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How to turn shoppers into pharmacy customers

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Amy Callahan

There’s never been a more critical time to start turning your shoppers into pharmacy customers. With the 900-pound gorilla, Amazon.com, lurking around the corner ready to pounce on the $500 billion drug industry, drug stores, mass merchants and supermarkets need a plan of action, and they need it now. Amazon has the ability with its broad delivery capabilities to undercut the major benefit national drug stores own — convenience.

A study by IBM way back in 2006 revealed that driving sales hinged on the importance of identifying and leveraging advocates for the pharmacy. The three drivers of pharmacy loyalty — store experience, customer service and convenience — are a recipe for success with advocates. Why? Give your advocates something to love about your store and they will gladly spread the news. Even better is the ultimate advocate, the social influencer.

Today health is social

I’m sure you have used “Dr. Google” at some point. You’re not alone. Shoppers are using social media to find like-minded people to share ideas, experiences and recommendations. Influencers leverage their human connections and social to drive product trial through relevant stories. They weave meaningful, often emotional and pragmatic information around interactions with pharmacy staff and products available at the pharmacy and help amplify messages on such seasonal themes as cold, cough and flu season; back-to-school; and “new year, new you” campaigns. Through an influencer’s unique storytelling capabilities, they can help create larger baskets by connecting pharmacy purchases to front-of-store purchases. You can’t wait for shoppers to find you — you need to be where they are and part of the conversation.

Just look at these stats from PwC:

• 32% of U.S. users post about the health experiences of friends/family on social media.

• 29% of patients viewing health information through social media are viewing the experiences of other patients with their disease.

• 24% of all the individuals viewing health care information on social media are viewing health-related videos/images posted by patients.

And people are talking and sharing everything on social: the blow-by-blow of their surgeries, opinions of doctors and health experiences, all in the spirit of being helpful.

Today digital is where shoppers go for information to help with their decisions. A “Think With Google” study showed that 77% of patients have used search for health-related information. So it makes sense that one of the ways a pharmacy can connect with its customers is through social.

Content should be educational

An influencer’s blog content or video content is a great way to educate customers about pharmacy hours and where to find product or promotions. Influencers will break down the information in a digestible, easy-to-understand way. Below are several examples of how influencer content can provide insights and education for often uncomfortable subjects.

Case study: Feminine health

Women’s health is a topic not regularly discussed in the influencer marketplace; however, we saw our influencer’s blog platform as the perfect medium to educate women on the benefits of a new feminine care product.

Inmar Collective Bias’ influencers created blog posts educating their readers on the benefits of the product, common questions about the product, and where to buy it. Influencers were also tasked with promoting a savings offer to drive additional retail commerce.

This approach resulted in over 212,000 content views, 32,500 engagements, 49.4 million impressions and a 2.3x total media value for our client.

Case study: Cold and flu relief

With 93% of U.S. adults treating their minor ailments with over-the-counter medicines before seeking professional care, it is more important than ever for brands to educate consumers on how to use their products in a safe, effective manner.

During peak cold and flu season, Collective Bias’ influencer network created blog and social content focusing on preventing sickness and alleviating cold and flu symptoms. The program also included a social hub that served to aggregate all program content, promotional offers and a store locator. The program resulted in 165,000 content views, 41,000 engagements, 27.2 million impressions and a 2.4x total media value to the client.

Other metrics that were included: average time on content (1:20/view), average time on hub (2.35/view), degree by which category benchmark for engagements was surpassed (330%).

Case study: allergy relief

As more prescription allergy medicines have switched to O-T-C, there has been a clear shift toward these more convenient and affordable options. The number of allergy sufferers who use O-T-Cs has increased from 66% in 2009 to 75% in 2015.

Collective Bias was tasked with helping a prescription allergy medicine transition to O-T-C use. We needed to drive trial of the product, increase awareness about the launch, and educate consumers on the benefits of the product, which was specifically for sleep-impacted allergy sufferers.

Influencers created engaging content and provided creative solutions for being your best self during allergy season. The blog posts were also promoted through paid ads to key geographic locations with high concentrations of allergy sufferers. The program resulted in 67,700 content views, with blog readers spending over two minutes with the content; 8,800 engagements; 33.1 million impressions; and a 1.2x media value.

Amy Callahan is chief client officer at Collective Bias, an Inmar company. She can be contacted at amy.callahan@inmar.com.


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