There is plenty of buzz around the upcoming flu season and how it will impact patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the importance of community pharmacies during this time is not under speculation. As trusted healthcare providers on the front lines, independent pharmacists are crucial when it comes to administering flu shots to their community.  

In addition to flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines, patients will rely heavily on their local pharmacy during cough, cold, and flu season. From OTC products to regular health updates, there are many ways community pharmacies can prepare to support their patients during this time.  


Prepare for Flu Shots 

Administering COVID-19 vaccines has already caused many community pharmacies to update their workflow and modify their daily processes. Now, it is time to factor flu shots into the equation. Your usual workflow or process for administering flu shots may need to be updated to accommodate the changes to your pharmacy.  

TDS_2021_Flu_Season_campaign_inline_image_600x400It is also important to manage your schedule and provide a positive customer experience during this busy time. Patient scheduling tools can help you create vaccination appointments and reduce wait times in the store. When patient scheduling tools are integrated with your pharmacy management system, you can easily keep track of patient data and make reporting more efficient.  


Stock Up on OTC Items 

Flu season also brings a spike in coughs and colds. While many patients will pick up prescription medications during this time, they will also be looking for OTC items. This is a great opportunity for community pharmacies to provide the products their community needs while increasing their OTC business.  

Place popular OTC items on display so they are easy to find, including OTC cold medicine, cough drops, nasal spray, tissues, and vitamins. It is important to review your POS data during this time as well and take note of the best-selling OTC items for your store. You can use your POS reports to optimize inventory during flu season.  


Communicate with Your Community  

Patient communication is key during flu season to keep your community up to date with the latest health information, product availability in your store, and scheduling of flu shots. Update your website, in-store signage, phone message, and social media channels to keep customers in the loop on information, including:  

  • Updated hours of operation  
  • Process for scheduling a flu shot  
  • Patient apps or website for tracking prescriptions  
  • Notices of in-stock or out-of-stock OTC items  


Offer In-Store Incentives  

During flu season, patients are looking for quick and effective solutions for their health problems. Community pharmacies can keep up with big-box chains by offering in-store incentives for loyal customers. There are many ways to reward customers during flu season and keep patients coming back to your store.  

  • Offer a customer loyalty program for repeat visitors 
  • Run a sale on OTC items related to cough, cold, and flu season  
  • Offer coupons or gift cards for patients who receive a flu shot  
  • Have a giveaway or raffle for customers or patients who receive a flu shot  
  • Reward customer referrals with coupons or gift cards  


Ensure Your Community Pharmacy is Always Prepared 

As seasons come and go, there are always plenty of ways community pharmacies can serve their patients. In addition to simple dispensing, it is crucial for independent pharmacies to maintain their OTC inventory, reward loyal customers, and offer an excellent patient experience.  

TDS is proud to offer the tools and services community pharmacies need to take care of their patients during flu season and beyond. Learn more about pharmacy management solutions from TDS at https://www.tdsclinical.com/ 

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