too, so any information you can offer them will be helpful and appreciated.

Create a welcoming in-store environment

Make sure that every aspect of your store is inviting. Be available to your female shoppers, and make sure you provide them with personal service and attention.

“It’s important to create an in-store environment that is welcoming and comfortable—the opposite of the chaos they may be dealing with at home,” Wendland said.

Pay attention to your store’s décor. Use lighting, color and boutique-style setups to create a front end that is calming and inviting. And, make sure you have the products women need in stock and readily accessible.

Use end caps and displays to make it easy for women to find the products they’re looking for, and make sure you’re on hand to provide personal recommendations.

Also, promote options in your pharmacy that save her time, such as a drive-thru window, curbside pick-up and online prescription refills.

“Ultimately,” Wendland said, “a pharmacy needs to anticipate her needs and create solutions that are clearly presented.”

Start with these suggestions, and be sure to get feedback from regular customers. Understanding how your female customers shop will put you well on your way to ensuring that your store is always appealing.

3 ideas to go above and beyond

Dave Wendland, vice president of Hamacher Resource Group, shared these easy ways to make your pharmacy stand out to the women in your community.

1. Get involved in the community

Make connections with groups that women are likely to be a part of. For example, establish a relationship with local oncologists specific to women’s health; local breastfeeding or lactation society groups; or assisted living or long-term care facilities. Let these groups know about the clinical services and products you provide related to women’s needs.

2. Stock specialized products

Supply specialty items that would appeal to women but that aren’t usually found in pharmacies. Luxurious bath and body products, for example, or even “hot flash” pajamas.

3. Staff a women’s health expert

Depending on the products and services you offer, staffing a specialist for women could help build your pharmacy’s reputation as an expert in women’s health.