January 8, 2022

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

Who ACTUALLY has the lowest prices in town?

It's been a while since I've been thrown out of a drug store. I kind of miss it. I was in a chain pharmacy making notes of chains' OTC retails for one of our members who said his customers would go to the chains to buy OTC because they assumed the chains were cheaper. I took photos of the shelf product tags, which conveniently shouted out the retails. A rather large gentleman approached me and insisted I give him my camera. He told me he was going to parade me through the store and then "put" me in my car. He did not get my camera, and he did not put me in my car. He wrote down the number of my rental license plate and told me that my car would never be allowed in any of the chains' parking lots again. After analyzing the photos, my client and I were blown away by realizing that his customers were wrong! The chain did not have lower prices!! That very day we changed all marketing to include "Check our prices, we have some of the lowest prices in town." Remember, you do not have to have the lowest price in town, you just need to be in a reasonable ballpark. Next week, take some time to see how you compete with the pharmacy up the road.

What month is it?

I just read on the internet that January is National Blood Donor Month, National Fiber Focus Month, and National Bath Safety Month. January is also California Dried Plum Digestive Month, Walk Your Dog Month, and National Polka Music Month! If you are looking to engage people with your digital media with a bit of silliness and or health-related info, visit the site https://nationaltoday.com. Engaging your audience is a good way to get them to come back for more!

Are you sun care smart?

January is when merchandisers are asked to review the inventory and selection of sun care products. In a non-pandemic year, it would make sense to take this time to bump up the inventory and consider introducing new lines. At the start of the third year of a pandemic, it would be wiser to check for short-dated and outdated products and then consider bringing in new lines. Don't forget to check the lip balm for out-dates, especially those that incorporate essential oils.

Can you see me now?

January is also the month to update and possibly reset the eye and ear care section. If you are a little discouraged with the turns you are getting with your department, you may consider downsizing the department. If you have a 4ft section, consider using a 3ft planogram and placing it in the original 4ft section. You have plenty of room to ensure that the pegged items will be seen and have additional space to double face your private label line in both eye and ear care.

Fancy a fence?

Merchandisers, it's time to put up a fence! I should say fences (plural). Most items placed on a slanted shelf, especially shelves placed below eye level, have a considerable advantage of being sold. When slanting a shelf, you need a "fence" to keep the product from sliding off. Shelf fencing can come in many different lengths, heights, and compositions. The more popular fencing options are the 1" high plastic shelf fence and the traditional 3" high wire shelf fence. To see how fencing can improve your merchandising skills, see these examples. TIP: Measure your endcap shelves before ordering fencing; at a quick glance, the popular 30" endcap shelf can be mistaken for a 36" shelf. I learned the hard way.

Psst, is it time to renew your membership with 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 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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