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increasing pharmacy sales
Every conversation in your pharmacy is an opportunity for helping patients further. The more you know about the patient, the better your service gets. This guide explores the best ways for better serving your patients and increasing your revenue in the process

Increasing pharmacy sales requires talking, exemplified no better than market traders whose dialogue with customers is paramount.

Increasing Pharmacy Sales through your existing patients

A question that’s on practically every pharmacy owner’s lips right now is, “How can I increase the revenue and profitability of my pharmacy?”

There are many ways of doing this, and you should browse around similar guides we’ve written on our blog. We usually focus on how digital marketing helps achieve more sales and improve your workflow.

However, in this article we’re going to examine the tactics you employ on the pharmacy floor. You don’t need any new patients for this, you simply need an open mind for a new approach to both cross-selling and upselling.

It’s important to note that at the heart of increasing revenue is great patient care, quality customer service and convenience. We never want to sell a patient anything unnecessary, and we wish to always remain ethical about what we sell.

The difference between Cross-Selling & Upselling

Cross-selling and upselling are both effective ways of increasing pharmacy sales, whether that’s through promoting services or recommending products.

An example of cross-selling is somebody visiting your pharmacy to collect their prescription and you or your pharmacy team recommending your ear health consultation or microsuction service.

Upselling is where somebody comes in to buy ibuprofen for their back pain, and they leave with a stronger, more effective painkiller or a heat pad for their back. These are more valuable, upgraded versions of the solution they’re already purchasing.

Balancing cross-selling with speedy service

Now, there are two natural enemies of uncovering patient’s problems: time and privacy.

Ideally, a patient isn’t in a rush and there’s no one behind them in the queue. The best time for these conversations would be during a consultation. Realistically however, the bulk of your interactions are at the counter.

So whilst it’s worth bearing in mind that, whilst someone is waiting alone in a pharmacy for their prescription, that’s a great opportunity to explore their other healthcare needs. You also need a tactic for when it’s busy.

Some good Questions for cross-selling and upselling

Cross-selling and upselling in a pharmacy requires training and a good knowledge of your products and services. When our CEO, Saam, was at the coalface, he’d have a conversation with every single patient and customer that he possibly could, given how busy the pharmacy was at the time of course. It always started with a simple smile and:

“How are you doing today?” 

Which is a great way to instantly develop a bond, and shows that you care. Without this essential first step, you’re unlikely to get the best conversation out of the patient and provide the best care.

We’ll provide additional information below each question, but just a foreword that these are recommendations for individual questions, not a full list of questions to ask people at the pharmacy counter. Also, we need to be sure that we’ve asked the usual WWHAM questions for safe and effective supply.

Have you considered using X and Y?

Often, patients come in and go straight to the counter asking for a specific medicine e.g. Day Nurse or Beechams. They have a cold and are feeling under the weather. 80% of pharmacies will sell the product that the patient will ask for, and that’s it. The rest however, will have had a great conversation with the patient and talk to them about:

  • If they have any immune boosters, such as echinacea or Vitamin C with Zinc
  • How the separate ingredients in the branded product can be bought separately e.g. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen at larger quantities for the same price
  • How their sleep is right now that could be affecting their health
  • What their diet is like perhaps
  • If they’ve had the flu jab or not

With the right conversation and actively caring more about the patients’ health, you’ll be able to offer a more rounded, holistic approach to healthcare that will build trust in your patient. The side effect of this is more sales.

That’s why training your team on this is so important, as the pharmacist will be very busy in many circumstances. Every conversation or interaction is an opportunity to make more of a difference to someone’s health. What a great position to be in!

Would you like to book in for a free X whilst you’re here?

X can represent anything, but given that we’re offering it for free, it’s probably best sticking with things that are usually free anyway, such as Blood Pressure Checks or NHS Health Checks (if you’re in the UK). Whilst those checks themselves are useful for the patient, they also present opportunities for building the relationship further. As mentioned before, a consultation environment is a better environment than the counter for questions like the one below.

Is there anything else bothering you at the moment?

This question is ideal for cross-selling, and it also gives patients permission to talk about the things they often consider too insignificant for a doctor’s visit or put off getting advice about. Perhaps they’re stressed, perhaps they’re tired, but these are all openings for further questions and conversations, ultimately leading to you solving their problems.

You won’t open many doors for anything too personal at the counter with this question, but it’s great in a private consultation setting.

Are you going anywhere on holiday this year?

Depending on the answer, recommending various vaccines and travel necessities pharmacies offer becomes the natural next step.

Did you know you can get your flu jab here?

A simple question in the run-up to flu season, with an obvious cross-sell.

Utilising leaflets

Many pharmacies utilise leaflet-drops, delivering thousands of leaflets to their catchment area, and people might become aware of the service the pharmacy is promoting.

A more effective use of the leaflets (which you can use additionally if you’re still tied to leaflet drops) is having a small pile of them displayed in a stand on your counter.

Incorporating a leaflet into your conversation about the new service you’re cross-selling helps the patient digest (and perhaps later, remember) what you’re talking about.

P.S. Need a leaflet designing? Check out the Pain-Free Pharmacy Poster & Leaflet Designs in our shop.

Incentivising pharmacy employees increases pharmacy sales

It’s amazing how money incentivises people. And this type of incentive works wonders in the pharmacy.

We’ve seen service sales skyrocket in pharmacies by those who have employed such tactic. One such pharmacy incentivised their team to earn:

  • £5 for every patient that they got to leave a review for a pharmacy online
  • £10 for every patient that they got to sign up to the weight management service

We couldn’t believe the numbers of Google reviews rolling in and their sales on weight management medicines i.e. Saxenda, steadily rose.

The more you incentivise your pharmacy team, the more they’ll work for the results you want. From your perspective, getting 50% of an increase in profit is better than 100% of no increase.

A real-world pharmacy application

Let’s take a classic example. A patient comes in for some sunscreen.

This is a great chance to spark a conversation:

HCA – “Are you going anywhere nice?” 

Customer – “We’re off to Morocco”

HCA“Oh lovely! Where about are you going? Have you considered…”

  • Travel Vaccinations, such as Hep A, Tetanus, Rabies
  • Diarrhoea capsules and hydration sachets
  • Antihistamines
  • Moquito repellant
  • First aid kit

Every conversation can lead to better care for our patients and more revenue.

