November 3, 2018

Produced in collaboration with Drug Store News

News, products, marketing and merchandising tips for the
front end of community pharmacies

* TIPS From NCPA's Front-End Guru, Gabe Trahan *

When are you going to put your candy on sale like you did last year?

Nothing cuts to a buyer's bone more than hearing a customer ask that question. Now is the time to make your notes for next year. It is simple, how much did you sell, what do you need to buy more of, what do you need to buy less and what was left over. Good buyers never simply repeat from year to year. Instead they are always fine-tuning as the go. By now we all have learned that discounting seasonal items before the actual holiday crushes what profits you may have made and more importantly has trained customers to sit and wait for the pending sale. Here's my worksheet for you to download and take some good notes for next year.

I'd like to return this please

Review what your vendor's seasonal greeting card return policy is. Many have a short date in accepting returns; other have no return policy. If you must carry your leftover cards over for another year, that is what they are called "leftovers", then make sure you have an accurate inventory of what you have on hand before you order new ones.

Know what works for your store

It's early November, and by now you should have a good idea what the Halloween holiday season contributes to your revenue flow. Ask yourself these questions: Who and how many people am I making happy by carrying Halloween decorations, cards, candy, and costumes. Do you need to trim those categories and go more into batteries, glow sticks and other night safety products?

Avoid nightmares on Main Street

Did a staff member come to work dressed up as Freddy Krueger, and if so, how did that go? Yup, now is a good time to come up with a workplace Halloween costume policy while it is fresh in your mind.

When enough is enough

Mark your calendar for November 12th, 2018, to be sure all Halloween related products are off the sales floor. Do not make your store look desperate by leaving those last few reminders of Halloween hoping to get something, anything, for the out-of-season product. It's time to let the December Holiday products shine. Box it up, return, eat it, donate it or recycle, but get it off the shelves no later than Tuesday the 12th (this coming week would be even better).

It can't hurt to nominate your store for a NICE Award, you just might win!

It is time to get nominations in for the 2019 NICE Awards. Which of these categories is the one for something special you've done this year?

  • Best External Remodel - From landscaping and paint jobs to entire rebuilds, how did you improve your curb appeal?

  • Best Internal Remodel - Maybe you moved the pharmacy department. Maybe you created a compression section. Whatever your remodel project, how did it enhance your image and sales?

  • Best In-Store Display - When done right, end-caps are the 2nd best section for creating impulse sales. Show us the display your customers couldn't resist.

  • Best Exterior Sign - Roadside signs draw attention to your store. Have a new one you're proud of? Enter it to see if it's the best of the best.

  • Best Delivery Vehicle - Are you riding in style? Toot your own horn and show off your delivery vehicle.

  • Best Marketing/Promotion - How did you attract new customers in your community? Tell us about the great promotion you ran that you want to tell everyone else about.

  • Best Customer Convenience Improvement - Americans love convenience. We take hard processes and make them simpler, such as curbside delivery, drive-up windows and automatic doors for patients who have trouble walking into the pharmacy. Do you have a great example of how you've made life easier for your customers?

Nominate your store this year... winners will be featured in the March 2019 America's Pharmacist magazine... click here to get the details!

* Front-End Marketplace Vendors of the Month *

The Best Gifts Come in Small Packages

This month we're featuring not one, not two, but three vendors that offer lip, nail and skin care products that make for perfect little gifts. Get high-end, all-natural lip balm from Bee Bella, hydrating, collagen eye masks from ToGoSpa, and skin-exfoliating scrubs from One Minute Manicure. Each vendor is offering great giveaways or discounts that you won't want to miss. Stock up on these stocking stuffers at


Order 30 pieces and receive a FREE wooden display (limit 2 displays per store)! Also, get free shipping on orders of $250 or more.


Buy 6 Boxes of EYES & LIPS for $360 (60 sales), and get the following items FREE: 1 Box Promotional Giveaway Ice Water EYES Singles, a small retail display, and marketing materials – a $100 value!


Take 20% OFF the entire line and receive FREE ground shipping in the contiguous USA.

* More from Hamacher Resource Group *

Increasing the Market Basket – Pain Relief

Do you have space available in your Pain Relief department? Consider adding items from other categories to encourage impulse purchases and boost sales

* 2019 Planning Guide is Available Now! *

It's a Profit Makers tip every day

Sharpen your competitive edge with the Daily Pharmacy Planning Guide to boost profits and manage a better business year-round. The Guide starts in December 2018 and takes you through January 2020. A must-have item for any pharmacy owner and perfect for ANY size pharmacy!

Front End Resources for NCPA Members

Being a member of NCPA means you have access to a treasure trove of helpful hints, tips, and resources to make your front end more profitable! Download One-Pager Tips on a variety of topics. Gabe typically posts a tip once or twice a day on his Twitter account — if you're on Twitter, give him a follow at @NCPAGabe. You can also find tips in Gabe's monthly column in America's Pharmacist. The Overhaul of Fame galleries contain hundreds of photos to inspire you, from effective signs to successful end-caps and everything in between. Finally, you and your staff can access several staff training videos that will help you take an objective view of your store, both inside and out!

This wealth of knowledge is due to the fantastic photos, ideas, and suggestions we receive every day from NCPA members like you. Drop him a line at with your questions, photos, best advice, and recommendations. What's selling well in your store? Let us know.

"Profit Makers" is produced by NCPA in collaboration with Drug Store News

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