As small business owners, pharmacists need to realize that selling right means you bought right.
To do this, you need to understand the benefits of inventory management and online ordering, as well as the art of trading and how to dare to open up to new markets, which should be in the toolbox of the right buyer.
Improving payment terms and pressure on liquidity require pharmacists to be more careful in choosing their supplier channels in order to optimize discounts and profit margins.
Making the right purchases also requires more price monitoring from competition - either stores or e-shops, in order to be competitive.
Automatic inventory management
A historical feature of pharmacy management software, inventory management, is becoming increasingly automated, at least in terms of orders. In addition, it benefits from various functionality improvements.
To optimize the pharmacy's profitability, management software has become essential now... provided it is simple to use and really makes the job easier. Thus, management software developers now work with pharmacists to create software that is as user-friendly as possible.
For pharmacies, inventory management is at the heart of their business.
Pharmacy management software aims to offer inventory management that best suits the activity of each pharmacy, so as to avoid excessive stock, which costs, but also shortages, which are detrimental to its image. Its functionality covers all the relevant tasks of commercial management, such as the management of orders, their receipt and registration, the inventory process... etc.
Suppliers follow the changes faced by pharmacies and evolve based on their needs, covering even cases of off-site inventories, as in the case of an e-shop.
The biggest challenge for modern management software is to fully automate routine activities and, thus, allow pharmacists to spend more time on other more productive activities.
This is now possible thanks to developments in "business intelligence", a pharmacy data analysis tool, capable of making the best and most tailored orders in the field of market policy.
Especially the part of the order from the wholesalers, can really be automated.
The software has a toggle table for turnover rates for each product so it can submit a custom order, while it is also possible for the pharmacist to set up a different replacement method for specific products.
When a minimum stock limit is reached, the order is submitted automatically.
Market automation in large recycled products works very well, allowing the pharmacist to focus on more specific and innovative products.
This is also done taking into account the pharmacy type and its environment, its customer base, competition, etc. and allows the determination of the best offer, taking into account the delivery times, profit margins, etc.
Order automation is less helpful on the part of direct orders, as this depends heavily on regular negotiations with suppliers' representatives.
Wholesalers invest in online orders
The smoothest and most efficient purchasing process through wholesale distributors. For this reason, many now offer a smarter online way to better understand and manage all order parameters.
How can we ensure that the internet is not just a reproduction of a classic printed catalog?
How to make your online order as smart as possible so that you can display the offer that corresponds to you and your pharmacy with one click?
These are the questions that the wholesaler has to answer, with the new "On Line" ordering offers presented in the market.
These are shopping platforms that allow the user to see all the offers that exist under several parameters, such as the name of the product, its price, its availability, delivery time, etc.
These platforms are part of a search engine, which with a single input element, such as a barcode scan, can show all possible options.
This is made possible even if category names or other search criteria are entered.
The pharmacist can then decide at a glance, depending on the products offered, quantity, availability, price… and verify his order.
We must emphasize here that the wholesalers-distributors are excellent partners of the pharmacists for their purchases.
This does not mean, however, that they systematically offer the lowest prices, but offer a more flexible alternative to the direct purchase by companies, based on the better ratio between quantity and price.
The importance of direct marketing with pharmacists
More and more suppliers are realizing the high cost of direct sales and are now relying heavily on their digital shopping platforms.
Traditionally, pharmacists are rewarded with more discounts and privileges for choosing to promote a specific brand, regardless of their purchasing power.
In contrast, at the level of a shopping platform of a brand, network or wholesaler, the collective commitment is not so strong, for a very simple reason: the product is promoted mainly at the point of sale and by the pharmacy team.
Thus, selling through platforms without personal contact with the seller does not interest the brands so much.
They believe that they should have sellers who are able to present and update their products in pharmacies and then lead to a dynamic sell out.
Therefore, they aim to create a commitment with pharmacists to place and sell their products.
The “sell in” and the “sell out” in the sale process are two inseparable components of an integrated offer and cooperation.
The application of merchandising tools, monthly promotion plans, educational actions in sales techniques for pharmacy teams, completes the training in products made by the brands.
Necessarily, the relationship between brands and pharmacists matures. Brands face a change in their marketing strategy that moves from sell-in to sell-out and new methods of incentivizing and rewarding their sales force.
Thus, they take into account direct sales in addition to and those made indirectly through their wholesale or on-line platforms and monitor the statistics by region every month.
At the same time, pharmacists, by online ordering, save time and save on liquidity.
Undoubtedly, online orders are strategic for wholesale distributors than for brands, as for the latter, a lot of data is based on their direct business relationship with pharmacists.
However, the online ordering tool can be additionally utilized in-between 2 visits of their sales representatives.
The meeting with the sales representative will make it possible to inventory the products, the proposed quantities, prices and discounts as well as to provide advice on the promotion and sell-out of specific products.
On the other hand, the pharmacist can consult the brand's website when, for example, he has ordered fewer quantities of a new product, whose demand turns out to be higher than expected.
You can also take advantage of the brand offers. In all cases, the discounts and offers are kept at the same level independent of the sales channel.
Any pharmacist's buying strategy must take into account one key element: the time you spend on direct purchases.
It is more profitable to save time for your customers than to seek an extra 2 or 3% discount on the purchase price of a 1€ product!
Ideally, corporate bids should be concentrated on network platforms and wholesale distributors to be able to regulate prices between pharmacies, thus allowing pharmacies that are no longer visited by brand sales teams to have competitive prices.
Brands and pharmacy chains need to work together on developing goals for online ordering and the average shopping cart and build mutual trust in the transparency of results.
The discipline of selecting the proposed suppliers is a key success factor and a guarantee of better discounts for the pharmacist participating in the network.
Faced with a global crisis and substantial professional development, the power of tomorrow will be synonymous with team market management and discipline in the strategy of a network team.
Are pharmacists finally ready to move to a new model of business relationships, as in the case of large-scale distribution, in which national or regional market groups have taken control of market negotiation for all points of sale in a chain?