March 2, 2019

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

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

Busting Myths for Profit Makers

Become a merchandising wizard by busting these myths:

Myth one:
Placing the top shelf on a gondola two notches down from the top will cut down on shoplifting.

No, it doesn't. All it does is limit your merchandising space and invites customers to scrape their knuckles. People that come into your store to shoplift are not intimidated by a shelf lowered by an inch and a half. Unless your shelving is more than 60" high, set your top shelf at the tippy top.

Myth two:
The oldest myth of them all. The smallest product goes on the top shelves, and the largest goes on the bottom.

When it comes to general merchandise, the most expensive items, known as the "bigger ring at the register" go at eye level, and in most cases that is the top. This means the display that you may have with vaporizers & humidifiers on the bottom two shelves, big boxes of Kleenex on the middle shelves and the Kleenex pocket packs on the top needs to be reversed. Whether it's candy, humidifiers, gifts, plush toys, bags of chips, candles or nutrition, the bigger ring goes on the top. (See Cold & Flu End-Cap, Before & After)

Myth three:
If I put the pocket Kleenex, votive candles or small boxes of chocolates on the bottom shelf no one will see them or buy them.

Frankly, making sure these inexpensive items sell shouldn’t be your top priority. Here is some merchandising magic to make the small boxes of candy appear on the bottom shelf. Tilt a wide shelf near the bottom of the fixture until it touches the base shelf, use a piece of shelf fencing or rail to keep the little boxes from sliding off. (See Boxed Chocolate Merchandised to Sell)

Myth four:
Placing small items in front of larger items while placing a stuffed animal on the top of the large item ads depth and height to the display.

Actually, it hampers the sale of the 'big ring at the register" because now the customer is asked to move the small box and find another place for the stuffed animal. Putting a stuffed animal on top of anything is like putting a sign up that reads "not for sale." (See Candy End-Cap Before and After)

Myth five:
Covering the pegboard backs of fixtures with gift wrap makes all displays look wonderful.

Unless the category is gifts, candy or seasonal, then there should be no wrap; you can't glamorize bug repellent or compression stockings with cheerful wrap. For those categories listed earlier, keep the wrap simple. Wrap with intricate designs is a distraction and can create a cluttered look. Wrap is not a cure-all.

Myth six:
Here is one from the late '60s. The retail price sticker goes on the upper right-hand top corner of the front of the packaging.

(I was reminded of this one last week.) The sticker goes anywhere but the front, or over directions, ingredients and or expiration date. Three reasons why the sticker does not go on the front of the package.

One, manufacturers spend a great deal of money and research to make the package attractive and compelling; they did not have a price sticker in mind. Two, placing a sticker on the front is begging the consumer to focus on the price. Three, it's a good thing when a customer picks up an item to see the price, once in the hand there is a good chance it makes it to the register counter.

* Front-End Marketplace Vendors of the Month *

TICK-Tock: This Deal Won't Last

Enjoy a 20% SAVINGS plus FREE freight when you order at least $120 of product from Ticks-N-All or Nantucket Spider, two of our newest Front-end Marketplace vendors. These brands offer all-natural tick and insect repellents that actually smell great and keep your customers and their pets bite-free. Stock up and merchandise on the register counter and with sun care products.

* More from the Daily Planning Guide *

Mardi Gras is Tuesday

Did you remember that Tuesday, March 5th is Mardi Gras? Folks that use NCPA's Daily Pharmacy Planning Guide were reminded with a tip to have a counter display of pain relievers ready for those who may over-celebrate. This year's version of our useful guide full of daily tips and reminders is still available through the NCPA Bookstore.

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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