Why would a patient choose your small pharmacy over the competition? With big pharmacy chains dominating the market, small independent pharmacies really need to carve out a local niche for themselves. Here are a number of important ways that patients can benefit from these local pharmacies and why their owners need to capitalise on these aspects.
Personalised, friendly service
In large pharmacy chains, it is incredibly rare to receive highly personalised, friendly service. Usually, there is a generic flavour to these establishments and this is a good opportunity for small pharmacies to get ahead of the competition. Simple gestures like remembering your patient’s name, or sending a ‘get well soon’ email card, can go a long way in providing truly memorable service. This in turn will create a loyal customer base who will return many times over, and keep your business going.
As an independent store, you are able to decide your hours. This works well if you can coordinate your trading hours with local medical practitioners. You can also consider opening late to accommodate after-hours customers. But always make sure you do your research to ensure these hours are sustainable in relation to the associated running costs.
Be available to answer questions
It makes a big difference if you are a simple phone call away when your customer is in need. Often, staff in busy chains don't have time to offer personalised service and answer questions. But smaller independents are able to spend more time on the floor and be available for support in real-time. This builds rapport with customers in need of extra TLC and will really be appreciated by, for example, an anxious mom with a colicky baby, or an elderly patient with aches and pains.
Consider accommodating special requests
Large chains will have a standardised way of doing things, but local independent pharmacies aren’t burdened by these procedures. So consider accommodating any special requests your patients have regarding how medication is dispensed. These instructions can be stored in your patient’s file to ensure they are not overlooked on a monthly basis. Consistency in care will bring joy to the customer and secure long-term support.
Remain culturally appropriate
As a smaller pharmacy, your patient base is largely made up of a local demographic. So cater to these patients specifically with bespoke holiday greetings and appropriate gifting. If you have an elderly community offer signage and pillboxes with larger lettering or if you have a young family base surrounding you, offer toys, a nurse on call or colouring facilities while the moms shop. This will really personalise the experience and ensure that visiting your store is a pleasure and not a chore.
The bottom line
While large pharmacy chains are big competition, smaller local pharmacies can achieve many things that the bigger chains will really struggle with. Paying careful attention to all these small details will go a long way in ensuring your pharmacy not only survives but thrives. For more information on how Merchant Capital can fund your pharmacy’s next growth strategy, contact us today.