6 Principles for Increasing Sales in Your Pharmacy

chalkboard_-_6_PrinciplesHave you ever been in a Nordstrom store when they are having a sale?  It’s always packed.  Trying on a pair of shoes is like waiting in line for tickets to a sold out concert and there’s a hint of frenzy in the air that leads me to believe one might need self-defense training to assure successful purchase of a coveted item. 

The question is why are these sales so popular?  The discounts aren’t particularly earth-shattering.  You can get many of the same items online and other retailers that have sales all the time never seem quite as busy.  The answer lies in the psychology behind the sale.  You see, Nordstrom only has something like 5 sales a year, so it’s a big deal when they start marking things down. 

People are built to respond to this kind of tactic, as well as several others.  We have some psychological ticks that savvy retailers use.   In the book “Influence”, author Robert Caialdini provides us with 6 principles that we can use to get people to say yes. If you aren’t familiar with these principles, it’s time to get to know them.  And if you’ve heard about them before, it’s definitely time to think about how to leverage these principles to boost sales in your pharmacy. 

Scarcity is one of the tactics that Nordstrom uses by having only a handful of sales every year. It’s the equivalent of forbidden fruit.  We want what we can’t have, and we can’t help it.  So the normally apathetic consumer is pushed into action by the thought that they might miss out on a special deal.  When you have sales in your pharmacy you can take advantage of this instinct in a couple of ways.  First, don’t make sales the norm in your pharmacy.  Even if you run regular specials, make sure that there are certain departments that rarely go on sale.  You can also limit the quantity of an item that a customer is allowed to purchase at the sale price to help create a sense of urgency.  If you carry seasonal product make sure to post signage that the products are only in store for a limited time. 

Commitment & Consistency simply means that people are more likely to be consistent in their habits and actions if they have some skin in the game.  We don’t generally want to announce something publicly and then go back on our word.  So to take advantage of this you have to entice your customers to commit to you.  Get them to like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, leave a positive comment on Yelp, sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your blog.   Your customers won’t be likely to shop at another retailer after they’ve announced how great your pharmacy is to their circle of friends, family and co-workers. 

Reciprocity states that when we receive something, we feel obliged to return the gesture.  Buy one get one free promotions (set these up in your POS system for an easy checkout process) are great for taking advantage of this.  Also, providing a free sample of something is a wonderful way to encourage people to buy that product.  Also, implementing a customer loyalty program where purchases are tracked through your pharmacy POS system and customers are rewarded for money spent is a great way to keep the cycle going.  You can also do something as simple and cost effective as providing a newsletter or health guide that you create with a qualifying purchase. 

People also respond well to Authority.  It’s why drug companies utilize “doctor” testimonials in their advertisements and lotions have labels like “dermatologist recommended”.   This is where your professional expertise comes into play. Check out this article on leveraging staff recommendations in your independent pharmacy.  You can tie your recommendations in with promotions.  Take advantage of the concept of scarcity by making sales on your recommended items rare events. 

Social proof means that we like what other people like.  For this reason it’s even more important to encourage your customers to share their good experiences.  Be involved on social media platforms and share customer feedback on your website.  If you check out our website you’ll find an entire page dedicated to testimonials from customers using RMS’ pharmacy POS system.  These testimonials reflect how our solutions are helping some of the best pharmacy retailers in the country become even more successful.

Last but not least, we come to Liking.  This is exactly what it sounds like.  We are more likely to make purchases, or say yes instead of no, if we like the person or company we are interacting with.  Check out these 4 ways to make customers love your pharmacy.

If you can learn, love, and live these principles, you’ll be well on your way to running a more successful independent pharmacy.