May 15, 2021

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

You've got mail, we've got stamps

Father's Day card sales pale to Mother's Day cards. Knowing that, along with knowing our customers with this pandemic appreciate a one-stop-shop, the USPS Forever® Stamp might be a good item to stock. It may mean one less stop your customer will have to make. If you order the stamps ahead of time, you will find many to choose from; from the new Star Wars Droid stamps or stamps that read Thank You, Love, and Drug-Free USA, to photos of Arnold Palmer, hearts (Made of Hearts), and Scooby-Doo! If it were me, I would load up on the Love stamp with the Made of Hearts as a close second. I suggest selling the stamps at or near your cost. P.S. Another reason to keep people out of the Post Office is some of them sell cards!

Card categorization

For whatever reason, I had a tough time finding a "For my wife" Mother's Day card this year. All but one of the stores was using category header cards. The others chose not to or didn't have them. Merchandisers, it's time for you to step in and confirm that your card department is categorized the way you would like it to be! The goal is to make it easy for people to find the card they are looking for.

Insole soul search

I know a number of you purchased an insoles program that came with a hefty inventory of premium-priced insoles. One store I visited had more dollars invested in the insoles than they did in the pain and cough & cold departments combined! If it has been a year or more since you have seen any sales in the insoles display, bite the bullet and put in place a "buy one pair and get the second pair free." I'm sure you have a better use for the 3ft space the insole display is taking up.

Brace yourself

Braces, knee, wrist, etc., category is often misunderstood; at times, I find braces merchandised near the DME; other times, I find them next to the leg health section. And recently, I saw them on a wall near the checkout counter. The best placement for braces is near the first aid section. If you display the braces on the wall, leave enough room to cross merchandise arnica cream, arnica tablets, ice packs treatments, and elastic bandages.

Spring cleaning time

Customers are attracted and feel safer by the looks of a clean store exterior. Not just windows and doors but also the sidewalk! If you haven't done it yet, rent a hot water pressure washer with steam. Give your sidewalk and, if you have time, your neighbor's sidewalk a good yearly cleaning. You will be amazed at how good your entrance will look.

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

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