Retail 101 will tell you that there are 3 major types of purchases. Planned, impulse and companion. We all know all about planned shopping. We go with lists in hand to retailers of all kinds. But sometimes, something happens, and our well planned lists go out the window. Most of the time, your impulse purchases may be limited to that unplanned pint of ice cream at the grocery store, or decadent breakfast pastry when you stop for your morning coffee. Every once in a while though, something bigger happens. Like the time I was looking for a new throw rug and ended up buying new laminate flooring to go with it. But even though I wasn’t planning on those extra purchases, it doesn’t mean that somebody else wasn’t planning on catching someone exactly like me. Something strategic in each situation helped nudge me in a different direction. But how? Let’s take a closer look at each major purchase type and figure out how you can drive those sales in your pharmacy.
Planned: Okay, it seems like if someone comes into your pharmacy, planning on purchasing a specific item, it should be a done deal. Right? Not so fast. There are a few key things you need to consider when it comes to planned purchases to make sure that the customer doesn’t walk out the door empty handed. While you don’t know for sure what every person that walks into your store might be looking for, you can make sure that your shelves are well stocked with what you do carry and use your point-of-sale system to identify best sellers. It also helps to have aisles clearly labeled and shelves stickered with up to date correct pricing. Again, integration of pricing and shelf labels through your POS system can be critical to make sure what’s labeled on the shelf matches what comes up when you scan that product. Make sure employees are trained to greet customers as they enter your pharmacy and able to direct them to whatever specific product they might be looking for.
Impulse: These types of purchase may be a little bit tougher to drive and track, but it can be done. When I bought new flooring on an impulse, it was a sale item, placed in the same aisle as the throw rugs. Definitely not a coincidence as a major reason many people buy throw rugs is to cover up ugly flooring. So step one, be strategic about the layout of your store. Put eye catching gift near the store entrance or next to a department that already gets heavy traffic. Put smaller items and non-necessities like candy close to your checkout counter. Also, think about adding some in-store advertising to bring customers attention to specific items. I wrote about one of my favorite ways to do this last summer. The tougher part may be figuring out what’s working and what’s not. Again, this is where your pharmacy POS system comes into play. Keep track of what departments you are making changes to and what date you made the change. Then track sales each week to find out whether or not you’re seeing an increase in that department. Every pharmacy, community and customer base is different so don’t get discouraged if the first thing you try doesn’t gain immediate results.
Companion: Some things just go together. Like wine and cheese or tortilla chips and salsa. Likewise, there are products that go together in your pharmacy. Like cold medicine and Kleenex for example. Promoting sales of these “yin and yang” items is a relatively simple but effective way to boost sales. Offer Buy One Get One promotions in order to boost sales of specific items, or pairings of items. Again, use your POS system to identify your best sellers and then brainstorm some items that you might logically pair with those popular products. Discounts don’t have to be huge, just enough to entice someone to purchase a companion item that they weren’t necessarily planning on. You can also use this same theory to create “baskets” of items that can be sold under one item heading.
When all is said and done, increasing your efficiency in each of these primary sales areas will help to increase your profits and growth. And proper use of your pharmacy technology and point-of-sale system is a vital part of identifying opportunities within your store for improvement in all departments and sales types. Give us a call today to find out how pharmacy POS can give your pharmacy a new edge.
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.