July 24, 2021

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

New Back to School Look

Our local pharmacist attempted to shake hands with my two grandsons, ages 15 and 10. They both declined and jumped back in disbelief. I’ve noticed that both of the boys have a mask and hand sanitizer with them at all times. They wash their hand several times a day; trust me, this isn't the way it always was. Soon the boys will be returning to live in-class schooling. All students will be wearing a mask. Back-to-school departments are going to look different this year. New additions will include masks, hand sanitizers, vitamins C, D, B12, Zinc and of course, immune boosters. Immune boosters are available in chewable, liquid, powder, and children's formulas. You will want to have plenty on hand.

Resist the Big Box-ing Match

Don't get into a fight you can't win. On July 9th of this year, I had to go into a big box store. There, hanging from the ceiling, were two huge signs. One read "End of Summer Sale" and the other said "Back to School Sale." If you had these sales, your profit margin for the season would be around 10%. The Big Box guy is buying much better than a community pharmacy can dream of. Watch for trends, adjust your opening inventory, take good notes, and resist going head-to-head with Mr. Big Box. There is no money in it.

DIY Remodel

If you think $48.00 is nuts for a sheet of plywood, wait to see what new fixtures cost! The price of steel is higher than I have ever seen, but don't let that stop you from remodeling. Improving the way your store looks sends a loud message that you are doing well and will be around for a long time. Click here for tips on how to remodel on a budget and hints on how to move a gondola.

Show Off on Social Media

This can't be any easier. Are you stumped on what to do with your social media platforms? August is National Immunization Awareness Month and National Wellness Month. The photo section of your Business Facebook page needs to feature photos of your consult or vaccine room(s). Make sure the rooms are spotless and look inviting. While you are at it, make sure to cross merchandise some immune boosters in the room.

Snazzy Sniffle Section

August is the month that merchandisers snazz up the Cold and Allergy sections. By snazz up, I mean sharpen your cross-merchandising skills! Place lip balm, thermometers, medicine spoons, medicine droppers, and all-natural lozenges on clip strips. On the end-cap near the section have vaporizers, humidifiers, and facial tissues. Adjust the planogram flex space to promote your pharmacist's recommended vitamins and large bottles of hand sanitizer. Don't forget the oldy but a goldie tip: cross merchandise premium toothbrushes with the sign, "Throw those germs away! Time for a new toothbrush."

Know and Grow Without FOMO

From the sound of everything, it looks like everyone is making plans to attend NCPA's Annual Convention. If you haven't made your plans yet, make sure to come to Charlotte a few days earlier. The Pharmacy Ownership Workshop is from October 7-9. Most people think the workshop is for new owners; well it's not. It's for anyone who wants to be better at understanding every aspect of running a profitable pharmacy, from payroll to marketing. The more you know, the more you grow. Register today.

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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