March 19, 2016

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 *

Last-Minute Easter Reminders

Remerchandise and tidy up the Easter candy/gifts section daily from now until March 27, and fill any holes in your Easter card section with boxed candy or chocolate. Add a section of single-count Easter candy to your checkout counter to encourage impulse sales. Most important: Do not discount Easter candy before the holiday! If you do, you are teaching customers to wait for a sale.

Allergy Season is Here

The unseasonably warm temperatures and wet weather across the country have brought on an early allergy season with high pollen counts. Running out of allergy relief options for customers will desperately hurt your business. Inventory, variety, and signage will be the key to generating allergy season revenue. Place your inventory orders NOW. More tips:

  • Along with the traditional antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants, a number of customers will be looking for alternative remedies. Your shelves must have an offering of natural and homeopathy allergy relief options.

  • Nasacort Allergy 24HR OTC will be a wildly popular item, making it a very price-sensitive product. Check your retails on Nasacort; you do not have to have the cheapest price in town, but you certainly can't be the highest price.

  • Prepare signs for your "Our Pharmacist Recommends" products.

  • Allergy season also brings steady customer traffic to the eye care, immune booster, and facial tissue sections. Stock up on brand and private label options. Do not rely on wholesalers' inventory to be available for daily replenishment; instead, maintain an inventory of no less than two weeks of expected sales.

Sun Care is the New Cough & Cold

It is time to brush up on your skin protection lines because tanning questions have now evolved to sun protection questions, and there will be plenty of questions coming your way. Take time to do some research. Find a brand of sun protection that you feel comfortable recommending for a young child, fair skin, dark skin, spray-on, sport, low SPF, and high SPF, as well as a gluten-free and sweat- and water-resistant brand. Customers will soon be asking for your recommendations for skin protection. Be ready!

Go from Dark and Dreary to Bright and Cheery

When was the last time you took a good look at your store lighting? Look around—does your store appear too dark? If the answer is "yes," it's time to get to work:

  • Examine your fixtures—are they blocking light panels because they are too tall?

  • How far apart are your light panels? Lights should be spaced no more than every three panels on your ceiling and should start one panel away from the edge.

  • LOOK UP! Ensure that every light in the ceiling works. Replace defective light ballast and burnt-out or nearly burnt-out bulbs.

  • Clean the fluorescent tube lighting, diffusers, and lens covers. If this is too daunting to complete in one day, try cleaning one row a week until the entire store has been done; start in the pharmacy area.

Don't Forget

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 and Gabe's Gallery 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 the first of several staff training videos that we'll be rolling out over the coming months. These videos 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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