Your Attitude Matters

There’s a big difference between an insightful observation of someone’s needs and a generic recommendation that they probably overheard you giving the person before them in the queue.

One has a far higher likelihood of increasing pharmacy sales, and the other is arguably more damaging than it is useful.

Don’t diminish your reputation for profit

Telling everyone there’s a bar of Dairy Milk on offer for a pound might fly in WHSmith’s. But as a pharmacy, your word is your bond and requires nurturing. We’re healthcare professionals, not a general shop. Save your recommendations and advice for healthcare topics.

What should I cross-sell?

Whilst the answer to this question is generally, “whatever is relevant for the patient”, we think it’s important for Community Pharmacies to focus on healthcare.

It’s also largely situational for your specific services, the advantages your pharmacy holds, and where your focus is at any one time.

Think Prescription Collection Points, Late Night Pharmacies, clinics, whatever you’re currently under-subscribed for.

Have a focus, but remain flexible

At restaurants, waiting staff recommendations are usually the food where they’ve got loads of stock running out of date.

Now, I’m definitely not suggesting you start pushing nearly expired medicines on people! But it is worth thinking about what your next big push is. Is it shifting people onto EPS, is it filling up your Flu Clinic? Your larger business strategy should guide your upselling approach.

Just remember, remaining flexible, open and inquisitive ensures you’re always helping the patient.

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marketing ehc & ed in pharmacy
Emergency Contraception & Erectile Dysfunction services are such important services, providing care to people in vulnerable situations. But navigating ethics, regulations, and public perceptions when promoting these services is tricky.

Marketing Emergency Hormone Contraception and Erectile Dysfunction (EHC & ED) is important to get right. Not only does it help deliver care and change lives for the people in your community, but marketed correctly, these services help keep your business profitable and sustainable.

So let’s take a look at effectively marketing your ED & EHC services in 5 simple steps.

1. Sensitivity first

As a pharmacist, you don’t need me telling you that Erectile Dysfunction & Emergency Hormone Contraception are both sensitive services from a patient’s perspective. Discretion, judgement free delivery of these services is a must. And whilst neutrality is one thing, compassion also goes a long way.

You probably manage your services in this way – but not everyone does. Patients may have previous bad experiences, so make your pharmacy’s approach clear.

Remember: your entire pharmacy team needs to be 100% sure on how to manage these patient experiences. Semi-regular briefings help keep everyone on the same page.

2. Perfect Patient Experience

Other than your pharmacy team’s conduct, there are ways of providing a service which your community values.

The main things they value with both services are discretion, safety and effectiveness.

That’s one of the main draws of the direct online route – people ideally want complete privacy.

Whilst you might not win over every single patient who might’ve otherwise gone online, providing an environment promoting privacy gives a convenient alternative.

Consider offering at least one of the following:

  • A Pharmacy Messenger/WhatsApp channel for patients to communicate through.
  • Online booking facilities for private consultation rooms.
  • Video Consultations

3. Advertising Do’s & Don’t’s for EHC & ED

As per medicine advertising guidelines, you cannot directly advertise Prescription-Only Medicines (POM’s). It’s good practice to promote the service or condition you’re treating rather than the medicine itself.

  • DO
  • DO show sensitivity in your wording of any advertising of your service
  • DO make use of Local SEO & Sponsored Social Media Ads to advertise your service.
  • DO make sure you aren’t violating terms and conditions when using Facebook & Google.
  • DO Ask Pharmacy Mentor for advice if you aren’t sure.
  • DON’T
  • DON’T Include ED or EHC in any discounts or special offers. This makes patients feel like you’re charging more than you could ordinarily.
  • DON’T Advertise POM’s directly. Always advertise the condition or service.
  • DON’T forget your pharmacy reputation is affected by the style of your advertising, for better or worse.
  • DON’T try to compete on price – compete on service and trust instead.

Making your EHC & ED Services get clicks on Google

There are two stages of getting clicks on Google.

The first is appearing on Google in the first place. But we’ll cover that in the next section.

But let’s say that, either through publishing relevant content on your website, or paying to appear on Google through Google Advertising you appear on Google, like in this image below.

google results for ehc pill

How do you ensure your website is the one that gets clicked, instead of your competition?

Put your USP in your headline

Your opening line on anything promoting your service is like a headline of a newspaper. Grabbing your audience immediately is the name of the game, but it requires balance, so you aren’t perceived as clickbait or spammy, especially on sensitive subjects like ED & EHC.

There’s limited space for your headlines, so prioritising is key.

What is your main USP? The reason your consumers choose you over your competitors? Those should be in your headline.

The Superdrug advert below does a good job with “No Doctors Visit Required.” This addresses a concern of their target market (convenience) and therefore speaks more directly to them than other Ads.

google results for morning after pill near me

For Community Pharmacy, your USP might be safety and professional advice in-person. Or it might be that patients can collect immediately without waiting for delivery.

For patients who don’t want to leave their home, consider offering a video consultation.

Remember, this headline is solely about getting the click. Once the patient has clicked on your headline, this can link to a webpage with much more information. You don’t have to put everything about your service in the headline.

Promoting Your Service through Social Media Adverts (Paid)

Social Media (especially paid advertising through social media) is a great place to promote private services. Especially ones that people often delay treatment for, such as Erectile Dysfunction.

However, sensitivity is once again paramount.

Avoid profiling. Social Media sites terms and conditions prohibits negative profiling in social media copy.

You can restrict EHC marketing to women and ED to men – but you can’t specify your target audience using your copy – this is profiling.

Examples of Adverts that Meta (formerly Facebook) Will & Won’t Accept:

An example of unacceptable profiling in a Meta Ad:

Are you a young, nervous woman who needs the Morning After Pill?

Middle-aged and struggling with ED?

The phrasing of “young & nervous” makes the person reading the advert feel targeted. And whilst that’s acceptable for some forms of advertising, when it comes to sensitive subjects like EHC, ED & Weight Loss, it’s prohibited.

Also avoid words like “struggling” as it paints a negative light and Meta doesn’t want their users feeling negatively whilst using their Instagram & Facebook.

Example of acceptable Meta Ad copy:

Need professional, confidential advice about the Morning After Pill?

Get professional, medical support for ED and feel your best self!

 

Difficulties in advertising – don’t get banned

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for pharmacies to advertise online at all without LegitScript.

