Last week, we talked about preparing your pharmacy business for the rest of the year. Things like contingency planning, disaster preparedness, and some essential reports to review.
Also, on the list for this time of year should be seasonal preparation. And no, I don’t mean the holiday season just yet. It’s another important season for pharmacies. Cold & Flu Season.
According to the CDC, over 190 million flu vaccine doses were distributed in the 2020-21 season. A flu vaccine record! That’s a lot of customers coming into pharmacies during a relatively short span of time.
While the COVID-19 vaccine and booster programs have been keeping pharmacies busy, it’s still important to help patients prepare for the upcoming cold & flu season. Whether patients are coming in for their COVID vaccine, flu shot, or just picking up their usual prescription, you can help them make the most of their visit and hopefully stay healthy with these top tips. .
Even with record distribution of the vaccine, estimates show that the 2020-21 flu season resulted in about 50-55% of adults and 58% of children being vaccinated. Promote your flu shot hours, provide documentation of the benefits, or just talk to people about why they aren’t getting vaccinated. Make it a habit to ask every patient if they have received their flu shot yet to get the conversation started.
No matter how much you educate, not everyone will get that flu shot. And even those that do still need to be prepared for common colds and other viruses. Put together baskets with everything a patient needs to try and stay healthy. Hand sanitizer, vitamins, tissue, face masks, even a cookbook on healthy eating. Health and Wellness are big topics with lots of sales opportunities. Roll a flu shot in and you have an easy, highly marketable Cold and Flu Season Wellness Package. *Hint: Your pharmacy POS system can bundle all the separate items together into a basket so that only one item has to be entered for all of the different components to be removed from inventory*
No matter how well you prepare your customers, some of them are going to get sick this season. A cold and flu end cap will make it easy for patients to get everything they need without really having to think about it. This is especially important as customers try to shop quickly and minimize trips. You’ll also drive impulse purchases this way as customers will be more likely to try new remedies. If you have enough floor space, you could have a separate end cap for prevention products as well as children’s medicine.
There are so many different products to choose from these days. Which medication will alleviate my symptoms but not make me drowsy? What vitamins or supplements can I take with this prescription? Help your patients choose the right OTC medication. They’ll associate a good outcome and satisfaction with the product with your store. They feel better and you earn their repeat business. It’s win/win!
You can also maximize recommendations by implementing a Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion Counselling program. Using point-of-sale integration you can easily identify drug induced nutrient depletions and make supplement recommendations accordingly.
Consider incentives for your loyalty customers or a unique BOGO promotion. Have a loyalty program promotion day where members get double points for wellness products or cold medications. Or set up a promotion where buying a full size hand sanitizer or box of Kleenex gets you a free travel size.
Big box pharmacies may be able to give flu shots, but they are not likely to personalize the shopping experience. I hope some of these tips will help you make the most out of this season and lead to happier healthier customers. If you decide to implement any of these ideas, I would love to hear how they work out for you.