A few steps toward cost reduction and enhanced profits can make a difference for your pharmacy’s bottom line over time.
Sell, Sell, Sell
Non-prescription sales add to your total revenue and have become vital to pharmacy success. That means you will want to have team members who enjoy the sales side of the business. You may have to provide these employees with some training and incentives, but they should understand how to help the customer find products, offer suggestions on new products, and support your overall sales. Upselling can also occur at the checkout counter with both product placement and suggestions about an “item of the day” or a complementary product. Let your team know selling is a part of their job description and that front-end product margins strengthen your profits. Also, to encourage impulse purchases, be sure to keep your retail inventory refreshed in terms of the seasons and the trends.
Track Overall Expenses
Tracking your expenses accurately is the first step to reducing them. Take a close look at the supplies, OTC medications, and retail items you stock. It can take time to negotiate with vendors who are providing your merchandise, but negotiations could lead to financial benefits. Savings behind the pharmaceutical counter can come through finding a distributor that supports your efforts to decrease costs on both maintenance drugs and keep you informed of specials and short-dated drugs.
Know Your Marketing Results
You’ll want to know the numbers related to your overall expenses and your regular marketing efforts. Choose marketing that comes with measurable results. Then you can eliminate any promotions that might be ineffective. Marketing that doesn’t drive results is usually a waste of money. The exception to this rule might be brand marketing in the community that is done to simply demonstrate your community commitment.
Practice Smart Purchasing
Your primary and secondary wholesalers should want you to succeed. Since inventory is your greatest expense, it is directly related to your profit. If you are saving money on prescription purchases, you are making more profit. Comparing prices is one way to spend less on inventory though it can be time-consuming. A wholesaler who will help you analyze your inventory costs – at no charge to you – could show you some areas where saving is possible.
From the shingles vaccine to the flu shot, vaccine services are another revenue producer for the pharmacy. Plus, the customer who comes in for an immunization could make a retail purchase during their visit. Both community pharmacies and chain drugstores now offer these programs, so if your pharmacy is still considering this service, it’s probably time to take action. Don’t forget about vaccinations for travelers as a revenue stream!
Promote Your Niche Products
A niche program could help you differentiate your business. For example, you could carry specialty drugs if you are prepared to invest in them. Other niche services to consider include diabetes care, medication therapy management, compounding, and veterinary care.
Keep Your Cash-Pay Patients
Customers who pay cash for prescriptions are usually shopping around. Periodically check to see if you are competitive when it comes to cash payments. You will have to balance offering low cash prices with making a profit on these sales. When a customer says you are higher than a nearby pharmacy on a drug, be sure to verify this and make changes if needed, and if possible.
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