December 3, 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 *

Did Thanksgiving Sales Hurt Your Christmas Sales?

It's time to take a hard look at selling Thanksgiving decorations, gifts, and cards. Examine four figures: the cost of goods, total sales at full retail, sales at a discounted price, and final carryover (in dollar amounts). Next, take a look at the space used for the Thanksgiving items. If your numbers balance out, then stop reading and carry on. But before you go, keep in mind that it has been a long while since Christmas shopping started the day after Thanksgiving.

The majority of your competitors have had Christmas items on their shelves since early October. Is the amount of space used for Thanksgiving (and post-Thanksgiving clearance sales) delaying your entry into the Christmas selling season? The longer the discounted Thanksgiving items stay out on the shelves, the longer Christmas items have to wait and fight for space in your store. Ask yourself: "Am I making any money selling Thanksgiving-themed items? Can I sell more Christmas items if I displayed them earlier in the season?" In 2017, keep the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving; just be open-minded about changing the selling season.

The Holidays Bring Hugs, Kisses, and Sneezes—How Does Your Pharmacy Stack Up?

The merriness of the holidays seems to go hand-and-cough with hugs, kisses, and sneezes. The most prepared pharmacies will have fully stocked shelves of the most popular cough & cold products; will not have relied on next-day delivery; will have ordered long before the product hits its peak demand; and offer remedies and relief in the form of lozenges, day and night relief options, liquids, capsules, and tablets.

These stores will have also created end-caps and signage featuring ways to boost the immune system and counter displays offering natural alternatives and homeopathic choices. It will be easy to find facial tissue of all shapes and forms in these stores (sizes for the car, purse, home, and travel). Hand sanitizers will be at every pick-up, drop-off, and register counter (pocket-sized and larger bottles for the home). The most prepared stores are already ready for the holiday sick season or preparing now. Is yours?

Create a Travel-Ready End-Cap or Register Display

It's the holiday season, and soon airports will be full of travelers. Create an end-cap and/or checkout display with a sign that reads, "Don't travel without it!" along with plenty of throat lozenges, hand sanitizers, purse-size tissues, and immune boosters. Set it up today and leave it up until after Valentine's Day. Offer an assortment of regular, sugar-free, gluten-free, herbal and all-natural lozenges. Make note of what type sells best so you can stock up for the next spike in lozenge sales.

Holiday Hours

If you are altering your store and/or delivery hours for the holiday season, be sure to get signs up this week announcing the changes. Update your website, social media accounts, IVR, and register receipts, and tell your delivery driver to remind customers, too.

* Great Resources Available from NCPA *

A Tip a Day Brings Profits to Stay in 2017

Don't forget to treat your pharmacy this holiday season with the 2017 Daily Pharmacy Planning Guide, now available for purchase in the NCPA Bookstore. The guide includes 365+ tips on timely front-end department advice, merchandising, and much more. Plus, Guide owners can participate in FREE quarterly webinars on how to use the Guide effectively, as well as seasonal merchandising and marketing ideas. Order now before copies sell out at or 1-800-544-7447.

Become a Merchandising Superstar in Just ONE Day

Join NCPA for a one-day seminar Feb. 17 in Orange, Calif. or March 25 in Dallas that gives you the know-how and tools to build store traffic, attract customers, and increase your front-end profits. Led by NCPA's Gabe Trahan, who has nearly 40 years of store merchandising and marketing experience, the Front-End Profit Building Seminar will cover topics including curb appeal, floor plans and cross-merchandising ideas, inventory management tools, private label profit drivers, popular gifts, and more. Leave the seminar with an implementation tool kit you can start using immediately in your store. Register today—special rates for store team members, too.

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 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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