Pharmacy organizations, corporations, pharmacy publications and individuals provide Independent Pharmacy Owners a wealth of information on how to succeed by publishing how-to books, hold forums, seminars and post blogs. However, some may find it unusual that they seldom discuss the essential physical attributes outside the four walls that can make or break a business.
Does the exterior of your pharmacy matter? Of course it matters a great deal. Chain drug stores have invested millions of dollars for a prime corner lot and building. Is that a wise investment? It must be or they wouldn’t have repeated it thousands of times. Certainly, most independents cannot afford to pay millions but they should attempt to secure a good location that provides convenience. Why? Because studies have shown that convenience is the very first thing that a potential customer considers when selecting a retail business. A successful business must continuously attract new customers.
- Private parking is much more appealing than public parking. Knowing that a parking space will be available, although farther away, often influences a customer to be drawn to private parking. Strip shopping centers may be the only choice initially. Once the pharmacy becomes profitable, it will be in your best interest to consider a free-standing building with easy ingress and egress.
- Outdoor signage is paramount. Exposure and Visibility are huge factors in today’s fast moving society. It is more important to expose the type of business than the name itself. For example, DRUG STORE or PHARMACY should be much larger than the name itself and in easy-to-read block letters, not script. Sign ordinances will restrict the size of the sign so be wise and let passersby know that you operate a pharmacy. The exterior of your pharmacy is the first representation of what the customer expects to find inside. It is important that your pharmacy is seen by those who are not looking for a pharmacy. Mental impressions are enormous. Most of us know where all the McDonalds are located in our hometown.
- Drive-thru windows are popular just about everywhere. Some supermarkets have added a drive-thru window at the Rx department. It’s easily understood why it would be much better for all customers to come inside but that is not realistic. A drive-thru window can increase the Rx business by as much as 25%. If you select a space in a small strip center, first try to lease an end unit, if possible, that will accommodate a drive-thru window. You can add a pamphlet inside each pick-up bag that outlines the services and departments you offer. Perhaps they will come inside their next visit.
Why are the above so important? Americans move, on average, every 8-10 years, to another state, town or community. Furthermore, others will age out. Therefore, you must replace 100% of your existing customers in that time frame just to stay even. If potential customers do not readily see you, they may never know how great you are.