December 16, 2017

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 *

Christmas Sales Worksheet

The most successful merchandisers take the best notes — before, during, AND after the holiday. Start jotting down your sales and inventory hits & misses THIS WEEK in my new Christmas Sales Worksheet. Be sure to mark progress after the holiday until the New Year, too.

Plan Some Changes for 2018

It's hard to move your business forward when you don't move any product at all. Review these departments to determine if they need to be increased, decreased, or eliminated: School supplies, dollar items, cosmetics, fragrances, candy, soda, greeting cards, gifts, braces, bath safety, toys, candles, boxed chocolates, compression stockings, crutches, and household chemicals. Start by confirming how many inventory turns a year you get from each category. For example, if you have a gift inventory of $25,000 at retail and you sell $50,000 a year, then you had two turns. The more often inventory turns, the better the return is on investment. Remember, you are looking to increase, decrease, or eliminate these categories. Keep an open mind and invest wisely.

What's in a Name?

Some pharmacists, after adding high-end supplements, weight control products, compression stockings, and/or natural products to their front ends, want to change their store name to "Pharmacy and Wellness Center." However, just the cost of changing labels is enough to deter one, never mind having to put up new signage and deal with mounds of paperwork. Save yourself some headaches: Go to the zoning board and ask permission to add to your store signage a simple sign that reads "& Wellness Center." It's up to you how much you want to spend on the sign. Remember to add "& Wellness Center" to your website, social media accounts, and other marketing vehicles.

* Front-End Marketplace Vendor of the Month *

Hot Item at Front-End Marketplace

Warmies® was one of the hottest items at this year's NCPA Annual Convention. These cozy, plush animals are scented with lavender that is released when microwaved. A combo of soft, cuddly plush, relaxing lavender, and warmth, Warmies are perfect for children's bedtime, especially as the temperatures drop in winter. You can also find slippers, boots, wraps, and eye masks — they would make a great end-cap. Order through

* NCPA Innovation Center's Front-End Overhaul *

New Year, New Profits

NCPA's 2018 Daily Pharmacy Planning Guide, with 365+ tips and reminders, can make your life a little less stressful and lot more profitable in 2018. Perfect for any size store, it's like having expert front-end help in your pharmacy every day. Order your copy of the 2018 Daily Pharmacy Planning Guide for the member price of only $29.95 (includes shipping) via NCPA's website or by calling 1-800-544-7447 (Guide runs December 2017 through January 2019). Consider it a Christmas gift to your pharmacy!

* More From Drug Store News & HRG *

Pet Project: Owners Will Spend on Food, Products and Services

It is estimated that $69.4 billion will be spent on pets in the United States this year. The lion's share — some $29.7 billion — will be spent on food, while pet owners will shell out $15.9 billion on supplies and OTC medicines — which constitute the third-largest spending area for pet owners... Pet care isn't just ranked eighth out of 305 supermarket categories by IRI, it's also growing two times that of the overall center store, according to Nielsen Scantrack data... Pet care also has the potential to boost total store traffic, triggering more trips than any other category, according to a Nielsen shopper study. Read more...

Focus on Meeting Your Customers' Incontinence Needs

The Incontinence category ranks 5th in dollar sales in the independent drug class of trade and continues to grow in share of dollar sales. Carry a variety of protective products from light to heavy coverage for men and women to meet the needs of your customers. With future growth forecasted for this category, review your department size to verify that you have enough space dedicated to meet customer demand. Read more...

Gabe Adds...

For years we have been told to place the incontinence section in or near the DME department, or next to baby diapers. In an interview, the manufacturer of Depends explained that adults do not appreciate incontinence products next to the baby section and that the majority of incontinence sales are made by women, even if the product is for their husbands. The best placement for incontinence is next to feminine hygiene. Read more in my tip.

This is the last issue of Profit Makers for 2017

We will resume publication on Jan. 6, 2018. Best wishes for a joyful holiday season and New Year from Front-End Overhaul!

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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