Companies like Meta & Google were previously pretty lax on advertising around medicine. But since the pandemic, with an increase in illegitimate drugs being sold online, their regulations are far stricter. Pharmacies have found themselves permanently banned from advertising for advertising in a way previously deemed fine.

Not sure if you need LegitScript Certification?

Talk to Pharmacy Mentor and we’ll discuss whether you need certification based on your advertising activity.

4. Providing Information & Guidance Online

As a pharmacist, you’re the most convenient source of trusted healthcare advice in your local community.

It’s this advice which is what direct online solutions cannot offer, and it’s what increases your market share, promoted correctly. One of the biggest concerns with emergency contraception, as an example, is safety. People feel reassured having a qualified professional in front of them telling them it’s safe.

google questions about ehc

However, giving guidance online is important. People typing in these questions in your local area finding you as the source of the answer means more patients. Younger people especially search for advice online before seeking it elsewhere. Creating content for your website around both EHC & ED means when your community searches these questions, you appear with answers.

Once they visit your site for the answers, you simply guide them towards your pharmacy for their treatment.

Whilst many pharmacy services are seasonal, Emergency contraception & Erectile Dysfunction demand is consistent through the year, meaning a stable source of revenue for your pharmacy.

google trends for marketing ehc & ed

5. A New Way to Serve Your Community

For Community Pharmacy, your competition, as usual, is Online Direct Suppliers, offering convenience (not having to leave the house) as their USP with same-day or next-day delivery.

With our Independent Prescribing Website Add-on, you can rival this service. Take orders, payments and approve online risk-assessment forms. This process saves you time by automating all the administrative processes, gives you an audit trail, and lets you focus on care.

After that, encouraging the patient to collect in the pharmacy is the best port-of-call, as you can then give them the advice they need with the meds. We even built a specific “Pay Now, Collect-In-Store” option for Community Pharmacy.

To request a Live Demo of this type of website in action, please use that link and get in touch.

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rank higher on google maps for pharmacies
Google Maps is a common way people search for local services when they don’t know where to go. Let’s look at 7 ways to improve your pharmacy’s ranking on Google Maps for pharmacies.

1. Register & Optimise your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)

The first way for pharmacies to rank higher on Google Maps is simple.

Bizarrely, Google prefers showcasing businesses who’ve registered in their directory.

So registering your pharmacy’s Google Business Profile is a pretty good first step in ranking higher on their recommendations.

You won’t rank well on Google Maps if you haven’t claimed your own business profile. If you haven’t done this already, do it immediately. If you don’t know how to, contact us now.

Once, you’ve verified the business as yours, there’s a profile completion guide which walks you through all the steps for optimising your profile. Google majorly prefers recommending fully completed profiles.

2. Regularly Update Your Profile

Whatever the primary reason for visiting your pharmacy is on any given week, there’s your weekly update. (We find once per week is plenty for this.)

Sun skincare, flu vaccines, Travel Vaccines, hayfever relief; whatever the hot topic is, publicise it on your Google Business Profile.

Including photos, videos, special offers,  and links to your relevant blog posts/web pages etc., enhances the experience for Google’s users. (Google likes that!)

3. Optimise Your Website for Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Ranking well on Google Maps isn’t just about your Google Business Profile. Google wants relevance if it’s recommending websites to its users. Optimising your website’s content, and reflecting your local services in a way Google understands, let’s the search engine know that recommending your site isn’t a mistake.

Google prioritises speed, convenience and relevance.

Is your website poorly laid out, hard to navigate, and scant on information? Don’t expect glowing recommendations from Google.

Not sure if your website is properly optimised?

Get a free pharmacy SEO audit from Pharmacy Mentor and find out how Google views your website.

4. Embed Google Maps on your Contact Us Page

You won’t find this in your guidebooks, but it’s almost certainly a factor. A smooth transition with visual consistency from the Google Maps app to a Google Map embedded onto your website is another element of an intuitive user experience. Which, as discussed, Google loves.

5. I’ll take the Google Reviews, with a side of Google reviews, please

Google Reviews would be number 1 on this list if it made any chronological sense, as it’s possibly the most influential factor (you can control) in determining your rank on Google Maps.

Remember, Google is in the business of recommendations.

Hundreds of people recommending you through Google’s own reviews & recommendations section? Google recommending you highly too is a no brainer.

Remember, bad reviews come with the territory. Check out the video above for a guide on responding to negative reviews online.

The biggest way of attracting new Google reviews is to…ask! Whenever patients experience great service in your pharmacy, ask them if they’ll leave you a Google Review! Make it easy for them with a handy QR code. Check out our Get More Google Reviews section of our shop.

6. Make Directories Your Directive

The most important pieces of information on your Google Business Profile, website, and across the web are your Name, Address and Phone Number. (NAP)

It’s important that potential visitors have consistent and accurate information on you across all of these sources.

Not sure if your NAP are up-to-date across the Internet?

Simply search your business name and note all of the places your business details are. If they’re not all up-to-date, reach out to the directory owner and update them. Or get us to do it for you.

7. Engage with your community

Google also rewards your efforts to support other businesses in your community.

Build active partnerships with other small businesses around your community.

Build on existing partnerships like your GP surgery. Promoting each other’s businesses through your Google Business Profile, by linking to each other’s website and services are great ways of boosting each other’s business.

Be sure to also activate the messaging feature on your Google Business profile so that people can reach out to you directly. This is becoming more and more popular and we’re seeing an increasing number of messages come through to our pharmacies every week.

Does all of this sound like a lot of work?

We get that. Running a business is a full-time job. Marketing is another.

We love helping pharmacies rank higher on Google Maps. Hit that button below to get in touch.

Enjoyed this article? Sign up for our Newsletter for more Pharmacy Growth Hacks and get notified every time we release a new article.

pharmacy google maps ads
So many people use Google Maps to get to where they’re going…and a lot of them use Google Maps to find somewhere to go, too. If you’re amongst the first places to show up on Maps, you can be sure you’ll get the lion’s share of people travelling to your pharmacy.

But how do you get your pharmacy to appear first in those results?

There are many factors contributing to a high maps ranking, similar to many factors determining how highly a website ranks on Google.

You can work on these, and organically climb the Google Maps rankings.  Check out our 9 Key Steps to Ranking Higher on Google Maps for a DIY guide to boosting your Google Maps ranking organically.

But there’s a NEW, guaranteed way of appearing first.

