Why your Pharmacy Needs to Capture the Business of the Millennial Generation

rms-pharmacy-pos-millenial_family.jpgMillennial.  That’s an insult right?  It’s probably the most harshly viewed generation of our time.  It’s that group of people born between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s.  Some millennial’s clearly remember their first computer and that screechy dial up sound.  Some don’t clearly remember a time before iPhone’s.  The popular theory about millennials in most articles I’ve read is that they are lazy, corporate ladder climbing, couch surfing heathens. Traditionally, millennial’s haven’t been anything to worry about in the retail sector.  A blip on the radar. Not worth marketing or catering to.  

Maybe as an independent pharmacy, the importance of paying attention to a millennial customer base is further ignored.  A majority of customers are not likely to be a part of this younger generation.  After all, in 2014, there were an estimated 76.4 million baby boomers in the United States.  That really does seem like the market to go after with everything you’ve got on our plate.  And if you think that, you wouldn’t be wrong, unless you think you can completely dismiss the 80 million millennial’s that currently reside in the United States.  You know, the ones that are expected to be spending $200 billion annually by 2017?  And while it’s probable that millennial’s don’t have as many prescriptions to fill as older generations, they certainly do still get sick.  They still need flu shots, vitamins, skin care products, basic first-aid necessities.  Pretty much the things a good portion of the rest of your customers need.  So why do so many businesses ignore the millennial generation?

With the buying power that millennials command, it’s important to think about how you can attract, retain and delight a millennial customer base.  If you’ve yet to make a New Year’s Resolution for your pharmacy, look no further.

The first step is understanding some of the basic characteristics of the millennial generation.  This is a great article on what millennials are looking for.  Here are some important takeaways when it comes to earning millennial business in independent retail pharmacy.

Technology is important – The first iPod was released in 2001.  The iPhone in 2007.  For millennials, smart, easy to use technology has been around for their entire adult lives.  What’s more, they grew up in a world that is full of ever changing, ever improving technology. It’s important to remember this when you are trying to provide a memorable customer service experience to a millennial audience.  Using a POS system that’s outdated won’t make much of an impression.  Using technology that’s modern both in functionality and form factor will.  Remember that to millennials, mobile has been a way of life, well, all their lives.  To them, it’s not even really cutting edge.  But because use of mobile technology in retail is not the norm, finding it being utilized to make their experience better in an independent retail pharmacy will be memorable, to say the least. 

Millennials are social – This generation grew up in an era of social app hype.  Whether they are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or all of the above, chances are that they are somewhat active on at least one social media platform.  This means that they share their experiences. They don’t casually tell friends and family about a good or bad experience over dinner, where maybe it will stick and maybe it won’t. They share it via social media.  They write reviews in apps like Yelp, Amazon, and Trip Advisor.  And it stays around.  For not only their friends to see, but the friends of their friends.  And here’s the real kicker – Millennials are extremely social with their parents, so now you’re bringing yet another generation into the mix.  This means the level of service you give a Millennial is shared with their parents!  Your takeaway here?  Make sure you are active on social media platforms.  There’s two major reasons for this.  First, you need to know what people are saying about your business online, so that you can respond to it, make improvements, and show that you do care about and use feedback.  Second, millennials like to interact with the businesses and brands they purchase from, so becoming a part of their social circle can help you to earn their loyalty.

Share what your business is about – Believe it or not, millennials care about values.  Specifically, the values of businesses.  Earning the loyalty of a millennial customer is less about price and more about what your business stands for.  Make sure that you share the good things your pharmacy does for its community and that your mission statement is easy to find and reflective of the products, services, and experiences that you provide. 

Of course, just like the bad press that’s been spouted about millennials in recent years, these are all generalizations.  Not all members of any group will conform to specific standards.  The great thing is that nothing you do to try to earn millennial business is likely to drive other customers away.  And no business can afford to ignore the importance of pleasing the millennial generation any longer.  When you are ready to take that next step and take your pharmacy technology, and your business, to the next level, we’ll be happy to assist!