As many real estate agents will tell you, a business’s success is all about location, location, location. The right location can be the difference between a successful business and a failed operation, so you want to make sure you think about all the essential real estate factors before you sign a lease.
If a pharmacy is for sale, there will be a reason why. Some reasons may be as straightforward as the owner wants to retire and move to the beach. But others may be more complex and have an impact on your opportunity to be successful. Below are several location considerations you should ponder as you’re picking the right place for your pharmacy.
Your potential pharmacy may offer the best of everything – top-notch customer service, extensive product selection, and killer prices – but if the local population doesn’t represent your target audience, then you probably won’t be open for long.
Think about the types of customers that require your products and services. Are you targeting an older community, or one with primarily growing families with children? Do you have experience servicing the needs of low-income communities or are you more familiar with more affluence?
You might not have the budget for extensive market research, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your due diligence to understand your potential community and their needs. Research economic data such as family income to understand local purchasing power, talk with people in the community to learn what they want in a pharmacy, and dig into population demographics to determine if you and your business plans would be a good fit.
Does the location you’re considering draw the type of qualified talent you’ll need? Are there wholesalers, pharmacy software vendors, and suppliers for front-end OTC merchandise available nearby? A key to your pharmacy’s success will be your people and organizational partners.
The quality of service your pharmacy offers will largely depend on your workforce. Do you have access to the right people, with the right attitudes, skills and expertise to successfully deliver results? Depending on the local community you’ll be serving, do they need to have specific language skills to better serve their local customers?
While evaluating talent in a certain area may seem intimidating, there are resources available to help you make data-driven decisions. For example, if you are looking to add more pharmacists to your team, the Pharmacy Demand Report offers a measurement of pharmacist demand in the U.S.
As you begin your search, consider the anchor tenants in the area. The more people that surrounding businesses attract will expose your pharmacy, and ultimately more revenue.
While it might seem counterintuitive, it may be a good idea to consider taking up residence near a chain store pharmacy. These chains have the budgets to hire specialists to conduct extensive research before settling on a location, so having one of these nearby can indicate a promising market. You’ll still need to do competitive research, but don’t count out a location strictly because there is a chain store in the same area.
Just be sure you can differentiate your product and service offerings enough to redirect local business your way. Maybe you offer free prescription delivery, multilingual staff, compounding or specialty products. Whatever makes you stand out, be sure your customers will be able to recognize it.
If your pharmacy’s potential location is tucked away in a corner on a dead-end street with low-foot traffic, then you’ve got a problem. Customers can’t visit your pharmacy if they don’t know it exists. You want to make sure that commuters, motorists, joggers, and passersby can easily see your business so that it’s top of mind when they’re next in need of pharmacy services.
Visibility should be a primary consideration as you scout locations. Is your potential site on a heavily foot-trafficked sidewalk with no barriers in front of it? Is it in the basement of a small office building? Can your signage be easily spotted from the road or nearby bus stops?
Foot traffic analytics are important indicators for store performance that will make-or-break your business, so take advantage of existing data to help evaluate the viability of success at your potential location.
The science of retail store layouts has been researched and tested extensively, and there are universal truths about how shoppers move through, enjoy, and experience a space. If your potential location can’t accommodate your ideal pharmacy layout, then it’s probably not the right choice for you.
When surveying a location, keep in mind your own practical needs as well as those of your customers. Is there sufficient square footage for you to build enough aisles and shelves to display enough stock? Can the space accommodate a design that facilitates ideal traffic flow, or will visitors be forced into awkward and uncomfortable routes? Will the aisle accommodate mobility assistance devices, such as a cane, walker, rollator or wheelchair? How will customers feel shopping in a pharmacy with no windows?
You can be creative when designing your floor plan and adapt to the physical realities of a space, but some challenges may be impossible to overcome. If you will be leasing the space in a larger entity, poor maintenance of the overall structure or less than optimal tenants in the same structure (you may not want to be adjacent to an “adults-only” type of business) may interfere with plans. Make sure you’re choosing a location that suits your pharmacy’s particular needs and strengths.
Choosing the right location for your pharmacy is an important factor in your business’ success. As you scout potential sites, you’ll want to be equipped with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. Keeping specific considerations in mind will empower you to discern between a great space and a dud, so be sure you do your research.