Get your pharmacy ranking first on Google Maps with Google Maps Ads

One of the biggest determiners for high rankings on Google Maps is the volume of people who visit the stores. This skews massively to bigger chains, like we see in the image below. Tesco are almost exclusively in the top rankings, because Google tracks people’s mobile phone locations. As people walk around Tesco, Google registers this as a visitor for Tesco Pharmacy. Pharmacies in Shopping Centres also benefit from this.

Google Maps Ads bypasses this, guaranteeing smaller independent pharmacies top the rankings ahead of the big chains.

This is an incredible opportunity for capturing new patients, as people searching for pharmacies on Google Maps clearly don’t have an affiliation or a regular pharmacy. Not only that, but people searching on Google Maps have intent. They’re clearly visiting a pharmacy.

But whilst Google Maps Ads puts you in that position, maximising the appeal of your listing is important.

Let’s run through three quick steps to making your pharmacy look like the best option.

1. Get Google Reviews, as many as you can

As shown in the example, whilst Irwin Mitchell appear top, their overall rating is 3.8 out of 5. Just two positions below them, their competition has 4.4 stars, with more reviews, and because it’s an organic listing, the reviews are displayed.

With more reviews and a higher rating than your competition, it’s more likely that more people will click on your listing.

Of course, being top with a lower rating is better than being 7th with a lower rating, but let’s shoot for the stars.

Want help increasing your Google Reviews? Check out the Google Review section of our shop.

2. Wow with a welcoming Google Business Profile image

When someone clicks on your Google Business listing, it expands into a larger profile. The featured image on this profile is your first impression.

Making a good first impression all but seals the deal. Your shop front makes the most sense, so they can recognise your business from the street. But if you have a run-down shop front, put your best foot forwards. A photo of your interior or your team works, whichever represents your business best. Take a look at what Saam says when he goes through this step-by-step.

3. Keep your Google Business Profile Updated

Special offers, opening hours, and current services are amongst the next things people will see on your Google Business profile.

Make sure they’re updated.

Nothing turns people off a visit to a business more than uncertainty. If you haven’t manually added your opening times into your Google Business Profile, it comes up with estimated opening times for you.

No one’s driving somewhere that might be open when there’s somewhere else that’s definitely open.

Too much for you to keep up with?

We get that. Running a pharmacy is a full-time job. Marketing is another.

We love helping pharmacies rank higher on Google Maps. Hit that button below to get in touch. Whether it’s Google Maps Ads, or helping you rank organically, we can help. Click here to contact us today.

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how is big data changing pharmacy
Big Data played a massive role during the pandemic, and it’s set to continue changing the world of pharmacy.

Big Data affects pharmacy owners and pharmacists of any kind. And its impact is growing exponentially. How can I say that with such certainty? Because Big Data is shaping the future, which affects everyone. But in this article, we’re concentrating on the specific impact that Big Data may hold for pharmacy in the future.

What is “Big Data”?

Big data is information, and lots of it. So much, in fact, analysis by anything other than powerful computers is impossible. In healthcare, hospitals and clinics across the world generate 2,314 exabytes annually. An exabyte is to a gigabyte what the Sun is to the Earth. If that seems like too much to wrap your head around, it’s because it is. Even traditional computers cannot compute that much data.

Every minute, on the Internet:

  • 2.1 million Snapchats sent.
  • 3.8 million searches on Google.
  • 1 million people log into Facebook.
  • 4.5 million videos watched on YouTube.
  • 188 million emails sent.

That’s a lot of data. And though it might not seem like it, data tells stories. Advancing into a more data-centric world, understanding these stories influences our capacity to adapt.

Working against the numbers is like sailing against the wind. Working without numbers is like sailing without a compass. Naturally, working with the numbers is the preference. So a future with more numbers gives us a better chance of making better decisions.

How does Big Data work with AI?

Artificial Intelligence is inextricably linked with Big Data. AI learns best with the massive amounts of information provided by Big Data. And Big Data is too big for anything except automated systems and AI to collate and manage.

So how can Independent Community Pharmacy use all that data?

Because of the scale of Big Data, I can’t see Community Pharmacies harnessing Big Data directly. The infrastructure required isn’t affordable or even worthwhile for a comparatively small business.

What is a possibility is centralising all this data and making relevant data accessible to pharmacies. Third party service providers utilising Big Data may also improve the quality of life for Pharmacists, as we’ll explore later.

It’s also likely with pharmacy’s integration with the rest of the health service, that as Big Data impacts healthcare, pharmacy will feel the ripple effects.

Your pharmacy’s data as part of Big Data

Rather than using the Big Data, Community Pharmacy may find itself being used by Big Data. Community Pharmacies provide anonymised patient data into the huge database, where it can provide that bigger picture. Obviously this is a subject of much discussion, balancing privacy and data-protection with the wider benefits of data-sharing from a health perspective.

Since companies like Meta & Google already harvest (anonymised) personal data for profits, lobbying for improved individual healthcare through shared data doesn’t sound too underhanded.

Privacy Concerns

Protection of this data from privatisation & for-profit ventures, however, is a notable concern. There is a lot more red-tape, as always, when it comes to health data too. A technical employee from Facebook hypothetically seeing information about your account is one thing. But health records are a more serious breach.

When it comes to Big Data, a single Community Pharmacy may also be impacted, not because of what you can see and action because of that bigger picture, but because you’re a part of it. As the bigger picture is seen clearly, decisions could be made which hold ramifications for every community pharmacy, or individual ones. An example could be the value of individual pharmaceuticals if the processes for drug trialling becomes radically simplified.

Another practical example is identifying certain geographical areas prescribing more antibiotics compared to other areas. Regulatory bodies can identify pharmacies and surgeries in these areas using Big Data and run targeted campaigns aimed at either reducing these prescriptions, or increasing them in surrounding areas if they’re also showing reduced hospital admissions.

Is Big Data impacting pharmacy right now?

Big Data is very much underway as a phenomenon in the both the industry and the wider world.

Tracking footfall with smartphone GPS

There exists already an advanced form of advertising tracking, typically for humongous advertising behemoths (think McDonald’s level), where through smartphone tracking, advertising agencies can trace someone who was within line of sight of a billboard, for example, and then visited a McDonald’s restaurant.

Like any technology, when first introduced, they’re expensive and generally unavailable to the wider public. But just like 4KTV’s, Smartphone location tracking draws nearer to the mainstream. It already exists in diluted form, if you’ve ever seen on your Google My Business profile, this is GPS phone tracking in action.

