April 30, 2022

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

Wearing red high top sneakers with a new suit was not a good fashion statement. In fact, a number of people were in a hurry to tell me how odd I looked. Many said the choice of footwear hurt my image! All this time I thought I was looking cool! I've since come to believe that every business wears red sneakers, something that the management doesn't think is a big deal, maybe even cool, but all the while hurting the business's image. Red sneakers can take many different shapes. Have you ever seen these red sneakers in a business?

* Gabe's Tips: *

Get in the zone

The ignored retail zone price of OTC's is red sneakers. Zone pricing controls the retail of products including price sensitive personal care items. Yes, this means a high price on a tube of toothpaste can ruin a store's image. Incorrect pricing on out-front products can spread the rumor that your entire store is overpriced. If your OTC sales, especially in personal care products, are not what you wish them to be, then today, call your wholesaler and ask to adjust your zone to be more competitive.

One is the loneliest number

Stocking one each of the OTC items in your stores is a dangerous pair of red sneakers! Carrying one of each is not inventory control, nor is it clever. If you have a friend who stocks one of each on the shelf, ask if their favorite store carries one of each. Share with them that they need to contact their wholesaler and ask for a report of 50 bestselling items by unit sales for Cough & Cold, Digestive, Pain, First Aid, Skin Care, private label, and supplements/vitamins. Then maintain an inventory of 3 or more of each. Eventually, your friend will thank you for the advice.

You can't ignore this

Ignoring the numbers is a pair of red sneakers that can walk you down the road to going out of business. I have friends in love with a few categories that they are not sure (and don't want to know) if the product is actually turning a profit. Product has to do at least one of three things: make you money, bring customers to your pharmacy bench, or enhance your image as a health provider. I've asked my friends to do an unbiased inventory that lists purchases, sales, back stock, and products on the floor. A few of my friends are scared that they may not like the results.

Undiscovered treasure

A marketing campaign that relies mostly on word of mouth is red sneakers. Believing that your friends and neighbors bring up your store name at parties, public gatherings, at church, and coffee shops is like believing in the tooth fairy. Customer service is your strength, and customer service keeps your customers. Effective marketing brings treasured new customers. Start budgeting to find some treasures.

Change for the better

I have been told many times by store owners they cannot make changes to their pharmacy because "Everyone loves us the way we are." I have to gently nudge them and ask, "how would your customers feel about improving your store?" Two things to remember: no store will have a good future while stuck in time and if a customer stops shopping your store because you moved a fixture, they were going to leave you sooner or later. Remember, customers are customers because of the pharmacist and their staff!

Come back in two weeks for Red Sneakers Part 2. 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. 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.

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