|Pharmacy Practice, Retail Excellence, and Business Success: Thoughts from an Independent Pharmacist||| Print ||
While in Seattle for the 2011 American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting, I had the privilege of visiting Beverly Schaefer, R.Ph., at her Katterman's Sand Point Pharmacy. Also along was Stacey Swartz, Pharm.D., co-owner of Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray in Alexandria, Va., which opened in 2009. Schaefer is well-known among her colleagues both for her dedication to building an innovative pharmacy practice and for her skill at making Katterman's an enjoyable and unique retail destination in the community. Schaefer was more than happy to talk shop and offer some advice on how Swartz might improve her new and growing practice, even while pausing greet her customers and patients by name and to help them.
Here's some of what I heard as I listened in on this conversation between colleagues.
-Will Lockwood, Senior Editor
Beverly Schaefer on clinical services...
"Sell your clinical services to your customers, not to payers or doctors. If customers want the services, they'll pay for them. We have built a health business in flu and travel vaccines and bone density scans, for example, by meeting the demand for these services in our community."
"It's important for us to have a professional website, with good searchable words for marketing our clinical services. We thought very carefully about what we want our website to accomplish and exactly how to organize it and lay it out." (To see what Beverly means, visit www.kattermans.com/immunizations.php)
"We've made our homepage more dynamic by integrating a Twitter feed into it. We got started with this in response to the demand for information about H1N1 vaccines. We still use Twitter regularly, but we don't worry about having a constant stream of information. We use it when we have something we want to communicate." (See www.kattermans.com/index.php)
"The information we provided about H1N1 availability and the fact that we were the only pharmacy able to provide the vaccine to children under three led to us having a line of 1,200 people one Saturday morning. We had to be careful to manage the crowd's expectations, because we only had 800 doses of the vaccine. But we worked hard and efficiently to serve as many people as we could."
"Our goal for 2011 is to develop more collaborative care agreements with other healthcare providers in our area."
On making Katterman's a shopping destination...
"Get yourself a good logo and theme color and use them. One way we do this is with our private-label OTC items. These not only allow us to offer unique items to our customers, they are also a great place for our Katterman's label and color. The items and the branding give us a signature and keep people coming back."
Beverly Schaefer by an endcap display featuring Katterman's private-label items.
The Katterman's logo and signature purple.
"We also use our theme color, purple, on our shopping baskets, and we built our own front checkout counter with purple laminate countertops."
"Speaking of shopping baskets, we prefer shoebox-sized baskets, as opposed to the grocery-store-sized baskets. We have them in several places around the store. People buy more when they have a basket, and I believe our customers prefer this smaller size."
Katterman's shopping baskets are a simple way that Schaefer extends the store's branding and offers her customers convenience.
"We have an emphasis in our OTC area on foot and wound care. We offer compression hose, and dry-cast protectors. We offer a wide selection in all sizes, and we carefully select the lines we carry so that people can't find them elsewhere."
"We also offer quite a bit of travel-sized stuff and other items such as power converters, and we show these to customers coming in for travel vaccines. This focus on clinical services and retail for travel has really helped us connect with people. We have a collection of bookmarks that people have brought back for us as souvenirs of their trips."
Beverly Schaefer in Katterman's travel vaccination area, which features a display of bookmarks, at left, brought in as gifts from patients for whom she provided travel vaccinations.
"Our goal is to make every trip to the pharmacy an adventure, and for our customers to have a sense of excitement and anticipation about shopping here."
"Our website is designed to give you a feel for the kinds of surprising items you can find at Katterman's." (See www.kattermans.com/gifts.php and www.kattermans.com/unexpected.php)
"Every year I try to find the item that I think is going to be a big hit for the holidays. Once we've got it, we talk about it with our customers and build anticipation for when we put the item on sale. People love it, and we sell out of our holiday specials every year."