Why millennials matter to your pharmacy
Date of publishing: 30th May 2018
Why millennials matter to your pharmacy
Source: Pfizer Healthcare Ireland
Millennials are typically defined as a group of people born between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s1. While much attention has been given to this generation’s unique attributes—its technological savvy, its tolerance and independence, and its aversion to large institutions—one aspect of millennials is most relevant to its future impact on the nation: its racial and ethnic diversity2. At the local level, millennials affect important dynamics that influence housing markets, educational institutions, tax bases, and labor forces, not to mention their implications for altering local economies, levels of income inequality, and needs for promoting greater racial and social inclusion2.
The oldest millennials are now in their early 30s, which makes them a prime emerging consumer sector3. They may have very particular and discerning tastes, which are dictated by a number of factors, the most important of which is the internet3. They also have healthcare needs specific to adults in their 20s and 30s; therefore, they are viable and potentially long-term pharmacy patients1.
We will discuss the meaning and potential value of millennials to your pharmacy, and how you can help you to appeal to this section of your customers.
Millennial consumer preferences and your pharmacy
Millennials have developed a number of specific consumer traits. For example, research has found that millennials may become loyal to a brand or store name easily4. However, they also have much more choice in terms of products, how to adopt them, and get them. For example, the 2000s has seen a meteoric rise in online shopping-based businesses such as Amazon3. They offer many extensive consumer services, including the ability to buy (non- prescription) pharmacy products online, which was not widely available until the 2000s3.
Millennials are more likely than other age groups to seek information prior to a shopping trip. They often get this information online, especially from product reviews and prices. It is common to associate the digital marketing environment and its influence when thinking of Millennials. While this is a valid assumption, word-of-mouth is equally important. In fact, it is the main source of OTC product information for Millennials. Keep in mind that word-of-mouth can often be a virtual recommendation from friends and family, with in- person interactions on the decline5.
Therefore, campaigns to help guide them to make decisions – those that answer questions on symptoms and then provide product recommendations designed to alleviate those symptoms – could be quite effective with this target group5.
This group has also been found to appreciate consumer incentives; therefore, measures such as loyalty programmes and special-offer events may also be a good idea4.
In addition, make their visits even better and more convenient by offering reliable text or online prescription refill services, staying stocked with health, beauty and wellness items, and making sure employees are available to answer their questions4.
Millennials, pharmacy, and the future
Studies indicate that Irish millennials are more optimistic about the future and the national economy compared to their contemporaries abroad, although they feel their expectations as to how businesses (and governments) can affect society are not being met6. These attitudes are also relevant to pharmacy practice in Ireland7. The PSI’s 2016 Attitudes to Pharmacy study found that 39% of its respondents would consider ordering prescription medications online7
However, the current legislation prevents Irish pharmacists from offering this option to customers8. On the other hand, they are free to sell non-prescription products online8.
Therefore, pharmacists should harness the potential of setting up a website for their shop or chain, or of improving their existing websites. Pharmacists less than familiar with standards such as HTML could use website builders such as Squarespace. Similarly, tools such as Shopify can help a pharmacist to ‘build’ a virtual store. Pharmacist websites may also become useful sources of helpful information and advice on treatments or other products. Therefore, pharmacists who feel they have an insight or contribution on a specific issue can write on it and post it on their website – or even their blog.
Believe it or not, millennials care about values. Specifically, the values of businesses. Earning the loyalty of a millennial customer is less about price and more about what your business stands for. Make sure that you share the good things your pharmacy does for its community and that your mission statement is easy to find and reflective of the products, services, and experiences that you provide1.
When courting Millennials as your target audience, be assured that this is a very self- directed age group that thrives on word-of-mouth and customized solutions. And keep in mind; they are more likely to search online for product information and reviews. Shaping your optimal communication strategies, especially through digital media, will go hand in hand with knowing what and who influences them5.
Date of Preparation: May 2018 References
- Deckard K. Why your Pharmacy Needs to Capture the Business of the Millennial Generation: rm-solutions.com; 2015 [Available from: http://www.rm- solutions.com/blog/why-your-pharmacy-needs-to-capture-the-business-of-the- millennial-generation.
- Frey, William H. The Millennial Generation: A demographic bridge to America’s diverse future. 2018
- Benson-Armer R, Noble S, Thiel A. The consumer sector in 2030: Trends and questions to consider. McKinsey & Company; 2015.
- PBAHealth. Millennial Shoppers: What They Mean for Your Pharmacy: Elements Magazine; 2015 [Available from: https://www.pbahealth.com/millennial-shoppers- what-they-mean-for-your-pharmacy/.
- Grow your over the counter medication business by courting millennials. GFK Insights. 2016. https://blog.gfk.com/2016/02/grow-your-over-the-counter- medication-business-by-courting-millennials/ Date Accessed: 21 / May/ 2018
- Deloitte. Deloitte Ireland 2017 Millennial Survey. 2017.
- PSI. Public Survey - Attitudes to Pharmacy in Ireland Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland; 2016.
- PSI. Future Pharmacy Practice in Ireland - Meeting Patient Needs. Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland; 2016.