I get asked a lot about how to build a profitable weight loss retail store in a physician office. Physicians and health systems want to add a retail store but aren’t sure how to begin…or how to avoid operating at a loss since retail isn’t necessarily the forte of most healthcare providers (and actually something they avoid so they don’t appear ‘salesy’). Actually, I despise feeling salesy as well and have discovered it doesn’t have to be that way at all!
At Weight Loss Practice Builder, we promote 5 profit engines. Of these 5 profit engines, the Retail Profit Engine is one of the most powerful. This profit engine has been proven to add $40,000.00 or more of additional recurring revenue each month for physicians. Yes, that’s up to $480,000+ of additional revenue annually. Since it seems to be a hot topic, I’ve created a step-by-step plan to make it happen for any physician/health system:
- Create your plan/budget for success: Having an implementation plan and realistic budget with agreed upon minimal, target and stretch goals sets the stage for swift implementation. It also provides for an immediate ROI and lack of wasted time, resources and energy.
- Decide upon your time-frame for implementation: Your retail store can be up and running in as little as 1 week depending upon how many products you desire to sell. If you are planning on a larger storefront, plan on 4-8 weeks. The time-frame is less as long as you follow a set plan as outlined here.
- Determine the right size store for your situation: Your retail space can be as small as a closet or as large as our biggest storefront which is 1,500 square feet. In fact, you can begin operating from a closet and grow from there.
- Pick your products: Product selection depends upon 4 things including: taste (for obvious reasons); nutritional content (that supports what your patients need); desire to private label (or not) and space (for storage requirements). Start small, see what sells best and then increase your par levels of stock.
- Set up your sales systems: Efficiency requires systematization. It also requires a natural balance with high customer service. You can either integrate the product sales in your current computer system or integrate easy low cost solutions that also provide for an e-store and rewards programs for your patients to enjoy.
- Train your staff: Not only is technology training necessary but having a “cheerleader” who enjoys sales is extremely helpful. Customer service training is a great way to not only help your store sales, but increase patient referrals and the overall positive attitude/atmosphere throughout all service points of your program.
- Promote your products: Providing your staff (and yourself) with a cost effective way to use the products will help them promote them to others. It’s easy to promote your products when they believe in them and use them personally. You can easily integrate promotion and education of your vitamins and supplements at office visits, in educational materials, via e-mail, via text and/or social media. Having a promotional plan makes this turn-key so you never miss a beat…or sale!
- Track your positive ROI: Track your retail store as a separate cost center. In this way, it is easier to track revenue, cost of goods sold, sales tax and any other associated costs. We recommend doing this at least monthly and specific to any promotions you offer (monitor those sales spikes). This will help you fine tune your strategies for rapid growth and marketing with a positive ROI.
- Implement growth strategies: Once you have your retail store up and running, monitor what is working well, what needs fine tuning and what needs to be eliminated. Brainstorm growth strategies with your front line employees and be open to new “out of the box” ideas that make sense with your plan (step 1). Your Retail Profit Engine can be one of your most fun endeavors. It is also something you can incorporate for maximum promotion through your events, support groups and store discounts that help incentivize all your other 4 bariatric program profit engines.
Reach out to me if you have any questions or want to talk about how you can accomplish your specific retail goals quicker than you ever thought possible – Karol@WeightLossPracticeBuilder.com