October 10, 2020

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

* Gabe's Tips: *
Welcome Ownership Workshop Graduates!

I'll pass on the MSRP, thank you

In the last Profit Makers, I mentioned that October is a good time to update the Diabetes Management category. October is also the month to reset the Diagnostic & Assisted Daily Living (ADL) categories. All too often, items in both of these categories will have suggested retails set at the Manufacturers' Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). For example, I once received a price tag of $24.50 for a weighted, bendable fork; our cost was around $8.00. There is no reason for inflated retail. A good rule of thumb for pricing Daily Living and Diagnostic products is between 40 and 45% margin. It is a wise time to offer ADL items — more people have decided to stay in their home longer. If you haven't already, start with reachers, eating utensils, adjustable gripping tools, large handle lighted magnifiers, and doorknob handle extenders.

Deck the Halls like never before

I have always told the staff of pharmacies to go easy on decorating the stores for the holidays. I am going to tweak my suggestion to: Decorate the exterior store like you never have before! And do it soon! Help everyone enjoy the holidays, have your store look alive. (Keep the entry door safe and clear of decorations.) However, when it comes to the interior, chill a little. Keep the decorations in control, so they are not blocking or crowding the aisles and make sure garland isn't hanging down and hiding the pharmacy team. Make the front of the store look alive and the interior open and safe.

From my mailbox

"Gabe, how can I get customers to stop using only the center/main aisle to walk directly to the pharmacy and back out ignoring the rest of the store?"

That is a tough one. Start attracting customers by making the first 8 ft of each side wall interesting using signage, lighting, and colors. A nice section of leg health that includes colorful compression socks with leg mannequins is always an interesting department. If you have more than two aisles, try shortening the aisles left and right of the center aisle, creating a wide V design. You can do this by replacing an end cap with a banner or removing an entire fixture section. If you remove a four ft section, move the shortened aisle two feet back towards the entrance, creating a V at the entrance and a the pharmacy bench. (Make sure to read the next tip.)

Signs of increased sales

Increase extra sales and encourage customers to walk the entire store. Install sign holders on the top rail of your gondola fixtures. The sign holders can be magnetic or attached with screws. The holder will allow for two signs to be seen from each side of the fixture. Example message: Having a hard time sleeping at night? Check out our Melatonin in aisle 3. Looking to boost your immune system? Checkout our Elderberry syrup located in front of the pharmacy. Add a photo to your sign whenever possible.

You're Invited to the Masquerade

Of course I'm not talking about a party. But how are you showing off the masks you sell in your stores? Encourage team members to wear masks as examples of what your patients can purchase and make sure they have salient talking points about why they are safe and comfortable. While you're at it, wear a pair of diabetic compression socks to display too (see my next tip). Don't forget to promote your mask options on your store webpage and social media. Invite your patients to the socially distant masquerade in your pharmacy.

Sock 'em out

Here is a wise investment for your marketing fund. Purchase $300.00 worth of socks for those with diabetes. I suggest you buy the three packs and make sure you wear a brand that you carry! Prepare to honor American Diabetes Month by handing out out a free pair of socks to your customers who have diabetes. You will make someone happy and their feet safer. I'm pretty sure you will see a spike in future sock sales as well. Order them today so that you will have them for early November.

Join me at the NCPA 2020 Virtual Convention!

How do we redesign the floor plan to maximize personal space for my patients (without breaking the bank)? Let's get everyone on board for your next project; invite the entire staff to join you on this one. Order pizza, watch together, then chat about it after. What improvements will you make together? Register for NCPA's Annual Convention today!

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 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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