As a specialist designer and shop-fitting company for the pharmacy and medical sector across Australia, I would like to share with you what we see working well to maximise foot traffic and sales in retail pharmacies.
- Choose the right location
- Analyse your target audiences
- Create a store that suits your customers’ needs
- Add value
Here are some factors to consider.
The right location
- How competitive is the location?
- Are you anchored by a medical centre or hospital?
- How visible is your store?
- Is there adequate parking nearby?
- What is the volume of foot traffic and is this guaranteed in the long term? Ie. what lease arrangements are in place with major shopping destinations such as Woolworths or Coles?
- What are the ages and stages of the people who live within 5km of your store?
- What are their requirements?
- What is their capacity to spend?
- Do they want scripts only, advice or services?
- Have you spoken with local GPs to understand the type of medical conditions in the area?
- Have you talked to other retailers, allied health professionals or your local medical association to understand the profile of your area?
The right type of store
- Do you need a ‘hole in the wall’ script dispensary, large store with multiple services and zones, a franchise outlet, an independent family store or a budget store?
- What will work best in your local area?
- What is the most profitable model for you?
- What functionality does your store require?
- How much space do you need?
- What technology will you require?
- How much access will your pharmacists have with your customers?
- How quickly will you be able to dispense medication?
- What other services / advice can you offer?
- What will create repeat purchase and visits to the store?
- What convenience products can you offer to increase the value of each transaction?
Over the last 20 years I have seen numerous trends in pharmacy. There are three main ones at present:
- Pharmacists setting up their own independent banners
- Independent stores becoming community health hubs
- Stores downsizing to offer scripts only
And an emerging fourth trend … pharmacies of different shapes and sizes experimenting with convenience products.
Independent banners are being set up by pharmacists who want to own and operate their own business. They are finding that multiple stores can create buying power and increase the margins of retail products. This is especially relevant when stores are closely located.
Community health hubs are generating strong customer loyalty and repeat purchase by offering professional services relevant to their local demographic. From baby weighing to medication and health checks, customers value the free access to health professionals which creates a ‘reason to visit’. These services also help to protect stores from competitors including supermarkets.
Script-only stores work well in high traffic areas. They are easy to enter, small, attractive sites with compact design and efficient storage systems. Busy customers can speak with a pharmacist and pick up a script quickly. Social media is proving to be a popular marketing strategy for these stores.
Convenience products are responding to consumer demand for ‘more products from fewer locations’ and increasing the competitiveness of pharmacies against supermarkets. Consumers are buying less more often and these retail outlets are capitalising on the ‘one stop shop’ opportunity by offering products often found in service stations.
Coral Coast Pharmacies – seven banner stores in the Bundaberg region
- New 412m2 store with 34 off-street car parks
- Involved detailed planning and advice to create new store innovations
- Clever layout required to maximise traffic flow and increase visibility of retail products
- Willach dispensing systems
- Workflow stations reducing customer waiting times
- Re-configurable, multi-purpose rooms for consulting, professional services and training
- Customer loyalty program
- Napoleon Perdis makeup display
- Consistent branding and customer information via in-store TV, catalogues, posters and brochure
- Gondola stands at eye-height, wide aisles for mobility, target lighting and shorter end displays for maximum product display
- Online orders and home delivery
- Compounding laboratory
- Provision for Consis robotic dispenser system
- Workspaces for medication packing team, sales support and medication review team to encourage collaboration
- Increased access to pharmacists
- Increased capacity for professional services (MedsChecks, sleep studies, naturopath, blood pressure, weight, asthma and diabetes management, compounding for other pharmacies, Napolean Perdis events)
- Increased sales opportunities
- Consistent branding to create store identity and loyalty
- Finalist for Pharmacy of the Year at APP 2013
“Our new Pharmacy is brilliant and our retail sales have increased by 73%,” Coral Coast Pharmacies.
- Study your local area to know who your customers are and what they want
- Decide which model is best for you and best for your customers – well known banner, local independent, scripts only or one-stop-convenience shop
- Give access to pharmacists and increase customer engagement – that and the drugs fight the threat of supermarkets
- Link with medical centres and hospitals
- Offer professional services that create reasons for customers to keep coming back
- Analyse your need for an automated dispensing system
- Consider social media as a marketing strategy (if relevant to your audience)
- Make sure your branding is consistent to create store identity and loyalty
- Remember that better-designed stores make more money