Community Pharmacy has been a vital resource for the public during the past 12 months – with many individuals re-evaluating their perception of pharmacies as a result of the amazing service and support they have received. Now, as the vaccine programme continues to roll out at pace and life begins to return to normal, it’s time for pharmacies to build on this new level of trust and awareness by ensuring that consumers understand the wide range of services and products on offer.
The question is: what is the best way of educating consumers and increasing awareness? In a recent survey, 82% of pharmacies told us that driving demand for pharmacy services is as, if not more, important than over the counter (OTC) sales, but only a handful have the time or expertise to focus on marketing.Not only is marketing outside the typical pharmacy owner skillset, but there are challenges associated with communication within a tightly regulated market. How can you be confident that all marketing messages are compliant and include the latest content from both the NHS and PHE? What about ensuring that retail campaigns can be regularly changed to reflect changing consumer demand, by season, by day and by customer demographic?
Engagement and Revenue
A strong, effective marketing strategy will not only improve customer engagement by showcasing the products and services on offer at the pharmacy, it can also offer new opportunities for additional advertising revenue and commercial relationships.
However, for many pharmacies marketing can be a somewhat ad hoc process – even window displays can be overlooked: one in four pharmacies rarely or never change their window displays. Many pharmacies also rely heavily on posters and leaflets, often printed in store – and few pharmacies have the time or resources to update this messaging very often.
In fact, patient care is always the priority, which means marketing activity can be side-lined to meet customer needs, our survey also reveals nearly three quarters (74%) of pharmacies spend up to an hour each week setting up and managing public health campaigns, including posters, leaflets and window displays, for NHS Contractor Compliance. While this meets the public education brief, such activity is not helping to generate additional revenue or customer loyalty.
In-store customers are a captive audience – on average, customers spend six minutes waiting to collect their prescription. Just consider what they could learn about the products and services available during that time – the products they could add to their baskets and the health information they could consume. This is the perfect opportunity to inspire impulse buys and remind people of products they may need – and finding a way to present that information in an engaging fashion can make a huge difference to both revenue and customer perception.
Tired posters are not going to capture their attention for more than a few seconds – especially if they are the same posters and displays they saw last week. So what are the options? Digital displays are an obvious solution – providing a chance for a rolling stream of information that allows pharmacies to showcase the products and services available in a way that is both engaging and informative.
Engaging for the Future
For Community Pharmacy, in-store marketing is one of the most effective – and lowest cost – ways to reach customers. But we know it can be tough not just to find the time but also have the confidence in the type of information and marketing messages to present. Which is why digital displays with a raft of pre-created content, that is simple to pick and choose the messaging can meet your marketing goals – whether that’s promoting health checks or looking to increase OTC sales. With the right mix of engaging content, pharmacies can transform the way they communicate with customers, boosting loyalty and increasing revenue without impinging on the time needed for face-to-face patient care.
It is time to transform your pharmacy with a digital marketing solution?