Imagine this, but with more insights for your pharmacy business. Where do they travel from? Where did they go before your pharmacy? What’s the average age of people who visit you on a weekend? How many of the people who saw your social media post visited your pharmacy in the next 7 days?

How might Big Data impact Community Pharmacy in the future?

Big Data’s impact on Community Pharmacy will increase exponentially, parallel to data’s impact on our lives in general.

The limitation is the same as data’s limitation has always been – the people analysing the findings and the way that we collect data.

  • Drug development
  • Patient compliance
  • More data informed patient health & proactive interventions
  • Risk assessment & fraud reduction
  • More efficient clinical trials
  • Assisting with Pharmacy Purchasing, both for purchasing pharmacy assets and pharmacy businesses.

Not all of these directly impact pharmacy, but pharmacy feels the ripple effects of the shock waves in healthcare.

How wearable technology helps Big Data

Wearables are small electronic devices that, when placed on your body, can help measure temperature, blood pressure, blood oxygen, breathing rate, sound, GPS location, elevation, physical movement, changes in direction, and the electrical activity of the heart, muscles, brain, and skin.

These measurements help with all levels of assessment for a wide variety of ailments.

Think about trying to diagnose someone without any information. Naturally, the more informed we are, the better our judgment becomes.

Informing Patient Interactions with Big Data

Big Data from health apps, medical records and other sources revolutionise your conversations with patients.

Pharmacy is an analytical profession. Interpreting patients data alongside Big Data trends means better prescribing pre-treatment, and better medication assessments post-treatment. Of course, for individual care like this, opting-in to data tracking becomes necessary for patients.

As a pharmacist, there will almost certainly be a consultation opportunity either to address these Early Warning Signs, or to monitor the use of and advise on the data provided by wearable technologies so that it never reaches that stage.

Wearables should in theory hand agency and power over to the patients. Whether this inspires a new generation of health-conscious patients, time will tell.

What are some of the barriers to Big Data for Pharmacy?

The biggest barrier is in both the centralisation of data and the privacy associated with data tracking. Maybe approval for centralised data never arrives. Perhaps in ten years, the public are hyper-aware and precious about their personal data and turn GPS tracking off.

Preventing databases from hacking and exposing large amounts of people’s health data is obviously a great concern. Mitigating and preventing this is necessary before approaching anything like centralised health data.

Whoever holds the data holds the power

Meta & Google currently hold vast quantities of the world’s data. They don’t exactly hold the best reputation as a result of the profits from this data. When basing big decisions on the data, trust in the source and credibility of this data is a pre-requisite. Large corporations hardly have a clean record of telling the truth with data.

What do I need to do as a pharmacist?

Informing your decisions with data is always a smart move. Big Data will bring more data to your door. Getting experience handling and basing business decisions on data now is great preparation for a data-filled future.

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is bing losing you pharmacy patients?
I’m confident that unless you’re one of the few people I’ve spoken to already, you have no idea what is happening on Bing & Yahoo Search for pharmaciesFair warning: what you’ll read about in this article might annoy you…

If you Bing “pharmacy”, and you’re a community pharmacist, you’ll encounter a problem. Though you may not realise it.

This is something I noticed by accident, stumbling across the issue when one of Pharmacy Mentor’s laptop browsers was set to Yahoo Search by default.

Big pharmacy companies are advertising on Bing search engine across the whole of the UK for the term pharmacy. You might question why. You might question why you should care. Let’s explore both of these questions step-by-step below.

What is Bing?

Bing is the Microsoft equivalent of Google’s search engine, only less popular. Because Bing is Microsoft’s search engine, it comes pre-installed on all Microsoft Devices as standard.

Other search brands use Bing’s search engine too

Yahoo Search is just Bing search with a different branding, and is the default search function for Mozilla Firefox. Yahoo’s search engine is powered by Bing, which means both Bing & Yahoo deliver the same results, including adverts.

Why should pharmacies care about Bing, or Yahoo Search?

The fact is, Google dominates the search engine market, with 92.47% global market share (91% in the UK) as of June 2021 (Statista, 2022). It seems most people don’t care about Bing or Yahoo Search. So why should you?

Bing Pharmacy PPC (Pay-per-click) Advertising

Advertising on Bing, which feeds through to AOL & Yahoo, has a considerably smaller Cost-per-Click (CPC) than Google.

Still irrelevant to you?

  1. Go to a Bing-powered search engine
  2. Search for “pharmacy near me”, or even your own pharmacy name.
  3. Look at who appears first.

Saving you a bit of time, I’ve already done searches for “pharmacy near me” as well as “Pharmacy John O’Groats” and “Pharmacy Lands End” below, demonstrating the issue for pharmacies anywhere in the UK.

Scroll through the image sideshow below to see the searches.

But here’s where you get annoyed…

What I didn’t search for, was your specific pharmacy name. Open a Bing search, and search for your pharmacy name.

If you didn’t just utter “you crafty cusses”, or words to that effect, you don’t yet understand what is happening.

So let me enlighten you a little more.

(N.B. If you don’t see Ads, it might be that the adverts have reached the maximum daily/monthly budget. But they’ll be back.)

Who uses Bing?

91% of the UK uses Google. 5% use Bing. Whilst 5% doesn’t sound like a lot, it translates to approximately 3.35 million people using Bing.

According to the macro statistics, if you open up your browser and Bing is your default search engine, you probably go into your browser settings and change your default search engine.

You know who doesn’t do that? People who don’t know enough about browser settings, or don’t know how to do it.

You know which demographic doesn’t know how to work the Internet? The one that needs prescriptions the most.

It’s an incredibly savvy tactic.

Have another look at those screenshots. Can you see how minimal the indicators are that the top results are adverts? Again, the people with eyesight sharp enough for “Ads related to: pharmacy near me” aren’t generally the ones using Bing.

Advertising over people’s businesses on Google is noticeable.

Why?

Because the business owners use Google. So they’ll probably see.

But doing this through Bing is sneaky. You avoid a snarling dog, because it’s obvious. But the mosquito that gets you in your sleep bites you all they like.

What can you do about it?

Unfortunately the only way to fight Bing Ads is with Bing Ads. (The same is true with Google Ads.)

