Point of sale (POS) Software as a Service (SaaS) addresses several prevalent pain points for independent pharmacies. Inventory scope continually increases—to date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved more than 20,000 prescription drugs, and over-the-counter (OTC) brands are offering a growing number of diverse products. Small pharmacies and drug stores are also working to improve customer service to compete with big box and large chain stores, luring customers away with rock-bottom pricing.
Additionally, drug stores’ larger competitors often have more funds in their technology budgets. More capital to spend on IT enables them to deploy solutions that help them increase efficiency in both the pharmacy and the front of the store and collect and analyze data.
POS Software as a Service Features for Drug Stores and Pharmacies
Value-added resellers (VARs) and the POS solutions providers with experience in this market know the technology that their clients need differs from POS systems for other types of merchants. Key pharmacy POS software features include:
- Inventory control: Pharmaceuticals must be precisely accounted for, and data-based ordering is essential to ensure the right products are on hand but that overordering, especially for pharmaceuticals with short shelf-lives, doesn’t occur.
- Compliance: Pharmacies need software that supports compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and state regulations, protecting their customers’ privacy and dispensing drugs according to the law.
- Wholesale Integration: With a system that can speak directly to a dispensary’s system, the pharmacy can find and order drugs that aren’t in stock as well as streamline the day-to-day ordering process.
- Mobile POS: During COVID-19, pharmacies may have offered delivery, curbside pickup or established line-busting processes to support social distancing. Mobile POS allows these businesses to serve their customers efficiently and compliantly.
- Integrated payments: Out-of-pocket costs for pharmaceuticals are estimated at more than $1,000 per capita. It’s likely that many—if not most—consumers at the checkout will expect the option of paying with credit, debit, or flexible spending account (FSA) cards. Integrating payments means that data is automatically shared with POS and accounting systems, saving time and ensuring accuracy.
Opportunities for POSaaS Providers
If you’ve had limited success with independent pharmacies in the past, you may be skeptical about how open your next prospect will be to upgrading to a new POS system. With limited budgets, they may feel fated with a system that’s part POS, part pharmacy management, part manual processes—with no integration.
Pharmacy POS SaaS, however, can change that. The SaaS model makes it possible for the pharmacy to pay for the system monthly as an operating expense rather than make a large capital expenditure for the upgrade. SaaS also includes security patches and other maintenance, so the business is always operating the latest, most secure software version for no additional fees.
Furthermore, because POS SaaS is delivered via an internet connection, it’s easier for your prospect to add mobile POS capabilities and access data remotely. After more than a year of social distancing and remote work, managers will quickly recognize the value.
You may also be able to capture a prospect’s attention with value-added services, such as loyalty rewards programs or gift cards, which can help level the playing field with their larger competitors.
POS SaaS will also give small pharmacies new insights. The data from these systems can populate real-time reporting on sales, margin, inventory, compliance, labor and more, giving managers the information they need to for smart decision making.
An Auto-Star pharmacy POS customer, Associated Maritime Pharmacies Ltd., uses web-based reporting to help compete with larger retailers. “Being able to access our data instantaneously and filter as needed is a critical business tool in today’s retail world. It puts us on a level playing field with a large big-box retailer,” comments Shawn Hulshof, Associated Maritime Pharmacies Senior Manager, Marketing and Retail Operations.
Small pharmacies and drug stores returning to business as usual after the COVID-19 pandemic or making some new processes a permanent part of their operations may be looking for more efficient ways to manage their businesses. They will also listen if you offer ways to match their larger competitors’ capabilities—or even one-up them in terms of customer experiences and loyalty programs.
Get the message out now that you have the POS SaaS solution that’s within reach of independent pharmacies and that can help them stay competitive.