CBD Group

Business consultant Sal Noble poses 10 questions every independent pharmacist should ask themselves about the CBD range they stock

CBD is becoming an integral element of the independent pharmacies business offering. However, the importance of evaluating if you have the right offering in place, and equally, if it is working well for you is underestimated, yet it is a useful exercise for anyone wishing to grow their revenue in 2019.

Making your CBD offering ‘work harder’ across all facets of your business to optimise resources, improve customer satisfaction, increase turnover and unlock new revenue streams begins with these 10 key questions:

  1. What is your current turnover of CBD sales per month?

Stock should be moving fluidly and represent an exciting and very influential part of your day-to-day running of the pharmacy. Pharmacies can generate anything from £1,000 to £10,000 or more on a monthly basis from CBD oil sales alone. Many pharmacies fail to unlock this revenue potential and, with it, the benefits of cash flow and customer satisfaction.

In order to optimise your CBD turnover, consider not offering too many different brands, as this can prove counterproductive. Instead make sure that the brand/s you do stock have a comprehensive offering to meet the wide array of your customers’ needs and that you have a clear strategy in place for all stages of your customers’ journey, which will be explored in this article. 

  1. Are you getting results that your staff and customers are delighted with?

Whilst the level to which the pharmacy may be invested in evaluating customers feedback may vary, reactions, downtime, complaints, returns, repeat visits and repeat purchase are all meaningful feedback mechanisms of results of your chosen CBD brand. Every pharmacy will also have regular insight to the verbal feedback from its staff and customers. If your team is not excited and confident to use the products themselves and are not enthusiastic to sell it to customers, then it could be that there is something that may be amiss with your selection. Sit down and re-evaluate your choice. If you conclude that you have the correct selection, consider providing more training for your staff, as they may not be confident in selling the product if they don’t have the correct knowledge of the ingredients, mechanism of action, and application. For every brand we distribute and sell we provide extensive training for every member of the staff at every pharmacy where the products are stocked. This has been well received by every party in the chain, from owners, stuff all the way to the customers.

  1. Does your brand of choice create its own demand?

Life is made a lot easier where pre-existing awareness and demand exists for a brand you offer. Equally, if the brand provider is demonstrating continual efforts to drive this awareness and demand into your pharmacy and generate footfall for and with you, even better. That’s not to say stocking a range that is less well-known is not recommended – often pharmacies choose an unknown brand as they don’t want what everyone else has and it allows them to stand out. But bear in mind that you may have to work harder to establish a brand presence before you have even sold a single product. Most importantly, select a brand that has control over their seed to sale journey, or at least a brand that knows where their ingredients are coming from if they are not already growing it themselves, look for brands that have evidence-based results in the clinical and consumer sector and have tested their products on metals, pesticides, bacteria.

  1. How many customers don’t currently buy CBD products from you?

How many regular customers do you have that are not buying CBD products from you? If they are not buying from you then they are likely buying from someone else. Most pharmacies rely on their stuff to make recommendations to their customers and sometimes there is little incentive, time and the correct offering in place to enable them to do so effectively.

Customers’ understanding and education of benefits of CBD is key to laying the foundations for their purchasing decision and this education should be threaded through their customer journey with you. Ensure team members understand the importance of CBD, why customers want it, and educate them in how to effectively to make recommendations for their customers’ needs and conditions. Incentives to support this training could include giving a percentage of their sales back to them in either products or a bonus, or what can be very effective is defining a reward of their choice at the start of a period and motivating them to achieve it through their sales.

  1. Is it producing your best return on investment (ROI) in your pharmacy?

CBD range, if leveraged strategically, have the potential to be one of the most flexible, low investment, hardworking assets you have. Stock on your shelves is a perfect place to start and the power of retailing is demonstrated when we strip things back to basics: just one member of staff a day targeted to sell one CBD Oil each day could equal £17,000 a year (based on selling five per week at £70 RRP) and that sale may only take a few minutes per day.

CBD sales require little time and give customers ongoing results and a reason to return. 

