U.S. Census projections show that by 2035, there will be more people over the age of 65 than there are people under the age of 18. With the “age in place” trend plus the popularity of connected devices, many senior patients will choose to receive care outside of institutional settings, creating more opportunities for your independent pharmacy to serve their needs.
Whether it’s updating your aisle signage or adding a delivery service for your independent pharmacy, it’s important that the shopping experience be senior-friendly.
Reports indicate that nearly 40% of seniors aged 65-79 live with at least one disability, and for those aged 80 or older, this share rises to nearly 71%. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that, “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.” As a pharmacy owner, you want to be compliant, but more importantly do what you can to make it easier for the customers who are affected.
There are a variety of accommodations you can make:
While seniors share many of the same health concerns as their more youthful counterparts, they’re also at higher risk for more health issues. For example, nearly 80% of seniors have at least one chronic disease, and 77% percent have at least two. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, and injury deaths. Ninety percent of Americans aged 55+ are at risk for hypertension.
Your independent pharmacy can offer services that help identify and address these issues. These services can include blood pressure testing, chronic disease management coaching, and fall risk screening. This allows patients to make the most out of every visit and take control of their health outcomes, and also gives them an additional reason to pass over competitors’ pharmacies in favor of yours.
Most people have experienced the disappointment of walking into a store, ready to spend money, only to find that the products they were hoping to buy aren’t available. Understanding the needs of your customers can help you stock the shelves with items they actually want.
When considering your senior customers, keep in mind the type of equipment that might make their lives easier. For example, for patients transitioning from a hospital to home setting, durable medical equipment is often necessary. You can improve your product offerings by including bathroom safety aids, canes and crutches, wearables for monitoring and more.
Consider researching products and services that make seniors’ lives easier, including technology, so that you stay up-to-date on potential new items for your shelves.
Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, seniors’ use of technology was growing. And though many people who have been shopping online are planning to return to in-store shopping when safe to do so, some surveys are showing that a large number of seniors are not. Well-thought out online shopping with delivery or shipping services can be a key differentiator for you with this audience. Your site should be easy to navigate and be accessible to those who may have challenges with their vision, hearing, mobility or cognition.
If you want to know how you can improve your senior customers’ shopping experience – ask! Encouraging your customers to provide feedback can reveal what products and services they enjoy, what they’d like to see added, and what changes you can make to enhance their time at your pharmacy.
There are multiple ways to gather customer feedback, including email, mobile apps, or in-store collection. Sometimes, this might be as simple as a contact form or an in-page survey on your website.
No matter a customer’s age, collecting feedback can help you better understand your pharmacy shopping experience from a different perspective. This feedback not only helps you understand the customer’s viewpoint but also shows them their opinions are valued and heard.
As a consumer group, seniors have great buying power and disposable income. They also tend to need many prescriptive and retail items you offer. As a pharmacy owner, it’s in your best interest to make sure you capture this market by providing the best shopping experience possible. In other words, make it easy for them to buy from you.