2017 Front-End Overhaul Tips Archive

April 2017


Easter Sales Worksheet

You know you are supposed to take good notes about your Easter sales this year, but what should you write down? Download my new Easter Sales Worksheet and start writing. The most successful merchandisers take the best notes—before, during, AND after the holiday.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

April End-Cap Ideas

  • Stress Awareness Month: stress relief items such as aromatherapy, candles, stress balls, bath salts, shower gels, teas, massage oils, vitamins, etc.

  • Allergy season: natural and homeopathy allergy relief options (antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants) as well as facial tissues, eye care products, and immune boosters.

  • Foot Health Awareness Month: diabetic foot health headquarters with diabetic socks, foot creams, compression stockings, and samples of therapeutic shoes.

  • Pet First Aid Awareness Month: nutritional supplements, products for wound and coat care, flea and tick prevention, etc.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

March 2017


Spring Cleaning Reminders

Are you sending silent messages about your store based on its appearance? A burnt-out bulb says times are tough; soiled ceiling tiles say no one cares; and dust on the shelf says you've given up. No matter what anyone's income status is, we all appreciate a well-lit store, clutter-free aisles, clean merchandise, and a genuine smile. Set a regular cleaning schedule today, if you haven't already—here are cleaning checklists for the exterior and interior of your store to help you get started.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

Start a Premium Vitamin Line With These Basics

Wondering where to start when it comes to offering a premium vitamin/supplement line—one that you will place an "Our Pharmacist Recommends" sign on? Here is a list of the basic items you should carry to get you started. These should fit easily on one 4-foot shelf.

  • Multivitamin

  • Biotin 10,000 mcg

  • Hair and nail supplements

  • B-12 Methylcobalamin liquid or lozenges

  • B-12 gummies

  • B-Complex soft gels (phosphate salt)

  • Vitamin C 500 mg with rose hips

  • Vitamin C 100 liquid drops

  • Vitamin C gummies

  • CoQ10 100 mg and 400 mg

  • Vitamin D3 liquid 10,000 IU

  • Vitamin D3 soft gels

  • Vitamin D3 gummies

  • Vitamin D 400 IU drops for babies

  • Bone support = Calcium w/magnesium

  • Magnesium Glycinate

  • Omega 3

  • Probiotics

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

What Do Holidays Have in Common?

Carrying over holiday product the day after the event can be devastating to your return on investment. Many times the loss of revenue goes unnoticed. It’s even worse if you panic and put holiday product on sale before the holiday event. Big box stores and chains are now making it a practice to discount before the event, and understandably that is tough to compete with. But remember, those types of stores buy product by containers; community pharmacies buy in cases. Buying by containers offers enough of a profit margin to allow for early discounting; buying by cases does not. There is a better way to create holiday sales without going down the discount road, and it starts with being creative. Read the latest One-Pager Tip from Gabe for ideas to maximize sales and minimize holiday revenue losses.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

Early March Reminders

  • Walk around your store and ensure there is NO Valentine's Day product still out.

  • Easter candy, baskets, grass, and gifts should be out on shelves by now. Stock reliable candy favorites like Cadbury Eggs, Peeps (pink and yellow), jellybeans, Reese's egg, etc.

  • Boost inventory of allergy relief products—recent warm weather in most parts of the U.S. is increasing pollen and other allergens in the air lately.

  • Stock up on your inventory of batteries to promote for Daylight Saving Time March 12 ("Time to change out the batteries in your smoke detectors!")

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

February 2017


Excellent Customer Service Is a Niche

I recently found myself scrambling around Burlington, Vt. desperately looking for a homeopathy remedy called Coldcalm. I am not aware of any community pharmacy in the area that sells the item, leaving me to Google a store that carries the product. The search came up with Walmart and CVS. After no luck in my detailed search at Walmart, I had to find an employee who could help me. I could not get the attention of the pharmacy staff, so I left assuming there was no homeopathy in the store. The next stop was CVS, and after no luck searching there, I was finally able to speak to a pharmacy staff member. Our conversation went like this:

Me: "Excuse me, do you know if the store carries Coldcalm? It's a homeopathic remedy."

Staff: "Is it for colds?"

Me: "Um, yes..."

Staff: "Then it would be in the cold aisle, and if it isn't there then we don't have it." He walked away before I could tell him that all of their aisles seemed cold.

Community pharmacies are always looking for a niche. Look no further than offering excellent customer service—just be sure yours is truly good. (Another niche? Carrying unusual and hard-to-find products like the ones you can get via frontendmarketplace.com.)

