January 23, 2021

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

Vaccination Preparation

With the vaccination surge coming, it seems that everyone is looking for medical-grade gloves. My coworker Hannah Fish, PharmD reminds me that folks should also keep an eye out for extra needles, different needle sizes, bandages, cotton balls, alcohol wipes, and a hazardous waste bucket. Hannah also recommends a good supply of vitamin C and ibuprofen be available for the second dose. She mentioned it would be fun if you offered "I got Vaccinated" stickers or buttons." Hannah is just one more reason why I like being on the NCPA team.

Valentine Sunday

Valentine's Day is the holiday for last-minute panic purchases, and this year it is on a Sunday! Do not discount a thing until Monday the 15th. A sign with a friendly reminder that Valentine's Day is Sunday the 14th! or better yet, a countdown sign to Valentine's Day is a must near the approach to the drive-through and located around 8ft inside the store from the entrance door. Yes, put one in the window, but not the door!

Candy Math

A math reminder. Most of the more prominent brand-name candy/chocolate manufacturers offer a retail profit margin of 33%. If you did not order enough to get free freight, you shouldn't have ordered it. A private reserve red heart shape 17oz box of chocolates retails for around $29.99. Your cost is about $20.09. That 17oz box of chocolates sold on a 50% off clearance sale will ring at the register at $15.00. That is a $5.09 loss per box! My idea of a successful Valentine's candy season is running out of heart shape boxes two days before the holiday, leaving Valentine's wrapped everyday boxes for those who waited too long.

Manage Your Hair Care

February is typically the month when merchandisers update the hair care and hair color departments. In the early stages of the pandemic lockdown, rethinking hair color inventory was a wise choice. Please do not take the spike in hair color as a reason to expand the department. Keeping the best sellers' inventory at three or more makes good sense; expanding color choices by another 4ft section makes no sense. Take this time to order or print planogram shelf tags, review the new additions, and make note of the discontinued and removed items from your planograms.

Check Your POS Data

Take note of the difference between discontinued and removed items in a planogram. Discontinued is when a product will be no longer be available. An item removed from the plan is a product that has been replaced by a more sought-after item. It is essential to check your sales data on items removed from your plan; there is a chance that you will want to continue carrying the product. If your sales data has fallen behind or is not being maintained, make it your News Year's resolution to update it ASAP. You can't make the best decision on merchanding and control inventory without your current sales history.

Understand It All

To become an invaluable and trusted manager or merchandiser, I urge you to understand every aspect of owning a business. Being aware of how inventory management, lease agreements, controlling payroll, marketing, floor planning, assessing technology, and accurate accounting shapes the store's future. Grab the pharmacy owner and join them January 30-31 at this month's Ownership Workshop. It is a virtual two-day event that will empower you to be one of the best there is! You may even be considered a unicorn. Check it out and register here! PS, I'll see you there.

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 gabe.trahan@ncpa.org with your questions, photos, best advice, and recommendations. What's selling well in your store? Let us know.

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