It can’t have been that long since I was celebrating the arrival of summer. Stashing my winter clothes and buying strawberries and cherries at the market. But today I’ve got boots on my feet and am eagerly sipping a cup of peppermint tea to try to ward off the November chill. Yes, that’s right, peppermint tea. Because the holiday season is upon us and it’s time to let the festivities begin.
We all probably have our own ways of getting into the holiday spirit. Besides my uncharacteristic sweet tooth, I look forward to wrapping everyone’s gifts each year. (So much so that my mother used to tape all the boxes and let me wrap all of my own presents as a kid). It’s just my personal way of celebrating this time of year. As a small business owner, it’s also important to find ways of being festive in your pharmacy. A vast number of retailers make a high percentage of their revenue during the holiday season and some key reasons for that increase are sharp marketing and promotional events.
If you haven’t outlined your holiday season marketing strategy, (much like I haven’t started writing my holiday shopping list) it really is time to start brainstorming. Here are some tips to get you started.
1) Special Offers– The Sunday papers will soon be stuffed to the brim with circulars from the big box stores. It’s important to get out there with some holiday offers of your own. Remind your community that you are just as viable a shopping spot for unique gifts, wrapping paper and holiday sweets as the chain drug store down the street. One great deal can get customers in your door, and once they’re in, half the battle is already won.
2) Gift cards– Without a doubt, your customers are buying gift cards this holiday season. If you don’t have your own store branded gift cards, you’re missing out. Not only on the sale of the card itself, but on the potential new revenue stream when a non-customer gets a gift card to your store and starts shopping. Check out our blog from a couple weeks back on how to optimize gift card sales in your independent pharmacy.
3) Host an event– A community event can be a great way to raise awareness around your store and what you offer. Have special extended hours one night. Call it an open house and give special deals or have giveaways. Talk to other local business owners and set up a special shop local day in your community.
4) Give back to the community-Especially during the holiday season, people like to know that their money is doing something good for their community. Host a food drive, toy drive, or clothing drive or give a percentage of purchases to charity. This is a great option for customers participating in a customer loyalty program. Instead of giving them money back for purchases made, give that money to charity.
5) Get Social– Make use of Email, Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about your independent pharmacy and your holiday deals. Everyone consumes differently so if you just use one avenue to advertise you’re missing out on all of the customers who prefer to get their information from a different feed. Diversity and repetition is key.
6) Let your store be festive– Throw up some holiday decorations, encourage some fun uniform additions for your staff. If your store is in the holiday spirit, your customers are more likely to be as well.
7) Small Business Saturday– This is becoming very trendy the day after Black Friday for customers to shop local. Advertise the value and benefits of your community shopping in your store. Use social media to discuss what makes you different and talk up the special experiences a customer will receive in your store.
I hope these tips help you to outline a successful marketing strategy for the holiday season. Do you do something unique to encourage sales during the holidays? I’d love to hear from you so comment below!
Article co-written by Brandi Nichols. Brandi is a support specialist for Retail Management Solutions.
Karen Deckard came to RMS with a background in retail and customer service, and was initially brought on board as a Sales Assistant and managed IIAS certifications for RMS’s pharmacy POS customers. Today, Karen works as a Customer Success Manager, striving to provide independent and institutional pharmacies with the tools and resources they need to succeed in today’s competitive pharmacy market.