November 21, 2020

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

10 Days Left!

Get your entry in for consideration for one of the 2021 NICE Awards by December 1. More information on award categories and easy entry process can be found here.

* Gabe's Tips: *

Legs should be at eye level

Acacia Flory, retail manager of Tomahawk Pharmacy of WI, has already hung her stocking up for Christmas. Acacia cleverly transformed a 4ft display of compressions socks into a dazzling 8ft section that features3 leg mannequins, all perfectly positioned at eye level. Each mannequin sports a different sock style and color scheme. Looking for the companion sale, Acacia added specialty slippers! Creating a better presentation of items that sell for over $20.00, which can be sold as a gift or for personal use, makes wonderful holiday sense. For inspiration, take a quick look here.

Are you scheduled through the new year?

Yikes! Christmas is on a Friday this year! It's not too early to set your staff schedule. I suggest adding at least one additional team member for Wednesday the 23rd and Thursday the 24th. You will need that person to straighten the shelves; shoppers do not like to shop off shelves that look picked over. The staff member should also be available to fill in if there is an "employee no show." Prepare your schedule starting from today to January 4th. Monday, January 4th, may be your busiest day of 2021.

Melina Mercouri may not like it

Nobody is thrilled to work Sundays. I get that. However, if you are heavy in the gift and or seasonal inventory being open at least Sunday, December, the 13th and the 20th will make good fiscal sense. If you need an incentive to recruit staff, consider catering in lunch and offering a commission of 5% of gift sales to be divided up with all of those who worked a Sunday. It would be best to start marketing today any change to hours or additional days of being open. Don't keep your new hours a secret!

You mean more than you know

As a former drug store general manager, I will always remember what the store manager with the busiest front-end sales did that had nothing directly to do with sales. Each year she had the entire staff group together for a holiday photo. With the picture, she had holiday cards printed out for the delivery drivers to leave at their stops. The back of the card had everyone's signature, some added holiday wishes. Drivers told me that sometimes the card was the only card seen in the home; others mentioned that some customers never took the photos down. Much like one would do with a family photo.

Ordinary can be festive

If you are in the everyday card and wrap business but have little or no holiday gift wrapping accessories, then it's time to go on a hunt. Search your everyday inventory for all red, green, silver, and white bows. You may find them near the wedding and anniversary sections. Feature these bows as holiday bows. You will want to make sure to have wrapping tape nearby as well. Remember, the day after Christmas, the bows and tape do not need to go on sale. (The color scheme also works for jar, votive, and pillar candles.)

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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