February 6, 2021

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

Love may have no plans, but your store needs them

For this Valentine's Day, you will need two plans.

Plan one is for the days leading up to the 14th. Feature everything that you may have forgotten that can be sold for Valentine’s Day: Pink, red and white candles, massage oils, CBD, wrapping paper, scented soaps, plush animals, toys of any kind and boxed everyday chocolates. If available, feature gifts for babies and toddlers; they tend to be forgotten on Valentine's Day. Consider integrating the above-mentioned everyday products in or near your valentine section. Valentine money gift cards are a must by every register. At the drive-up window, post a list of heart-healthy supplements. Relocate sexual health products to the top shelf of your family planning category.

Plan two: After closing on the 14th or early February 15th, take an inventory of Valentine’s Day wrapped products before they are discounted. Return all everyday items you featured as a valentine item (plan 1) to its regular home. Consolidate valentine items to make room for merchandising your Easter lines. Do not use an endcap for featuring 50% off goods! Use endcaps for full profit margin items or banners promoting services. Your after-Valentine’s Day sale should run from February 15th to 25th. That will give 10 days, including 2 weekends, to clear out product. On the 26th, box up and inventory every seasonal valentine item that can be sold for next year. Valentine candy should be donated and cleared from the shelves. To help plan for next year fill out the two-page Front-end Overhaul Valentine's Day Sales Worksheet on the 25th as well. You can find the form here. You can also find the forms in "Gabe's Favorite Tip" book.

Gift Buyers unite!

It's time to go from gift buying to gift selling! The lure to purchase new gifts for the new year must be postponed. There is no doubt that gift sales have suffered for the last nine months and the climb to new sales will be slow. Stores that rely on gift sale revenue are seeing a cash flow deficit. Remodel your gift department to look new. Raise your gifts' perceived value with enhanced lighting, clever signage, and open aisles. In short, reinvent your gift department. There are two ways to help cash flow, control inventory or cut payroll. Which one do you prefer?

From my mailbox: Gossip Control

"Gabe, while remodeling to create wider aisles, we left an 8ft long gondola empty. We had planned on taking down the fixture. But before we could, we had three posts on our Facebook page asking if we were going out of business! Our empty fixture was spreading rumors about our store!"

Yup! Nothing screams "going out of business" like an empty fixture. Other well-known gossipers are empty shelves, departments averaging 4 items missing for every 4ft section, duct tape on the carpet and OTC inventory of one each. One each on the shelf is not a clever inventory policy; one each squashes all hope for sales growth.

Niche or Not

I received the following question from a recent Ownership Workshop graduate: Do you consider CBD a good niche? It is no longer a niche; it's a must-have! CBD has become ubiquitous. If you are looking for a good niche, it is you! Start by finding the CBD line or lines you feel as a pharmacist you can recommend. Then learn everything about the lines and be able to offer consulting on the proper CBD that someone should be taking. Become the CBD expert. Back up your expertise with strategic product placement near the pharmacy. Create a sign that will compel customers to ask you what CBD product is best for them. Example: Are you concerned whether you should be taking CBD with medication or vitamins? For more information on CBD, go to NCPA CBD Source.

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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