menu toggle

Attracting Families to Your Pharmacy: How to Wow Parents While Wooing Their Little Ones

By Cathy Humphrey

By consistently engaging with local families, you’ll multiply the number of patients under your care and ways to profitably meet their needs.
Two pharmacists help a mother and her daughter
There’s a demographic chain reaction gaining speed that can help you attract new patients and open up substantial new business growth possibilities for your independent pharmacy. This is due primarily to the fact that consumers in their child-raising years are poised to outspend Baby Boomers.1 Among these families, women hold dominant influence on purchasing decisions,2 particularly when it comes to buying OTC products, which are the items in your store with the highest profit margin.

When you combine these factors together, it makes sense then to maximize your chances for attracting new families and giving them personalized care as soon as they walk through your door. By bringing whole families into your customer base, you’ll naturally gain more business in the short term, but also set the stage for long-term development as children grow up and start making their own purchasing decisions.


Taking baby steps

If you haven’t put a plan in place for marketing your pharmacy to families, here are some steps you can take to get you started moving in the right direction:

  • Build a baby section
    Your store’s front end should feature a display of baby-specific products. Many types of OTC medications formulated for infants or young children would work well here. Options include products to treat children’s allergies; cough-suppressing ointments; low-dose pain relievers; homeopathic treatments; gas-relieving drops; and lozenges, sprays and dissolving strips for sore throats. Complementary items such as diapers, baby wipes and diaper-rash products should be stocked in your baby section as well.

    Once your pharmacy’s baby section is up and running, keep an eye out for parents who have their hands full with a sick child and be ready to answer any questions they may have. Even if they don’t need help, taking a moment to empathize with them and their little one will go a long way, especially for frazzled new parents who are still getting the hang of things.
  • Set up a designated play area
    For any parent waiting on a script fill, fun in-store diversions for children are a godsend. You don’t need to devote a large footprint to a play area, but it makes sense to position it in a low-traffic zone to avoid interference with other shoppers. Just make sure to include options for children of different age groups. For example, simple tactile toys like blocks and moving-part puzzles work well for older infants, while props for imaginative play are perfect for toddlers—a fantastic opportunity to give the next generation of pharmacists a chance to learn your craft! And just to make sure there’s something for everyone, an assortment of coloring books, crayons and storybooks will round out your play area nicely.
  • Plan special, kid-friendly events
    The goal here is to get families to visit your store even when they don’t have a need for a specific product. Gather input from your staff, block out one event per month on your marketing calendar and promote them consistently through your pharmacy’s social media accounts. For example, you might feature a visit from Uncle Sam around the July 4th holiday or organize a children’s book-reading hour on a certain date each month. Be aware, however, that such events need to run during kid-friendly hours, usually late afternoon.
  • Promote children’s health and safety
    One way to get kids engaged with their health and excited about coming back to your pharmacy is to set up a free replenishment program. You could give away low-cost items such as toothbrushes, soap or multivitamins on a monthly basis to all the children in your community. All you need to do is have their parents fill out an enrollment form and then track their participation over time to see how this initiative is helped you increase foot traffic to your store.

    You can also encourage parents to bring their little ones to health events, such as immunizations and flu clinics, to get them more interested in wellness. In regard to child safety, some independent pharmacies have had success working with their local police or rescue departments to give away children’s fingerprinting cards that can be completed and kept on file at home.
  • Stock popular toys
    This should come as no surprise, but items featuring characters from children’s movies and shows will instantly attract kids’ attention and make a trip to the pharmacy a more memorable experience. From contemporary blockbusters like Frozen to timeless classics like Sesame Street, the options are endless for curating a unique toy section in your store. However, it might be a good idea to situate it somewhere that can be easily avoided for when parents want to avoid that whole conversation with their kids.

Getting more coordinated
Experience shows that developing a kid-friendly pharmacy works best when overseen by your front-end captain, who’s responsible for maintaining displays; planning, promoting and executing events; and tracking results.

Here’s how things came together for one independent pharmacy:

As a first step, the front-end captain joined the Chamber of Commerce in the store’s community and organized an event targeted at helping young families connect with local businesses. Chamber members and local families were invited to the captain’s pharmacy for a meet-and-greet after hours.

Follow-up included another gathering at the pharmacy—a holiday theme with Santa Claus—for parents and their kids.

Additionally, the pharmacy reached out to local schools to let them know about the availability of a free kids’ multivitamin program. The school permitted flyers describing the offering to be sent home with students. The store supported the promotion with a loyalty program, wherein participating families received a “club” card that could be punched to record store visits. After reaching 20 punches, cardholders qualified to receive $10 off on store merchandise.

This scenario demonstrates how any independent pharmacy can start small with a family-friendly program, build momentum, trust and loyalty in the community, and track results to figure out what’s attracting parents to the pharmacy and where future opportunities lie.

Once you’ve engaged with local families on a consistent basis, you’ll organically multiply the number of patients under your care over time and expand the different ways that you can profitably meet their needs.

Want to increase foot traffic by positioning your business as a family pharmacy?

Through the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Free Vitamin Program, we subsidize our private-label children’s vitamins with a significant discount—as well as our prenatal, adult and senior vitamins—so you can offer free, 30-day supplies to your smallest customers at low cost. Not only will this help you attract new patients and keep your regular customers coming back, but it will also give you the opportunity to develop multi-generational connections with your community by promoting better health for the whole family.
A patient looks at Good Neighbor Pharmacy brand over the counter products on the shelf
1. Morgan Stanley. How a Youth Boom Could Shake Up Spending Trends.

2. KRC Research. Millennial Moms.

About The Author

Cathy Humphrey
Business Coach
Good Neighbor Pharmacy
View Bio