August 21, 2017
Independent community pharmacies need to maximize every revenue stream to stay competitive.
And, with big box pharmacies offering unprecedented options and convenience, you face especially tough competition in your front end.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) offers practical front-end overhaul tips throughout the year that help independent pharmacies improve their front end and stay ahead of the competition.
We’ve compiled 25 front-end tips so you can start differentiating your front end today.
The shelf closest to eye level is always the most effective at promoting products. Place your most important items at eye level and the least important items on the bottom shelf.
Ask your pharmacists for their recommendations from each major over-the-counter (OTC) category. Then, place a sign that says, “Our Pharmacist Recommends” in front of each of the recommended items.
Price a personal care item 25 cents below your cost and call it the “Manager’s Special.” Run the special once a month for no more than two weeks. Customers will start visiting for more than the “Manager’s Special” and shop the entire retail area.
Place banners on a few end caps to promote services you offer. Customers may not know about services like travel immunizations or a smoking cessation program.
Planograms serve as a map for your front-end inventory. They point you toward proper subcategory placement, priority product placement, new item placement, and they offer suggestions on removing slower-selling items.
Don’t leave your front end arranged exactly the same way for months on end. Change it up. Stay up-to-date on the latest merchandising trends and newest products to keep your front end looking fresh and inviting.
Does your pharmacy’s entrance impress your customers before and after they walk in?
Ways to make your entrance look good:
Customers make the most impulse purchases at the checkout counter. Keep the counter clean and tidy and rotate strategic items every couple weeks to keep your stock looking fresh.
Visit your competition and keep track of how much they charge for their front-end products. If your front-end products are more expensive, you’re losing profit and customers.
Shelf tags create a permanent home for products to help customers know where they are, and they make it easier for you to reorder products.
A sign should attract attention, be easy to read from a distance and offer compelling information. The font is important, so choose one that’s sleek and easy to read. Better yet, have a professional design your signage for you.
If you’re thinking about adding a new category or an extension to your front end, first answer three questions:
If you answer, ‘yes’ to two of the questions, then you can feel safe adding it to your inventory.
Bundling products is the quickest way to increase sales. For example, place facial tissue in the cough and cold department along with vitamin C, hand sanitizer and thermometers.
During the holidays, everyone is traveling. Create an end cap or checkout display with a sign that reads, “Don’t travel without it!” and offer throat lozenges, hand sanitizers, purse-size tissues and immune boosters.
Every part of your retail area, including the often-neglected backroom, should help your operations, your patient care or your sales. Every week or month take time to organize, declutter and clean your backroom.
Keep the front row of your shelves full so you maximize the number of products facing your customers. For example, create four rows that go three products deep instead of two rows that go six products deep.
Wound care is the second-most important OTC category, with a potential profit margin of more than 40 percent. If you’re knowledgeable in wound care and can answer customer questions, you’ll have an advantage over the national chain pharmacies.
The family planning department falls victim to the most shoplifting. Reduce shoplifting by using a high-profile end cap near the pharmacy area.
Vitamin and supplement products are profitable and boost traffic. Find and sell products that you believe in. And, learn about them in detail so you can explain to customers why they’re a good choice.
Make sure everyone on your staff understands the process for returned products. And, post signs at each register stating your pharmacy’s return policies for customers to read.
Change out products at your checkout on a regular basis. If some products sell well, reposition them to make the area look new.
And, don’t put sales items at the checkout. They’re meant to attract new customers, not create impulse buys.
Keep your pharmacy fresh and clean to make it attractive to customers. Check your exterior, including lights, awnings, overhangs and signage. Clean up trash cans, add flower pots and repaint anything that needs it.
Don’t put price tags on the front of the item or over important information.
Price stickers obscure the quality and benefits of the brand by redirecting the consumer’s focus to the price tag.
Customers buy five to 10 times more if they have a shopping basket in their hands.
Provide an ample amount of clean shopping baskets at your entrance, as well as throughout the entire front end.
You want to sell products before they expire. That may mean discounting them 50 percent. But before you do that, ask your wholesaler if you can send them back. As a last resort, donate them to a food pantry and write them off.
Differentiate your pharmacy with a few updates to your front end.
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