Strategies to mitigate 60-day dispensing effects

In our previous article on the 60-day dispensing changes we outlined the results of our latest SalesTracker survey where Pharmacies were asked to prioritise what effect the changes would have from the following options (they could choose more than one)

  • Reduce Opening hours
  • Reduce Staff or staff hours
  • Redirect funds to dispensary purchases
  • Reduce purchases from the front of shop
  • Add Consulting rooms.

This article provides some practical solutions for both Pharmacies and Brands to help mitigate the effect of 60-day dispensing.

Pharmacy Strategies to mitigate 60-day dispensing

So, what are some things that Pharmacies could consider (if they are not already doing so) to maintain income whilst reducing trading hours and staff plus potentially rationalising their product range?

A. Transforming to 24-hour digital trading

The most obvious strategy to maintain income whilst reducing trading hours would be to improve the Pharmacy’s online presence at a minimum and ideally to provide an e-commerce solution that includes the ability for customers to register e-scripts.

If implementing full e-commerce is out of reach, can the Pharmacy at least consider improving their online presence by providing a website that can communicate to their customers about the range and products they have?

Can the pharmacy provide health information for common health complaints, fact sheets, health tips that could go some way to substituting the one on one advice that would be provided when the store is open?

B. Better utilising sales reps in the front of shop

Many Pharmacies don’t take advantage of the skills and support that a good rep or merchandiser can provide and now more than ever it is all hands on deck with reduced staff hours. The caveat is that it is a “good rep”. So, what does a ”good rep” look like?

A “good rep” is someone that you can trust to do the right thing with suggested orders, that follows up when they say they will, that does their best to work with the staff to ensure that their Brands look their best in your store, so they are enticing to the customer.

Some Pharmacies unfortunately take an adversarial or negative approach to sales reps. A “good rep” or merchandiser however can be an extra pair of hands for many pharmacies in the areas of training, in-store merchandising and even selling to your customers!

C. Increase training

It seems counter-intuitive at first, how could a Pharmacy possibly afford to invest more time in training when there is less time for staff in store?

However, the better trained the staff are in the products, the more confident they are helping customers and the quicker they are to handle customer enquiries. There are a number of online training offerings from Brands and platform providers that stores could encourage their staff to engage with that will pay the team in either actual cash or product. Efficiency of staff will be key in the coming months.

D. Offer more Pharmacy-only Brands

Do you really need to sell mass brands that you are competing with in grocery at low margins? Look at brands that are Pharmacy-only brands that have great support, training, margin and not competing with supermarkets.

Offering more Pharmacy-only Brands distinguishes the Pharmacy from supermarkets. This makes the Pharmacy a “destination” for health and wellness products, which differentiates it from other outlets. This attracts customers who appreciate the knowledge and personal service provided by Pharmacies.

Make sure you train staff to not just say you don’t stock or are out of stock of a popular brand. Encourage staff (or even better incentivise them) to offer customers a Pharmacy-only alternative from a trusted source. That way customers will get a usually superior product plus have a to reason to come back to the pharmacy to buy the “destination” Pharmacy brand.

Brand Strategies to mitigate the 60-day dispensing effect.

So, what are some things that Brands can implement to help support Pharmacies through the transition to 60-day dispensing and help them stay profitable?

A. Ensure your Brand implements “clever POS”

The prospect of staff reductions means that Point of Sale has never been more important. Read our recent article on the importance of clever POS to get some ideas on how to combat staff shortages and make sure your Brand sells it’s self-off the shelf.

B. Ensure your Brand reps are one of the “good” ones

Training, a strong culture of honesty and integrity in all interactions with customers and a clear direction around expectations of behaviour in-store are all some of the ways Brands can make sure that their sales staff are helping Pharmacies and not adding to their pressure.

C. Create engaging, easy to use product training and reward the staff

In-store training is likely to be greatly reduced as Pharmacies have do more with less. Therefore, it is essential that your Brand has good training material and that where possible, you are rewarding the Pharmacy staff when they undertake the training.

Make the training easy to find on the web and most importantly make the content interesting and engaging with ideally some selling tips for the staff to help them feel confident talking to customers about your product.

D. Pharmacy-only or Pharmacy-exclusive Brands

Brands can strengthen their relationship with Pharmacies, support their success, and ensure the continued growth of Pharmacy-only brands, by making sure their Brands offer:

  • A point of difference
  • Good margins
  • Incentivised Education and Training
  • Clever Point of Sale
  • A clear reason for consumers to go back into Pharmacy.

If a Brand can’t offer offer Pharmacy-only brands, then offer exclusive deals and promotions specifically for Pharmacies. These could include discounted pricing, bundle offers or special incentives for training Pharmacy staff. These exclusive deals will create a sense of value for both the Pharmacy and its customers.

Need more help?

We hope these ideas will help your Brand make the 60-day dispensing transition. If you’d like to learn more about how Alita Sales can partner with your Brand please reach out and contact us.

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