As an independent pharmacist, you do everything you can to serve your customers to the best of your ability every day – and that includes keeping up with emerging pharmacy trends. Recent trends in pharmacy, like the establishment of pharmacy clinics (for patients' non-emergency healthcare needs), are a great way to boost your bottom line and help your customers and patients out at the same time.
But there's one among the old pharmacy trends that's making a comeback: the soda fountain. Today's incarnation also includes a coffee bar as customers look for alternatives to supermarket and fast food resources, and place more value on having centralized meeting places for building a community.
History of Soda Fountains and Drugstores
Naturally carbonated waters were historically prized for their stomach-soothing abilities and were also thought to be natural tonics. While they could be captured and transported from springs, they cost a lot and were not available at the local grocery store; instead, the local drugstore was the place to gather when one wanted a "soda." And today this most enjoyable of pharmacy trends is making a comeback.
Why Should You Consider Putting a Coffee Bar or Soda Fountain in Your Pharmacy?
You may be hesitant to put a coffee bar and/or soda fountains in your pharmacy. After all, your first priority is to serve your patients' and customers' healthcare needs, right? However, as an independent pharmacy, there are some benefits to consider.
- Give your customers a nostalgic experience – or newly introduce them to "days gone by."
Putting a coffee bar or soda fountain in your pharmacy gives your customers much more than just a drink: it gives them an experience.
Traditionally, the pharmacist's soda fountain was seen as a social gathering place. Almost every American city had a soda fountain (usually at the local drugstore) by the late 1800s, and this trend continued until the 1950s when self-service drugstore chains began to be the norm. Now it's making a comeback, largely because your customers can enjoy sitting around chatting about current events with friends while they sample an old-fashioned soda or soothing cup of coffee.
- Become more than just a place customers have to visit when they don't feel well.
What's your main job as a pharmacist? Helping your customers and patients feel better, right? But that also means that they unfortunately associate you with illness or "unwellness," especially if they usually visit because they need to pick up prescriptions or over-the-counter medications.
You can change that. By installing a soda or coffee fountain, you can become a source of pure enjoyment. Your customers and patients can still get their prescriptions filled and have other medical needs met, of course, but now you have a purpose for visits that is entirely positive.
- Give your customers something to do while they wait.
When customers have to wait to get a prescription filled, your soda and coffee fountain gives them a place to relax and enjoy some down time – and a soda or some coffee – while they wait.
- Create a new income opportunity.
A soda fountain or coffee bar is yet another way to broaden your income stream. It gives you the opportunity to provide something to your customers that may not be available anywhere else in your community.
One of the most beloved pharmacy trends from days gone by is making a comeback: the soda fountain. Consider giving your customers another reason to visit you – this time for pleasure and socialization.
Source for image: Drug Store, Dicks Pharmacy Soda Fountain | by IMLS DCC