Community pharmacies can often make mistakes with pricing strategies says marketing consultant Trevor Gore. Routinely offering customers a cheaper alternative and offering paracetamol packs for 25p is often not giving what the customer wants and will significantly drive down your returns, he suggested, speaking at the Sigma conference.

“I’m not saying don’t have an own label alternative, but understand what it does – it brings the price down.” Add a three-minute free of charge consultation at the counter to that 25p sale and you are seriously undervaluing your time, he suggested.

With the right approach, the retail part of your business can work hard to make you money, he proposed. Finding additional revenue is important in the light of pharmacy funding cuts, as is driving forward self care.  

Most pharmacy customers (90 per cent) leave with just their prescription research shows, and this is a missed opportunity to do more to help people with their health. Recognise that people do spend money – they are just not currently choosing to spend it with you, said Mr Gore. The average spend per customer in that local Starbucks just down the road, for example, is £665 a year. “Starbucks drive business in the local area ­- some of that could go into your pharmacy.”

A good start is to have shopping baskets available for customers to use, he suggested, something that many pharmacies don't have. 

Once people do start spending with you they will start spreading the word about their good experience, and that will encourage more people to use the pharmacy.

Consider how you can connect with different groups of patients in your pharmacy who need greater clinical support, such as people with diabetes, so that you make more of an impact.

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