If you’ve been a frequent reader of this blog, by now you probably know that I tend to avoid big box stores whenever I can. Why? Well there are a hundred reasons that I could list off for you but looking at the big picture, it’s because I believe that experience trumps cost. Of course not all consumers are like me. However, a recent Experian Marketing Services study found that “A store’s environment, the brands it carries, convenience and service were all deemed more important than price for a majority of consumers” and what’s more enlightening is that something like 40% of shoppers in the US aren’t likely to change their shopping habits because of a discount.
The study went on to classify 5 types of shoppers and how deals and discounts are likely to influence their buying behavior. Descriptions of all 5 types can be found in this article, which I highly recommend reviewing to get a good grasp of these different types of “deal seekers”.
Unfortunately, simply understanding the different shopping personas isn’t enough. In order to be successful with the widest range of customers, you need to make sure that your pharmacy meets those special criteria that each type of consumer looks for.
Offline deal-seekers: These shoppers are definitely convenience driven and may choose your store over another simply because it’s a little bit closer. But, if their friends tell them that another store has great deals, you may be in trouble. Keep a close eye on what your competition is doing price wise, especially on your best sellers. If you have sales going, make sure that they are well marked and easy to find in your store. Use your pharmacy POS system to set these promotions and print corresponding shelf talkers and price stickers.
Deal Thrillers: These consumers are a key demographic to get involved in a Customer Loyalty program. This will encourage their habit of buying brand specific, cementing your store as its own specific brand. Plus, the occasional deal or reward for these loyal customers will delight them and help to strengthen that very important consumer to pharmacy relationship.
Deal Takers: Social media and advertisements don’t speak to every key demographic. But there are those that do react to well-placed promotions. A good online presence can win you new customers and help to encourage repeat shoppers. A lack of one could mean that potential new business shops elsewhere and less entrenched customers find new places to shop. It’s important to have something going online in each of the major online outlets. Facebook, Twitter, and your website, as well as advertisements in print or on the radio. This will help you to attract and retain those shoppers that don’t necessarily go looking for discounts, but will abandon your store at a moment’s notice if a better opportunity comes along. Track the dates that you ran specific advertisements and use your pharmacy POS system to pull reports on sales data to see what’s successful in your community and what isn’t.
Deal Indifferents: This large contingency of shoppers is a big reason why just beating your competitors pricing isn’t going to be enough. Focus on other things, such as your service, product selection and other overall convenience factors.
Deal rejectors: If all consumers were in this category, we wouldn’t have so much to worry about when it comes to competing with the big box stores. Focus on service here is key. They aren’t concerned about cost so you’ll need to find another way to stand out from the competition. Stuck on how to improve service in your store? How about adding a mobile register for a more personalized experience. Check consumers out anywhere in the store, offer curbside delivery, or take patients to a quiet corner for check out and counseling.
I know that thinking about tailoring your store to meet the criteria of potential bargain hunters may not seem like the most glamorous prospect. But if this study is right, it doesn’t always take the lowest price to earn loyal customers. If you can show that you understand their views and needs, the experience that your store offers will resonate with consumers and help your pharmacy to grow.
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.