October 24, 2020

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

* Gabe's Tips: *

Expiration v. Discontinuation

I received this message on a recent zoom meeting: Hey Gabe, should I stop carrying OTC items that I find expired on our shelves?

Before you discontinue an item, make sure you know why it is not selling. First, remember, during this pandemic, many OTC items will be selling at a snail’s pace. Next, check to see if the correct price is on the product; hey, it happens to the best of us. Check to see if the retail price ends in a 0-1-2-4-6 or 8; if it does, then more than likely, the retail is wrong. Confirm if the private label that is next to the item in question is priced correctly; a lowball Private Label item can squash sales of a major brand. Check to see if the item has a once a year sales peak; for example, headlice treatment tends to peak as school begins to start. If you find no problems, then go ahead and discontinue the item.

Your sales could use a chair lift

There is a growing number of seniors that have put off entering an assisted living complex. Lift-chairs sales are bound to soar. In many stores, chairs are sold successfully as cash items. Offering delivery and set up is key to sales success. Do not make the mistake of stocking only the least expensive chairs! Many of these chairs are being paid for by family members who want the best for loved ones. Have a least one chair in stock for people under 5'4" tall, at least one zero gravity chair (unlimited position), and a chair that can lay flat known as a sleeper chair. Place a big red bow on all of them!

Shop-lifting sight lines

From my email inbox: "Gabe, will lowering the top shelves of my gondolas help stop the shoplifting that is going on in my digestive and cough & cold aisles?"

Unless your fixture's top shelf is positioned higher than 60" inches, then most likely not. I suggest you print a colored copy of the front of your top stolen items' and post the photos where the product would normally be displayed. On the photo, write, "(Item name) can be purchased at the Pharmacy checkout counter.”

Christmas can’t come soon enough

Plan your strategy of how soon you will take down Halloween products! I'm suggesting the sooner, the better. The faster you can get Christmas items in place, the better chance you will have in selling them. Take a hard look at how much space you want to delegate to promoting Thanksgiving items. More than likely, you have more dollars invested in Christmas than you do Thanksgiving and allocating your merchandising space accordingly makes good sense.

DME on display

When promoting DME, remember that you are offering either mobility, comfort, and or safety. Signs for DME should list at least 4 of the benefits that the item provides. It is best not to have the retail price on the sign; the price can be on a small string tag that does not scream for attention. If you cannot resist putting the retail on the sign, then please add the word "only"—only $649.00.

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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