If someone puts a poster over a signpost to your pharmacy, preventing that means either asking them to stop, or putting your own poster up over their poster. If it’s a local competitor who’s doing the advertising, there’s a good chance of finding an agreement that works for both parties.

But do you think the companies who’re paying for adverts targeting “pharmacy” all over the UK will stop because you asked nicely?

Are Bing Ads for pharmacy it worth it?

These big pharmacy companies advertising on Bing think so.

It’s worth noting, they advertise on Bing, but not on Google. The budget on Google is too high to cover the entirety of the UK all the time, but because of the smaller user base of Bing, it’s possible.

pay per click costs for pharmacy on Google Ads

But they wouldn’t continue to do this unless they had a valid reason to. The reason is that the predominant user base for Bing is people who don’t know how to change to Google. And that’s pharmacy’s target market.

How much does it cost?

Advertising on Bing obviously has a cost, typically between 25-50 pence per click. Pay-per-click on Google for Pharmacy is more like £1-3 per click, for reference.

But don’t worry about competing with a big company advertising budget. Competing with them in your local area won’t cost anything like that much.

Weigh up whether or not remaining inactive whilst these big companies skim the cream off the top of your catchment area is worth less than to you than a couple of hundred pounds a month.

Worth noting: The patients these companies pick up could be searching for your pharmacy, but they could be from any pharmacy searches in the UK. You aren’t being directly targeted.

Not Just Protecting Your Pharmacy Business

And don’t forget – advertising on Bing isn’t just protecting your pharmacy’s existing patient base. You’re actively promoting your pharmacy and attracting new patients too. Advertising on Bing is probably a worthwhile endeavour even if you weren’t being forced into it.

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About

Pharmacy Mentor launched a new website for a community pharmacy in October 2021. Understanding that websites aren’t much use without visitors, we recommended that the pharmacy employed a blogging strategy, driving traffic from Google to their website.

Challenges

  • The top of Google is a profitable place, making it competitive.
  • Lots of competing clinics in the local area.
  • Producing professional, ethical advice in the blog.

How we did it

We talked with the pharmacy owners about what services were most profitable for the pharmacy. Once we knew that, we mapped out a 6-month content strategy, covering a range of profitable services the pharmacy wanted patients to find.

Our blogging team then created optimised blog posts on the chosen subjects. These blogs posts answered FAQ’s, highlighted symptoms, causes and treatments for the relevant query and had relevant high-quality imagery supplementing the text.

We started creating the blogs before the website launched, attracting visitors from the moment it went live.

Tracking

Using Google Analytics, we tracked the traffic generated by these actions for each specific blog post, as well as for the overall website visitors.

Results

From launch, the site averaged around 30 visitors per day, which meant hundreds per week. But the important thing is that these aren’t just people stumbling across the website.

  • 3.6k targeted visitors to the site since launch
  • The pharmacy is the top result on Google for every query we created a blog post for
  • Ear Wax page delivering exceptional results, with over 300 visits in the June 2022.

These visitors are searching for pharmacy services, and they’re finding this community pharmacy online.

The important thing isn’t really how many visitors the website got in the first three months. The important thing is this strategy continually delivers visitors all year round. Especially when Flu season kicks in.

Want to get more visitors to your website? Simply get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.

There are lots of guides for all the processes and procedures of selling your pharmacy. This is not one of them. In this guide, we’ll focus entirely on how digitisation can raise your sale price.

Selling Your Pharmacy 101

When it comes to selling your pharmacy, you obviously want the best price possible. But for every person selling a pharmacy, there’s someone buying. They want the best price too. So how do you go about convincing that buyer to spend more money on your pharmacy business?

It starts by thinking like a buyer.

Do pharmacy buyers know how valuable their digital asset is worth?

What do buyers want when buying a pharmacy?

Some of the main considerations when purchasing a pharmacy are:

  • How profitable the business is
  • Whether revenue is trending up or down
  • The potential for growing the business
  • Spotting opportunities to save money where the existing business doesn’t
  • The volume and mix of prescriptions
  • The categorical mix of the pharmacy’s patients, e.g. clinical, prescription, retail
  • Status of contracts

But the main considerations we’ll explore in this article are the ones we’ve highlighted.

Whilst there are people who prefer buying struggling businesses and turning them around, most buyers want a healthy business. The majority of bets in a horse race are on the favourite. And higher profit margins equals a higher purchase price.

Stable. Replicable. Predictable.

But here’s the rub. What buyers really value is continuity in those high profits. The continuation of that upwards revenue trend. It’s great that you’re generating all those profits. But if you leave the business? Taking your extensive local knowledge, partnerships you’ve developed over years, and the understanding of your pharmacy team with you? Where’s the assurance that the healthy business they’ve bought won’t fall down around their ears?

What they want, with a healthy business, is business as usual. Stability in transition. Predictability for the future, which means replicable business practice. Savvy pharmacy buyers will poke holes in valuations that don’t have these characteristics, driving down the price. So in this instance, digitisation doesn’t necessarily raise the price of your pharmacy, but it does prevent it from being driven down.

The more systemised, the more automated, the more robust processes in place, the better. Digitisation is a major component in all three.

How do digital systems increase the value of your pharmacy?

Well, in the purest form, digital systems, (e.g. websites) are an asset. If your pharmacy is worth £980,000 and you spend £20k on a website, now your pharmacy is worth £1m. So if you’re planning on selling your pharmacy, a website is a reasonably risk-free investment, as you can build it into the value of your business.

Naturally, that only works if you own the website. Website rental software, the type you pay for year-on-year, doesn’t belong to you, nor does any data contained within it. Therefore, you cannot build it into the value of your business.

Another way digital systems increase the value of your pharmacy, is the opportunity for revenue growth, especially in the future.

An existing marketing list, a website where several of your services get found on Google, an engaged audience on Social Media…these are all things that take time to cultivate. And time = money. Especially time well spent.

Since pharmacy sales usually take a while to go through, provided you haven’t even begun the process yet, you’ve still got plenty of time to digitise your pharmacy.

Why ignoring data is a disaster

For a start, let’s make one thing clear. Data is the most valuable commodity in the world. That’s why companies like Google, Amazon and Meta are so big.

There are three important questions to answer before you can assuredly include data into the valuation of your business.

What data does your pharmacy business own? (Important distinction which I will clarify later)

How does your pharmacy collect data?

What does your pharmacy do with the data?

