With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, healthcare professionals are preparing for an intense flu season. Flu season has the potential to overtax the already strained healthcare system, limited hospital capacities and medical professionals. Health and wellness are at the forefront of patients’ minds, and the flu is being taken more seriously than years past.
Independent pharmacies have an opportunity to provide critical healthcare services and education to the patients in their communities. Offering flu shots, vitamins, supplements, and educational materials can all help protect patients from the flu. Keep reading for more information on preparing your independent pharmacy for flu season in 2020.
Promote the Flu Shot
If your pharmacy provides vaccines and immunization services, flu season is an important time to educate patients. You also have considerable potential to earn increased revenue during this time by promoting your immunization program. Focus your marketing efforts on flu shots during this time to get the word out to all your customers.
Increase Marketing Efforts
While people may have the best intentions for getting a flu shot, it can easily slip their mind. Remind patients as often as possible that your pharmacy offers flu shots. Print flyers to include in shopping bags or hand out with every purchase, update your website with relevant information on the flu shot, and add signage around your store for available flu shots. Don’t forget to promote flu shots on your various social media platforms as well.
Target Specific Audiences
Create specific materials to promote the flu shot for targeted audiences. In addition to information for the general public, focus on families and children, healthcare workers, patients with high-risk conditions, pregnant women, etc. Patients may pay more attention to your flu shot offerings if the information and advertising is targeted specifically to their needs.
Utilize your entire staff during flu season to promote the flu shot, including pharmacy technicians and cashiers. When customers pick up prescriptions, request refills, or make a purchase, ask your staff to remind them about the flu shot. Strong recommendations, especially from a pharmacist, can resonate with patients. Keep a list handy of the insurance or government plans that offer zero-dollar copays for flu shots as further incentive for patients to get their flu shot without delay.
Hold a Flu Shot Event
Raise awareness in your community by hosting a flu shot event. Dedicate a day or two to complete flu shots. Bring in extra staff to handle additional traffic in the store and set up clear lines and socially distanced waiting areas for flu shot administration. Promote the event on your website and social media, as well as flyers, signage, and local advertising.
Encourage patients to get their flu shot and shop in your store. Consider offering a coupon for OTC items or the front of your store when patients get a flu shot. This tactic can help boost your revenue with both flu shots and OTC items.
Stock OTC Items
There are a variety of vitamins and supplements that can help boost the immune system and keep patients healthy during flu season. Consider stocking extra of these items, like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Zinc, during flu season to meet extra demand. Provide recommendations for patients on ways to stay healthy during flu season when they check out or pick up a prescription. Consider creating displays of hygiene products to draw customer attention and boost front-end sales, including soap, hand sanitizer, and face masks applicable to both the flu and COVID-19.
Provide In-Store Informational Items
Patients trust the knowledge and insight of their pharmacists. Information from a licensed pharmacist can go a long way with patients, even if they are not ready to get their flu shot in-store that day. Have informational materials on-hand, like brochures or flyers, that patients can take with them. Patients may have questions about the safety of the flu shot during COVID-19 or how the flu shot will impact their health, and pharmacists should be available to provide answers or informational materials. By arming your patients with the knowledge, they need, you can better protect their health during flu season.