We find specific marketing campaigns of little use, as the success of leaflet drops and advertising are very difficult to assess. However, where we have recently upgraded premises, we have provided more seating at the expense of OTC sales space and in several locations have installed a free coffee vending machine. This has had a surprisingly positive impact on prescription volume, but with little impact on OTC sales. I guess it goes to show that patients value a professional atmosphere, as well as an efficient service.
David Evans, WR Evans (Chemist) Ltd t/a Manor Pharmacy
Here at Whithorn Pharmacy we have our own Facebook page. It is updated regularly advertising services, products, advice and links to other healthcare sites. We also have an in-store TV screen which promotes services. We set up mini videos to advertise seasonal services, eg flu vaccines. I have also been out talking to local groups about pharmacy and what we can offer them. Word of mouth is a great tool and we have had more footfall as a result.
Fiona McElrea, Whithorn Pharmacy
I have visited local businesses to carry out flu vaccinations and blood glucose screening. This is a good way of raising awareness of what pharmacy does.
Sid Dajani, Wainwrights Chemists, Bishopstoke
We have tried various things over the last twelve months to market to our patients. We have had fortnightly newspaper adverts, and when Pharmacy2U mail shots in our area we’ve produced joint flyers and run radio advertising with the other independent pharmacy in our town. We have also sponsored local events such as the carnival and have been involved with Macmillan tea morning and Christmas jumper national charity days. However, these are quite costly and in the current difficult financial climate we are reducing our spend in all these areas. Our new engagement with customers will be via social media. Around 18 months ago we ran Facebook competitions for people to win items such as cosmetics or hair dryers,and this approach will be revisited when our Alphega remerchandising is completed.
Nick Kaye, Narrowcliff Pharmacy, Newquay
We have launched a number of new initiatives to help engage with our customers across our small group of pharmacies. We’ve launched delivery of retail products with prescription medications. We also offer our customers a lot of ways to order repeat prescriptions (face to face in branch, telephone, email, through our website and our app). With our ‘recommend a friend’ offer, we ask our regular customers to recommend our service to a neighbour and a friend. We have also developed a training programme directed at care home staff to help retain and grow our care home side of the business.
Ashley D Cohen, Pharm-Assist (Healthcare), Leeds
What we have done recently to market our pharmacy is to concentrate on one specific area – the repeat prescription collection and delivery service. Before, patients could phone us or leave their repeat request slips in the pharmacy, but we are now promoting repeat ordering via a dedicated repeats email address. Patients can order anytime, 24/7. We will send an email when their prescription is ready to collect from the pharmacy or, if they are on a delivery system, advise them when their medication will be delivered.
Dilip Patel, Mirage Pharmacy, Handsworth