January 22, 2022

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

Gift show gift buying tips

From my email box: "Gabe, I plan to go to a gift show soon; this will be my first time buying gifts. Any tips?"

Reply: Do not go until you have compared your current gift inventory with past spending (from the previous buyer). Make a list of the 10 worst-selling gift lines/items. Learning from your mistakes leaves a lasting impression. Do not buy from your gut!* Instead, look for help with gift trade magazines that report on trends, like GiftBEAT. Be mindful of freight costs! Beware of vendors pushing for larger orders while describing items as "hot" or "perfect for your town."

*Note: For 8 months, I was a gift buyer for a couple thousand pharmacies. I learned buying from your gut can be very dangerous, especially if your gut got lucky once. One more note, make sure you add the cost of attending the gift show to the cost of goods purchased!

Contemplate these compression sock questions

From a zoom call. "Hey Gabe, I bought some compressions socks, and they are not moving too fast."

Reply: Are you utilizing no less than 3 leg mannequins? Do you, or at least a member of your staff, wear them? Do the socks come in a package where you can see the color and feel the material without having to open a box? Did you make the sign that explains that the socks are more than just good for your legs? Does at least 2/3 of the inventory include bright and colorful patterns as I suggested before you made your purchase?

Answer: "Nope" My reply:

Boost buying with a countdown

Valentine's Day is number one for last-minute purchases, also known as panic buying. Signs showing a countdown of shopping days to Valentine's Day will boost sales. Place one poster board size sign near the first end-cap when entering the store, a smaller sign near the pickup counter, and one outside near the drive-up or one that can be viewed inside from the drive-thru window.


First impressions

I need you to go outside; how does the entrance door(s) look? If there are signs on it other than "welcome" or store hours, reposition them to a corner of a window or, better yet, chuck them. Get rid of the clutter. Take a before and after photo; you will be happy with the results. Next, take a look at the image-maker end-cap, which is the first end-cap that normally gets your customers’ attention. If it needs to be updated, then now is the time. Your first choice for the end-cap would be a banner promoting one of your valuable services. Other choices would be immune boosters or treatment for dry skin; cold weather is wreaking havoc on the inside and outside of our bodies. Position an inconspicuous piece of masking tape on the fixture with today's date. This will be a reminder of when it's time to change the display — no more than three weeks!

Focus in on the background

Recently, a merchandiser sent me a photo of a new reset on an 8ft section. This week I was going to add it to the Hall of Fame. However, after a closer look, I noticed there was no signage used in the reset. There were distracting discolored ceiling tiles, an empty floor display in full view, and a few other things I won't mention. After you merchandise a section, take a photo of it with your phone, then focus on what you created and what is nearby.

P.S. I have had to trash a number of my own photos I intended for the gallery. Sometimes I can't see the forest because the trees are in the way. (My version of the classic quote)

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 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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