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

Valentine's Day Sales Worksheet

You know you are supposed to take good notes about your Valentine's Day sales this year, but what should you write down? Download my new Valentine's Day Sales Worksheet and start writing. The most successful merchandisers take the best notes.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

Time to Prepare for Valentine's Day 2018

Are you ready for the 2018 Valentine's Day? It's not too late to start preparing for next year. A Valentine's Day that lands on a Tuesday, such as this year's, has little in common with a Valentine's Day that lands on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday in terms of sales and customer traffic. However, a Valentine's Day that lands on a Tuesday mirrors one that lands on a Wednesday, meaning the 2017 Valentine's Day is a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the 2018 holiday. Start by taking daily detailed notes. The latest tip from Gabe outlines what you should be recording to better inform your buying and merchandising decisions for next year.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

Valentine's Day Reminders

Valentine's Day is only two weeks away—prepare your pharmacy now to maximize sales this season.

  • Walk through your entire store and identify non-Valentine's themed items and remerchandise them as Valentine's gifts. Use signage, repositioning, and basic decorations to emphasize these items. Suggestions: therapeutic shoes, fashion canes, premium skin care, photo frames, vitamins, and lift chairs. Anything can look like a Valentine's Day gift with red ribbon and a good sign.

  • Since Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday and not a traditional payday this year, you need to work harder for sales. Post signs throughout the store reminding customers that Valentine's Day is fast approaching.

  • You should have at least one Valentine's Day-themed end-cap up (find ideas in my photo gallery).

  • Assign someone on staff to straighten the greeting card department every day and at least twice a day the few days leading up to Feb. 14. When Valentine's Day cards sell down, rearrange the racks to fit boxed chocolates and candy.

  • Do not discount Valentine's Day candy until Feb. 15—you are only teaching customers to wait for a sale to buy.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

January 2017


5 Easy Tasks You Can Complete Right Now

  • Police the community bulletin board for outdated announcements or fliers. Set a reminder to check it weekly.

  • Hang signs around the store reminding customers about Valentine's Day on Feb. 14.

  • Create a display of hand sanitizers (or travel-size sanitizers) at your registers and pick-up counter.

  • Post a flu shot reminder on your website and social media accounts.

  • Clean all glass, pottery, and shelves in your gift department. Ensure there are no products on the floor.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

Your New Year To-Do List

Take some time this week to kick off January and the New Year on the right foot by completing some of these timely tasks:

  • Ask employees to set goals for the year; for example, increasing front-end sales by 10%, creating more customer awareness about your vitamin/supplement offerings, compression stockings, and/or sugar-free selection, or promoting the benefits of vitamin D, CoQ10, sunscreen, healthy bones, etc.

  • Be proactive and offer solutions for overstock, misaligned inventory, and understocks of health care categories, braces, vitamins, greeting cards, and gifts.

  • Make this the year employees ask every customer, "How did you hear about us?" and "Did you find what you are looking for?" Develop a habit of thanking every customer for allowing you to be their health care provider.

  • Add more natural and alternative remedies to the pain, cough & cold, and digestive categories this month.

  • Be aware of an onslaught of new price changes in the New Year. Schedule to have changes completed as soon as possible.

  • Replace verbal, unhelpful reports of "we sell a lot of that" with concrete data from your POS reports on OTC, DME, gift, and card sales.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

Are You in the Gift-Selling Business?

If you are going to sell it, then wrap it, and wrap it well. Make signs: "Free Gift Wrapping!" Don't have the staff? Here are two suggestions: One way is to contact a high school student advisor and tell him or her you need up to four students who could use some extra cash. They need to be pleasant and willing to wrap presents, especially on Christmas Eve. No surprises here! They will be expected to be in the store on December 24. Pay them what you want, but do not put them on payroll! Do not train them to run the register; they are there to wrap. Schedule two shifts, late morning and afternoon, and no more than two to three wrappers on a shift—more than three becomes a party.

The other way is something my old employer City Drug was known to do, and do well. We supplied the wrapping supplies, table, and space for different nonprofit groups, typically chosen from local schools, to come in on the five business days leading into Christmas to wrap gifts and accept donations (no more than three students total). For example, the drama club would come in the first day, the band would send wrappers for the second day, then the cheerleading team, etc. We always seeded their donation jar with a few $1 and $5 bills.

Tip: Make your store's policies well known to the gift wrapping elves; review policies like acceptable language, noise level, cellphone etiquette, and where to leave their purses and/or backpacks. Most importantly, they must stay out of the pharmacy area!

I'm guessing several hundred store owners will read this tip, but only 20 will do it. Twenty owners will sell more gifts than they ever have and will become more involved with their communities. Their stores will become the talk of the town. If you are one of the 20, congratulations! Drop me a note at gabe.trahan@ncpanet.org and let me know how it is going. Happy wrapping.

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

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