December 4, 2021

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

Christmas Discounts

From my mailbox: "Gabe, some of our neighbor gift stores in town have been promoting Christmas since November 1, and their Black Friday sale included Christmas 50% off. Can you give us some kind of guidance for timelines on holiday merchandising, especially Christmas?"

Reply: I am more than ok with November 1. Christmas at 50% off only makes sense if this is the last year that you are selling Christmas items. If you feel you need to compete with a Black Friday sale, choose the seasonal items you want to liquidate and host an "Up to 50% off on selected items sale." Click here for the Christmas worksheet; you will be glad you did.

No need for empty shelves

From a recent zoom meeting: "Gabe, what can I do with empty bottom shelves of my seasonal section?"

Answer: First, see what everyday items can be incorporated into your seasonal section, such as puzzles, games, stuffed animals, candles, gifts, and even clothing. Merchandise the new categories vertically, not just on the bottom shelf. Next, use holiday wrap to cover empty boxes, use boxes close to the same height as possible. Move your merchandise up and use the boxes as fillers on the bottom shelves. Keep the boxes for next year. This works for endcaps as well.

I Spy: Facial Tissue

Raise your hand if you have facial tissue in or within view of the Cough & Cold section. Don't feel alone if your hand is not up. Build an endcap with vaporizers and facial tissue. Merchandise by value, not by size! Vaporizers go on the higher shelves and the facial tissue on the lower shelves.

You've got the Power!

If you have aisles 4ft or wider, then you have room for a power wing panel. A power wing is an add-on display rack that stands 48 inches tall and 16 inches wide. The wing is typically attached to the side of an endcap. Though you can purchase wire baskets for the wings, the wing is mostly used to display pegged items. Purchase 3 wings; don't worry, they will easily pay for themselves.

December Merchandising Updates

The month of December, merchandisers are given the task of updating the Smoking Deterrents (just in time for New Year resolutions) and Incontinence sections. Combined, the two categories should take less than an hour to adjust. When it comes to smoking deterrents, check the new item list and the expiration date on your present inventory; remember, OTC has not been flying off the shelf during the pandemic. When it comes to Incontinence, you will find most of the items are shipped by the case. For that reason, individual items can be mispriced with the case retail or not priced at all. Take a few minutes today to check your pricing and keep an eye out for possible overstock.

Helpful Holiday Tips

Here are a few things you need to do within the next few days. Clearly post your return policy at every checkout counter. Have everyone on your staff sign that they have read and understood the return policy. Lastly, revisit or create a backup plan for staff shortages. It may be time to hire a temp just to run the register. You may even find a pharmacy student coming home for the holidays.

Thank you for being a member of NCPA!

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. 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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