How valuable data appears throughout your Digital Ecosystem

  • A proper website provides digital infrastructure which both harvests and utilises useful data for your pharmacy business
  • A healthy social media presence helps transition a change of management with the pharmacy’s existing community
  • Email Marketing Lists retarget existing pharmacy users and drive repeat business
  • EPOS systems with key consumer insights both in-store and via eCommerce help with retail sales and promotions
  • Paid advertising accounts with data on previous campaigns aid future campaigns

There are always due diligence processes during the purchase of a pharmacy, ensuring a pharmacy is as it claims in the listing. Data is concrete. It can’t be questioned.

Google Analytics for Your Website

Let’s say you’re top of Google, and you get 1,000 clicks per month on that page. With a quick calculation on Google Ads, you can understand how much each click is worth for the keyword you’re ranking for.

If it costs £1/click for you to appear on Ads for “Yellow Fever Vaccine” and you’re getting 1k clicks per month? That’s £1k/month you can incorporate into the value of your business.

But you cannot do that without having the data. You cannot have that data without having a website. And this is why digitisation built into your business is a really quick way to increase the value of your business.

Don’t own your website? You don’t own the data within it either.

In the same way that if you owned a fleet of vans, you can incorporate the assets into the value of a business, but you can’t if they’re rentals, you can’t incorporate either a website or its data into your business valuation if you don’t own them.

Want some other quick ways to increase the value of your pharmacy?

A good yardstick for measuring the progress of your pharmacy by taking The Perfect Pharmacy Scorecard. 30 questions. 5 minutes. Tailored report, with advice for improvement in each area depending on how you score. Then a 5-day email action-plan diving into more detail on each major area of a pharmacy business (non-clinical).

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artifical intelligence in pharmacy
With massive advances in recent years, AI in pharmacy isn’t far away. And the changes AI will bring to pharmacy promise to be massive.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Artificial Intelligence is another term for machine learning. It traces its roots back to World War 2. Alan Turing, a renowned logician, was recruited to break the German military’s Enigma Code – a process that could not have been achieved by humans. The machines (called Bombes) learned what to do, effectively by learning what not to do, using laws of logic. Similarly, machines are now more than a match for humans at Chess, demonstrating that when it comes to logic, the human brain has limitations that machine learning does not.

Whilst the application of AI has advanced significantly since then, the core concept of how it works is pretty much identical. Humans use available information as well as reason in order to solve problems and make decisions, so why can’t machines do the same thing?

The limitation has always been the amount of information that computers can store. But increasingly, with storage (where the AI stores its knowledge) and the data sets (from which AI can learn) both massively increasing over the decades, this limitation is a thing of the past.

AI is inextricably linked to Big Data, which is just as important, if not moreso, as the data is what gives the AI the information to learn. There’s no point in having a big brain if you never learn anything. Arguably, AI is worthless without the data to learn from, whereas we’d at least be able to interpret Big Data in a limited capacity with our soft, human brains.

word cloud featuring pharmacy, data, ai, pharmacist and other associated words

How does AI impact Pharmacy right now?

The frontline of pharmacy is probably yet to feel the full force of the impact AI is making on the wider Pharmaceutical Industry. Whilst facial recognition and speech pattern monitors can be used to detect rare diseases, it isn’t like these systems are in operation in community pharmacies.

Something that is more accessible is compliance technology. though perhaps not in the guise that it’s needed quite yet.

Another accessible option for pharmacies is artificial intelligence Sentiment Analysers, which are in a trial phases of a rollout for things like phone calls.

Sentiment analysers

Sentiment analysers are artificial intelligence programmes that analyse either text, or speech & voice patterns and detect in real-time how a person is feeling based on that analysis. If you’ve ever used Grammarly, and it’s shown you how your writing might come across to your readers, that is sentiment analysis at work.

Now, you might think it’s obvious when someone is angry at you on the phone. And it is. But over the course of hundreds of phone calls, seeing the analysis of the trigger words which cause this anger, as well as the words used to calm people, might well give you insights leading to more effective phone conversations. Not only for you, but your entire team. This is the sort of insight that it’s almost impossible to analyse when we’re the ones holding the phone conversations, as we’re usually focused on what we’re doing, rather than analysing ourselves.

How can AI impact Pharmacy in the future?

The limit to this question will be found in the limitation of the human imagination. Pointed in the right direction, and given the right data, there aren’t many areas that AI can’t improve.

  • Drug development & efficacy (both linked to genetics)
  • Patient compliance
  • More data informed patient health & proactive interventions
  • Risk assessment & Fraud reduction
  • Driverless Delivery
  • Sentiment Analysers
  • More efficient clinical trials

Not all of these directly impact pharmacy, but pharmacy feels the ripple effects of the shock waves in healthcare.

These are the areas that AI can impact pharmacy. But let’s look in more detail at some of the areas where AI almost certainly will impact Pharmacy in the future.

Driverless Delivery

Driverless cars across all roads are still decades away, say experts in the field of AI. But the rollout of smaller, driverless delivery vans like the type that deliver Domino’s Pizza are on the horizon.

Depending on your model, your preferences and your priorities, you might reject this idea.

“I like my delivery driver and they have a great relationship with the patients,” you say. I think that there’s definitely a big argument for retaining the service of a delivery driver. Especially considering serving an elderly population who aren’t tech savvy. They aren’t going to want to start messing around with PINs sent by text and entering it into the van. And there’s also a strong argument for the social contact that delivery drivers give isolated patients being a part of the service to the community.

However, there is a credible argument for utilising both driverless and driver…ful vans. Just like the Pharmaself24 works alongside your counter staff, the driverless delivery van could be a great addition to your arsenal. It gives a green option to a more tech-savvy, environmentally conscious generation. And a more convenient option to those who don’t need social contact from the delivery driver.

From the perspective of a pharmacy business owner, it’s another case of automation making fiscal sense. Why pay for another delivery driver and a van, when you can just pay once for a driverless van? That isn’t necessarily a rhetorical question, but it’s certainly one you’d consider from a business perspective.

Monitoring Patient Behaviours

AI can revolutionise healthcare, not just pharmacy.

It would rely on some sort of large shared database, as machines, like humans, can only learn from information they have access to. But coupled with Big Data from health apps, medical records and other sources (ideally encrypted, protected from third parties and shared across healthcare institutions) Artificial intelligence should allow frontline healthcare professionals like pharmacists incredible insights to inform patient conversations with.

