A lot of smaller pharmacy retailers have suffered business losses and reverses that are directly related to the impact of the biggest chain stores (such as Wal-Mart, Costco and No-Frills). Since these stores have in-house pharmacies that offer clients easy access to prescription medications, health aids, and other health care services (such as free blood pressure tests, etc.), they are often very appealing to many modern consumers.
To examine the relationship between chain store pharmacies and smaller, independent pharmacies, we’ve compiled a helpful top ten list that outlines the effect that the big retailers have on the “little guys”.
10.) Big Drugstores Offer More Convenience – Since these chain pharmacies are right inside of huge department stores that feature every kind of inventory (from fishing rods to sewing notions to basic grocery items), shopping at chain drugstores is really convenient. While it’s true that smaller pharmacies are less overwhelming for some clients (who may prefer quiet, more personalized service), many people do enjoy getting their prescriptions filled at chain pharmacies while they shop for other items, and they don’t mind the hustle and bustle of these retail outlets.
9.) Big Pharmacies Buy in Bulk – Because chain pharmacies have more capital to play with, they are able to buy goods in bulk and to pay a lower price per item; in most cases, they pass these savings on to their customers. Usually, the appealing prices of the biggest pharmacies’ inventories are hard to beat, and many a smaller drugstore has been pushed out of business due to the low, low prices of chain pharmacies.
8.) Chain Pharmacies May Be Open Late at Night – Many customers seek out pharmacy services outside of regular business hours due to their busy work schedules and hectic lifestyles. Sometimes, chain pharmacies located inside of huge chain stores are able to stay open later to serve more clients; smaller pharmacies may not be able to offer the same extended store hours to their clients (due to the cost of labor, etc.)
7.) Big Drugstores Get Tons of Publicity – Independent pharmacies will likely have some money to spend on advertising and other marketing initiatives; however, they will not be able to match the publicity budgets of the big chain pharmacies, and this means that the “big guys” will get way more media attention.
6.) Big Pharmacies May Offer More Guarantees – Money-back guarantees and other assurances of quality and great customer service may be offered by big chain pharmacies, as these big businesses can afford to lose a little money through returns and so on. Smaller pharmacies just don’t have that sort of money to lose, so they may not be able to offer the same iron-clad guarantees.
5.) Chain Drugstores Appeal to All Ages – Since people from all demographics and walks of life shop at chain stores, such as Wal-Mart, in-house pharmacies have instant access to clients of all ages and backgrounds.
4.) Little Drugstores Must Offer Something Different – Since big drugstores have low prices and a host of other appealing features, independent pharmacies must offer something different, and this usually means ultra-personalized service. Getting to know clients and training staff to spend more time meeting their needs and wants is an important part of competing against a chain pharmacy.
3.) Small Drugstores Should Carve Niches Online – To compete with the “big box” chain stores, small drugstores may want to consider opening up new streams of income online. Virtual storefronts that offer pharmaceuticals and health aids are great ways to find more business and build profits.
2.) Social Media Will Allow the “Little Guy” to Build More Visibility – While the big chain pharmacies will probably always dominate in every marketing channel, smaller players may gain traction online by devoting themselves to social media marketing. This low-cost method of creating a buzz is a great way to make an impact without spending a fortune of advertising.
1.) Independent Pharmacies Must Have Professional Websites – Chain store pharmacies will always have great websites that are carefully designed to attract clients. To compete, smaller drugstore owners should hire Web development firms to design and optimize their websites.
As you can see, larger drugstores have a significant impact on independent pharmacies; however, the savviest small-pharmacy owners always learn how to accentuate their drugstores’ strengths. They often carve out online niches (such as online pharmacies) that earn them more business and more income.