  1. Is your CBD offering integrated at each stage of the customer journey?

Every aspect of the customer journey has the potential to be transformed into a new sales opportunity. Review your current journey – from the moment they contact your store to the moment they leave and assess how and if your CBD range play a role in the customer experience:

Stage 1: Consultation This stage can be used to initiate the customer’s journey with you and embark on their first steps to improving overall health with CBD straight away. This could be where you discuss their current regime, what products they use, what they are hoping to achieve, recommend different forms and strengths of CBD that will be of benefit to the customer. It will create loyalty and show customers that you are committed to achieving their results. At the very least, the consultation should cover the importance of dosing.

Stage 2: Purchase After you’ve discussed options and customer has opted for the product, you can build the customers relationship further by advising on complementing their purchase with a supporting CBD product. In our stores we offer topicals – CBD balms with purchase of CBD oil. This especially works for customers looking to improve their skin or ease arthritis pain.

Stage 3: Post-Sale

Customer relationship management (CRM) may not be an avenue fully explored by independent pharmacies, yet the stage at which the customers are away from the pharmacy and potentially not even planning a return visit, can represent a valuable source of retail sales. Look at every aspect of your business and evaluate where you can add value and create an edge to your customer experience. Your customer journey is paramount, and your messaging needs to be clear, cohesive and consistent with follow-up procedures in place to make any meaningful changes to customer purchasing patterns.

Know your customers, their buying patterns, their health concerns and offer products to meet their needs continually. Remind them what you offer regularly and enlist creative ways to engage with them and make your offering relevant and appealing to them. It helps to have a CRM system in place to implement this, however, it is not essential if budget is a constraint. CRM can be easily improved with some careful customer segmenting, record keeping and an electronic mailing facility.

  1. Do you offer a unique CBD brand or a product?

Having a unique CBD product can be critical for cementing the brand’s place within your pharmacy. CBD products come in form of edibles, oils, topicals, powders and capsules. A unique product is one that encapsulates your approach and often would feature something that is bespoke or unique to you or the store. It is the product that you would use for press opportunities and promote with confidence. Additional news, events, offers and revenue can be generated as a result of offering a unique CBD product alongside your general portfolio. This can provide further revenue for your pharmacy, as customers will come to you specifically for this and it will set you apart from competitors.

  1. Are you utilising your CBD provider?

Ideas and materials ranging from videos, case studies, testimonies, flyers and social media assets should be supplied in abundance from your CBD provider – after all, they have the most experience in the brand. Sampling tools are often overlooked as a key tool but used correctly they can be very effective in initialising sales that may not have otherwise occurred. Sampling should be tailored to generating purchase intent; giving out random free samples without a thought to what the customer needs won’t be constructive and won’t allow customers to see the full potential of the products.

Make sure to have a mechanism in place to follow up and make a transaction with persons you’ve given the samples to, otherwise it is a wasted opportunity. Use these opportunities to build loyalty and ensure customers return to you for all their health needs. 

  1. Are you using your CBD brand to grow your social media engagement and profile?

Social media is critical in engaging with current and prospective customer. Your chosen CBD brand should have the profile, news and tools to support you in your social media strategy. It should echo your core values and marry with your intended perception within the market – so it should be interwoven throughout your social media activity in order to build the relationship with your target market.

In addition, proactive PR support from your brand is also important in you maximising your success as a pharmacy. Celebrities, reputable key opinion leaders and influential journalists/bloggers provide a way to further engage with the aspirations of your target market and your CBD brand could provide a cost-effective valuable toolbox in support of your efforts in doing this.

  1. Is your distributor your business partner?

The answer to this question is more than likely evident at this stage following an assessment of the above points. Your chosen distributor should be working to proactively help you address each one of these points, no matter how small your pharmacy is or how new you are to the industry. Select a partner who truly cares about your success and thoroughly supports you in achieving the most from their brand in your business.

Disclosure: Sal Noble is the CEO of London CBD Group, which distributes a number of high-quality CBD brands. The Group specialises in working with pharmacies in the UK to enhance propositions with high quality transparent and trusted brands, grow revenue and educate partners and consumers.