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How to Start A Successful Pharmacy Loyalty Program

Written by 
Brad Davis
July 12, 2020

Thinking about creating a pharmacy loyalty program? If so, you’re probably already aware of some of the many reasons why it’s a good idea.

While loyalty programs have evolved to engage customers in a whole host of ways, its original concept was to keep customers coming back again and again.

Fortunately for pharmacy owners, usually this is already the case for a portion of your customer base. Like supermarkets and grocery stores, many of the items sitting on a pharmacy’s shelves are highly repeatable products, such as:

  • Prescription medication
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Toiletries
  • Vitamins and minerals

As such, the seeds of a customer loyalty experience are already planted.

However, there’s a big difference between a repeat customer and a loyal customer. With a repeat customer, the pharmacy never knows what the customer’s motives are for making repeat purchases.

Their decision to shop with your business could boil down to convenience (like proximity to home), value (perhaps your pharmacy boasts the lowest prices), excellent customer service, or some other factor.

The trouble with this is that your entire relationship with this customer hinges on a single bad customer service experience, a single price increase, or another pharmacy opening up closer to their house.

As a pharmacy owner or manager, you’ll never know why this customer suddenly stopped shopping with you. Nor will you ever know why they consistently shopped at your pharmacy in the first place.

This is why a pharmacy loyalty program is beneficial

pharmacist helping customer
A pharmacy customer

A customer is only defined as loyal once they have developed an emotional connection with your brand.

This connection is key, as it fosters a 306% higher lifetime value. In addition, customers who feel emotionally connected to your brand will recommend it 26% more often than the average customer.

This emotional connection occurs when the pharmacist immediately remembers the customer’s prescription just from seeing them walk through the door, or when a staff member recommends alternative vitamins that will better target the customer’s specific deficiencies… or when the pharmacy has an excellent loyalty program!

Once a pharmacy starts communicating with its loyal customers, it can determine their motives for coming back again and again. And once you know, you can make sure you continue to deliver on these things.

A digital loyalty program is the key to direct, automated and targeted communication with customers.

Of course, an emotional connection between the customer and the brand is desirable for businesses in every industry. But pharmacies hold a unique advantage in this area. Why? Because the relationship between a pharmacist and his/her customers regards the customer’s physical and mental health.

This immediately personalizes things, and when it comes to customer loyalty, personalization is the name of the game. A well-designed digital loyalty program can automate this process, and directly engage customers via their mobile device.

A 2018 study by Oracle Retail found that 61% of consumers subscribe to SMS messages from brands purely for incentives, coupons and rewards points.

man shopping for protein powder
Customers choosing among different products

Let’s say a customer regularly purchases whey protein powder and other muscle-building or fat-burning products from your pharmacy.

This customer’s motivation for joining your pharmacy loyalty program is to earn points or stamps towards discounts on future purchases of these products.

The pharmacy’s motivation, however, is to hone in on the customer’s shopping habits and find ways to enhance his/her experience.

Sophisticated rewards platforms like Stamp Me’s will notice these protein powder purchases and send the customer tailored offers for multivitamins and other products that might interest someone who is looking to complement their fitness and diet regime.

The same principle applies to the customer who shops at this particular pharmacy for all of their cosmetics and beauty products. Meanwhile, the customer who has just had a baby might be interested in discounts and special offers on baby products.

Once a customer is enjoying this kind of personalized shopping experience with your pharmacy loyalty program, they are far less likely to jump ship to a competitor. In fact, 80% of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.

Just like that, a repeat customer becomes a loyal customer.

Does this kind of digital pharmacy loyalty program sound too extravagant for your standalone pharmacy or independent chain of pharmacies?

Paper punch cards transforming into digital loyalty card
Digital loyalty programs replacing paper punch cards

There was a time not too long ago when this kind of sophisticated loyalty technology was only in reach of big-name brands with lots of capital and a wide reach. Nowadays, it’s as simple as subscribing to a digital loyalty app provider for as little as $19 per month.

Find more information on how much a digital loyalty program costs here.

Okay, so by now the benefits of a pharmacy loyalty program should be pretty clear.

But what kind of rewards structure best suits your specific pharmacy?

There are numerous ways in which a business can go about operating a loyalty program. So many, in fact, that we wrote a whole separate article about it.

For most pharmacies though, a spend-based model makes the most sense. This is when customers are awarded “points” or “stamps” based on how much they spend, rather than how often they patronize the business (which is a system that works well for cafes, for instance).As an example, a pharmacy might award loyalty program members 1 point per $1 spent in-store. Once the customer accumulates 100 points, they could be eligible for various rewards.

This type of rewards program is very straightforward for both the business and its customers.

It also never hurts to offer an upfront incentive for customers to join, like “Enjoy a Free X When You Sign Up Today!”. At Stamp Me, we’ve noticed that businesses which offer customers an immediate signup incentive build registrations three times faster than those that don’t.The reason we recommend a spend-based rewards structure over an item-based system is that pharmacies, like supermarkets, offer a wide range of products with varying values.

If a pharmacy were to award loyalty program members a stamp for every transaction, the customers who are spending $80 per transaction aren’t going to be too thrilled about the fact that customers spending $4 per transaction are enjoying the same rewards progress.

Perhaps this is why UK health and beauty retailer and pharmacy Boots opted for a spend-based model with its Boots Advantage Card.

Pharmacy Loyalty Program Case Study: Boots Advantage Card

boots advantage card
Image Source: Boots

The Boots Advantage Card offers customers 4 points for every £1 spent online or in-store. Every point earned is worth a penny, so 80 points earned on a £20 spend equals 80p.

It might not sound like much, but it equates to a 4% discount on all Boots expenditures. When you consider that Boots sells everything from prescription medication and pharmaceutical products to basic toiletries, sunglasses and even headphones, the rewards add up.

Extra perks include a further 10% discount on every purchase for students, as well as Mega Points Weekends; where all members are eligible for extra points when they spend over X amount in-store or online.Customers simply show their card to staff at point of sale, or select the Advantage Card icon at checkout if they’re shopping online.

Extra perks include a further 10% discount on every purchase for students, as well as Mega Points Weekends; where all members are eligible for extra points when they spend over X amount in-store or online.

Customers simply show their card to staff at point of sale, or select the Advantage Card icon at checkout if they’re shopping online.

Get your pharmacy loyalty program set up today

Pharmacies of all shapes and sizes in every corner of the globe can offer their customers a similar digital loyalty program solution, with Stamp Me. Our digital loyalty app incentivizes customers to make repeat transactions with your pharmacy, while our award-winning rewards platform provides pharmacy owners with actionable customer data insights.

To discuss how Stamp Me Loyalty Solutions can help your pharmacy retain customers and build brand loyalty, get in touch today and a friendly member of our team will be happy to help.

Once you’ve got your pharmacy loyalty program up and running, check back in with us for tips and tricks on how to get customers to join your loyalty program.

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