The holiday hams have been eaten, Santa has come down the chimney, and independent retailers are now facing the dreaded post-holiday shopping slump.
You are bound to see some dropoff in activity at your pharmacy at the end of the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to low sales.
Here are ten ideas for keeping your pharmacy from becoming a ghost town in this traditionally quiet shopping period.
1. Markdown madness
As we turn over the calendar, it’s out with the old and in with the new. The best way to flush out the merchandise from the holiday season and make room on your shelves for new items is by marking down old products.
Unlike other sales promotions, the intention of markdowns is to get rid of certain inventory completely. Have a target end date in mind, and as you get closer to that end date, slash prices lower and lower until all the merchandise has disappeared from the shelves.
2. Make the most of returns
One side effect of the flurry of holiday shopping is the inevitable influx of returns that follows. For occasions like this, make sure you have a clear return policy to avoid frustrated patients.
But returns don’t have to be viewed as a loss or failure. Instead, view them as an opportunity to make a connection.
When patients come in to make a return, make an effort to suggest a product they can exchange it for. You can also offer a discount who take you up on making an exchange. This way, you don’t lose money on returns and you may even make an even bigger sale.
3. Fill in Christmas gift gaps
Chances are, your patients didn’t get everything on their list this Christmas. Have complementary items on your shelves to help them fill in the gifting gaps.
For example, a patient may have gotten a new hairdryer, but they didn’t get the diffuser they need to do tier favorite hairstyle. Or perhaps patients will need batteries for all their new gadgets.
Advertise the items that may have been missing from under the tree on your social media pages so patients know where to find them.
4. Cater to planners
You might think it’s too early to think about Christmas 2022 — but now is the time to appeal to your ultra-prepared patients.
Instead of writing off your unsold holiday merchandise as a loss, market to people who are already planning next year’s perfect Christmas. Keep a small holiday display up and include messaging with ideas for next winter.
Mark down these items, and people thinking ahead will purchase them knowing they got a great deal.
5. Keep your front-end tidy
After the holiday shopping blitz, your front-end may look a little worst for wear. Do some cleanup to ensure patients aren’t walking in to see empty or disorganized shelves.
Sweep up the floors, squeegee the smudges off your windows, and wipe down any dust that has accumulated on the shelving units.
Even if you are a little light on inventory in the midst of the supply chain crisis, pull products forward to the front of the shelves to avoid the museum effect, which will give patients the impression
6. Target New Year’s resolutions
Nearly half of your patients are making New Year’s Resolutions right now. Cater to those folks making a fresh start.
As a resource for health and wellness in your community, your pharmacy is primed to make connections with people trying to adopt healthier habits in 2022. Help them find the products they need to achieve their goals.
Create displays with suggestions for healthful supplements, or create a hands-on station where patients can try out hand weights or exercise bands. On your social media pages, ask followers what their resolutions are and offer tips for sticking to them.
7. Try something new
As your patients are committing to their resolutions, it could be a good time for your pharmacy to try something new, as well.
The post-holiday period is the perfect time to launch a new service or introduce a new product. Having something fresh on deck will tempt patients into the store to check out — and while they are there, they could end up adding something else to their basket.
8. Thank your loyal patients
After you close out the holiday season, show thanks to the patients that visited your pharmacy during the busy season.
Send out an email to the members of your loyalty program wishing them well for the new year and thanking them for their business in 2021.
Include an exclusive offer or tempting discount with your thanks to invite them back into the pharmacy at the beginning of 2022. Ending the year on a positive note with your highest value patients will set the tone for the next year.
9. Don’t go dark
After the hectic holidays, you might have an impulse to step back and take a break. But instead of going dark, now is the time to keep reminding your patients that you’re open and you have a lot to offer.
Keep your marketing efforts active during this quiet post-Christmas season to keep your pharmacy at the top of patients’ minds. They will likely have less on their plate, too, which means more time to pay you a visit.
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PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.