Imagine having the knowledge that 43 year old men statistically don’t finish their course of antibiotics, or that people from a certain background traditionally don’t respond well to a certain medication. Think about how much great advice you can give. If you weren’t in a care setting, you’d clap your hands together and evil laugh with all the power now at your disposal. And I painted that hyperbolic picture tongue-in-cheek because, naturally, patients still need to be treated as individuals. This sort of power shouldn’t blind us to the need for individual care. But it certainly makes giving tailored care easier.

heart rate monitor on a wearable watch

Wearables

This is an important one for pharmacies to pay attention to for two reasons.

AI knows cardiac patterns which lead to serious issues, and people wearing health tech can be given early warning signs. The more innovation happens with wearables, the more interventions can be made proactively, instead of reactively. Which in healthcare, makes a massive difference. It’s a lot easier to prevent a heart attack than it is to recover from one.

As a pharmacist, there will almost certainly be a consultation opportunity either to address these Early Warning Signs, or to monitor the use of and advise on the data provided by wearable technologies so that it never reaches that stage. AI will do most of the legwork here when it comes to interpreting and analysing the data. As the pharmacist, it will be your job to give tailored advice based on the AI’s findings. Perhaps it’s a dietary change, perhaps an increase in exercise, perhaps it’s a prescription. Either way, it’s very similar to general health checks now, except far more informed by data, not only from that specific patient, but by all the data gathered by wearables.

Pharmacies perfectly positioned purveyors

The second reason this is important for pharmacists, is because pharmacies should already be looking to be leading distributors of wearable health technology. When people buy in-person, it’s because they want advice about the products from experts. Who better to sell wearable health technology than the health professional who works with them? When the world of wearables reaches its peak, you don’t want to be just learning about them. This is a relevant retail offering, and the sooner you get on board, the better for your pharmacy business. Activity trackers are only the beginning of wearable health tech. Innovations in this area will continue to develop, with nano-technology making the wearables less cumbersome and easier to wear. But it is AI, which makes everything possible.

Of course, there’s going to be people who reject wearing technology, for a number of reasons. So it won’t immediately make every patient interaction super easy. But for the ones who do, you can look forward to better informed consultations.

Monitoring Fraudulent Behaviour

It feels as though I read about a struck-off pharmacist every other week for some fraudulent behaviour or other. But the beauty of AI, especially when coupled with shared data, such as from SystmOne, is that once fraudulent behaviour happens, and happens, and happens again, the system learns the unconscious patterns in an organisation that lead to fraudulent behaviour. The financial world deploys similar systems. In fact, $217 billion has been spent on AI systems preventing fraud and assessing risk within the banking industry alone. Obviously, the expense of these systems is large (these systems usually start at around £100k), however, as technology advances, it will grow increasingly more affordable.

It isn’t just pharmacist fraud either. Prescription fraud faces a tough future, (provided we move to a fully digitised system,) not just with AI detecting fraudulent patient behaviour, but also from blockchain technology. Blockchain is actually the better of the two at stopping fraud (certainly for now) as current anti-fraud AI technology doesn’t work in real-time.

Could A.I. go badly for Pharmacy?

We could wish for AI tomorrow and end up regretting embracing the technology too fast, or for the wrong reasons, Black Mirror style.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Well, probably the worst-case scenario is the malevolent use of Big Data. There’s a definite argument for whoever controls the data holding too much power. Especially as corporations, whose primary directive is to make more money, are the ones investing heavily in AI. This is especially true if one company ends up as the dominant force in the industry.

Coincidentally, a short while after I wrote the sentence about Big Data being used malevolently, I came across a company called Benevolent AI, involved in drug discovery & development. It’s either sheer coincidence, or the AI industry is already proactively setting the perception this kind of criticism.

AI – Always Infallible?

There’s also the potential for AI to get things wrong. When you consider that it learns solely from data, without the experience or the perspective of a human, then what happens when the data it’s making decisions on is inaccurate, or incomplete? For instance, facial recognition technology isn’t as effective on Black & Asian faces. Imprisoning incorrectly is an issue. Diagnosing incorrectly and prescribing medication for an ailment someone doesn’t have? Also not ideal. Now, there are failsafes we can put in place. But misinterpreted data, or conclusions drawn from incomplete data are potential pitfalls that need accounting for.

What do I need to do as a pharmacist?

Eventually AI will go mainstream and become the default in healthcare settings. As and when this happens, naturally everyone must adapt.

But until that point, my advice is proactively seek out these technologies and innovations, as soon as you can. They make your life easier, and your patients lives better.

Why would you not want that as soon as possible?

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We’re delighted to announce our latest collaboration with Alphega Pharmacy UK, a massive step towards our goal of helping every independent community pharmacy digitise & market themselves better.

Alphega Pharmacy is a leading European network of independent pharmacists, with over 1,000 member pharmacies across the UK.  Their aim of improving the health and wellbeing of communities by delivering a future vision for independent community pharmacy is perfectly aligned with our own vision to improve access to healthcare through pharmacies.

The aim of the relationship

Alphega offers member pharmacists who join their group a full range of services and support, assisting with the success of their pharmacy. With exclusive member benefits like the Alphega App & the Alphega Pharmacy Business Academy, they focus on improving the infrastructure of the pharmacy business.

This complements the service Pharmacy Mentor offers to pharmacies. Marketing in any industry is easier when the business you’re promoting is convenient and practical for its users. With Alphega helping its members streamline their business, and Pharmacy Mentor promoting that pharmacy to its community, the pharmacist can focus on what they do best. Helping patients.

So as a partnership, it makes perfect sense. Pharmacy Mentor already worked with several Alphega Pharmacy members, to great success. We welcome the opportunity now of promoting more Alphega members to their prospective patients.

How Pharmacy Mentor help Alphega Members

Pharmacy Mentor helps Alphega Members build on the platform Alphega provides them. For instance, we can help member pharmacies increase their sign-ups to the Alphega App either through specialised Alphega-Only marketing packs for them, or our exclusive Alphega-Members Only course, which gives up to 4 employees access to learning modules, showing them how to do it themselves.

A word from Pharmacy Mentor CEO, Saam Ali

“We’re so excited to be working closely with Alphega Pharmacy and their members. Our collaboration means that we’re going to be supporting the digital growth of Community Pharmacy and improving access to healthcare. This sits perfectly in line with our mission and vision.”