May 16, 2020

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

For your safety and ours

Before you re-open your store and schedule more regular hours, plan to announce the steps you will be taking to keep your staff and customers safe. Policies may include continued social distancing, the need to wear a mask, ongoing curbside delivery, and the number of customers allowed in the store at one time. Post the safety policy on all social media and, if your budget allows, purchase a small ad in your local newspaper. As for the newspaper ad, all you need is a photo of your store, the headline "For your safety and ours" and a bullet point list of polices.

The world keeps spinning

To celebrate national Lyme disease awareness month, I unknowingly invited a tick to borough headfirst into my chest. Evidently, ticks are not into social distancing. Along with giving me antibiotics, a can of ginger ale, and a tick remover (for next time), the doctor asked me to purchase gauze and ichthammol ointment. This is a reminder, bugs will keep biting, the sun will keep burning, flowers and weeds will still make people sneeze, and accidents will still happen. That sounds like a good message for your digital sign. Place an OTC order today, before you forget.

Nudged to think about something other than Covid-19

While picking up my ichthammol ointment, to cash out, I was directed to keep my mask on and told to use a designated aisle. To my amazement, I noticed that the vitamins section had been repositioned to make room for an "Impulse Sale Center." The 12ft section had everything from boxed chocolates (it was a few days before Mother's Day) to water balloon slingshots, crayons, shark teeth, and a giant bubble wand. This is a great reminder that impulse buying doesn’t ever stop; at times, it just needs a nudge. Check it out...

Father Time

Apparently, nothing said "Happy Mother's Day" better than a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer. Other shared sales data pointed to an increase in inspirational gifts. Those who showed an increase in sales had increased the store hours and the amount of OTC sections made available to consumers. With that in mind, to optimize your sales for Father's Day, from Friday, June 12th to Sunday, June 21st consider extending the hours that you will be allowing customers to come into your store (as allowed by your state, of course).

Let it Shine

This little store of mine, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Make a 20-second video of your store entrance being sanitized. Place the video on your Facebook business site and store website. Let customers know you are doing everything to keep them safe.

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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