August 7, 2021

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

Peak Profits

Except for personal care OTC categories, the remaining categories have a sales peak and valley. The best example of peaks and valleys is in school supplies. Peaks in late August, valleys in May. Even though you can get a cold year-round, the cough and cold season does have a recognizable peak. Most states see a peak during the months of early December to the end of February. Northern states like Vermont will see the peak lasting from September to March. Check the statistics for your location, and be ready to have peak inventory! Resist buying 2 of the same item every day of the week! Load up for the season! Don't be afraid of floor displays or loading up an end-cap with your 6 best-selling private label cough and cold relief products. Do it, and watch your profits peak!

No Naked Legs

If you are selling socks of any kind, especially if they come in a box, you really need leg mannequins. And here is a gentle reminder: you need to put socks of different styles and colors on the leg mannequins, no naked leg mannequins. For you merchandising wizards, start adding perceived value by spiffing up the displays with ankle bracelets. Hmm, if you sell jewelry, this is also a great cross-merchandising tip!

Show You Care

Some things never change. In the upcoming September America's Pharmacist magazine, Managing Editor, Chris Linville, and I discussed what we see as the future of the out-front of a pharmacy. My contribution mainly was screaming things have to change. What I forgot to mention is what should never change. The physical exterior of the front of your store always has to look alive, sparkling clean and inviting. A cobweb here, a soiled sidewalk there, and burnt-out lightbulb everywhere screams, "We are hurting, we may not be here tomorrow!" Or at the very least, it screams, "We don't care." Stop and check the front of your building every day! I know you care.

A Date to Motivate

If there were a Hall of Shame for the worst Human Resource Manager, I would be in it. For nine years, I was an HR manager whose only motivational tools were a carrot and a stick. Raise or no raise. Whether you are a merchandiser or the PIC, if you are not motivated, the days are long. If you find motivating team members is not easy, then let's make a date. We will meet at NCPA's annual convention and listen to Betsy Allen-Manning. You might have seen her on CBS, News, FOX, NBC, ABC, and TEDx. Betsy is one of the best in helping people like me know how to increase productivity and motivation. I'm sitting upfront.

Blank to Branded

What are your customers looking at as they move forward towards your Drive-Thru window? Are they looking at a blank wall? If so, give your drive-thru entrance a new look with an inexpensive vinyl sign. Click here to see how Wyatt's Pharmacy & Medical Equipment uses a sign on their drive-thru wall to promote DME.

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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