Meeting high standards for the health and safety of patients is the most important focus for Pharmacies. However, to continue delivering the care patients expect, pharmacies must also be successful retail stores. Merchandising cannot be overlooked. How can pharmacies drive brand loyalty and sales if the retail space is poorly merchandised, disorganized or unappealing?
Below, some tips to improve pharmacy merchandising.
Make the Right Impression: Exterior
An impression is formed even before the customer enters the store. UK Pharmacy Warman-Freed decided to refocus their exterior and window display to support the initiatives within. They shared these standards to help create visually engaging windows that draw in foot traffic.
- Choose a single theme or message and use large striking visuals understood from a distance.
- Create a merchandising calendar to help inform themes which fall around national health awareness events and seasonal symptom needs.
- Have a clear call to action that invites customers to come in and access the product or service on offer.
- Avoid clutter and keep your window displays simple and neat.
- Seek feedback from those in different departments to calibrate your window displays.
Make the Right Impression: Interior
Over the past few years, some pharmacy retailers have made a dramatic shift from sterile or traditional store formats to a more “boutique” format. Brands like Cedar Pharmacy in New York have curated a unique space highlighting their core values of wellness and personalization.
Gabe Trahan, the Senior Director of Store Operations & Marketing for The National Community Pharmacists Association shared some of the biggest merchandising mistakes he felt pharmacies were making in an interview with NCPA online.
Look alive and prosperous! You wouldn’t do business with a bank that looks like they’re struggling and a customer will not choose a pharmacy that looks like it’s trapped in time and barely hanging on. – Gabe Trahan
- Don’t neglect the front of the store. Designate a person to be responsible for the presentation of this area if you can.
- Place best selling products and major label brands at eye level to help customers navigate the category.
- The presentation should be neat and organized, with meaningful category flow throughout the store.
- Avoid a dated looking interior. Reinventing a space can be as easy as updating a few fixtures and the primary paint color.
Focus on Seasonality
Using the seasons to guide your product focus is a great way to utilize merchandising for maximum impact. Take cold and allergy season for example.
- Watch where customers first walk when entering your Pharmacy. Is there a discernable pattern to areas they go first? Maximize the shelves or tables around these zones with a focused assortment of season-specific items.
- Front and endcap displays should highlight the most relevant or popular products customers will be searching for.
- Merchandise with large format, and popular brands on the left at eye level. The customer will scan shelves as they do when reading – from left to right.
Mixing different categories is a great opportunity to interest a customer in picking up another SKU in addition to what they came for. Cross merchandising also saves customers time navigating multiple aisles. A positive experience means a return customer!
- Create a designated space that is updated frequently with new product so customers can expect to find new items there.
- Double represents a product in another area with complementary items to promote sell through.
- Pair items that are often bought together in small intentional groups on tables or pop-up displays. Tissues and hand sanitizer paired with cold and flu medicine, for example.
Know your Customer Demographic
What is the age group and lifestyle of your most frequent customers? Are you often serving an older demographic that require prescriptions, families in need of household products, or millennials looking for essentials?
There is no point offering a variety of different baby care SKU’s if your main customers aren’t young families.
- Make note of fast and slow-selling product for your store, and see how you can edit SKU assortment to impact category performance.
- Measure the amount of time a product sits on your shelf. If your customers aren’t showing interest, declutter your assortment by removing it.
- Don’t be afraid to substitute product in and out within categories to see what resonates most with customers in your area.
Less is More
An overstocked pharmacy can appear messy and hard to navigate. It should be easy for a customer to come in, identify where they need to go and pick up the item they seek.
Numark Pharmacy’s Retail Service manager Steve Voyse recommends;
The main thing is to have the right products in the right places. A common mistake is trying to cram too much stock into one area. This can lead to products slipping behind other products or facing the customer side-on which can make it hard for the customer to find what they are looking for. Brand leaders can warrant two or three of the same product displayed in a row.
- Categories and subcategories should make sense and flow into one another in an intuitive way.
- Utilize the check out area and counter space for impulse products like magazines, beverages, and candy; but try to keep displays edited down and simple.
- Reducing clutter lessens decision fatigue and can help a customer decide to make a purchase. Curate down items in highlighted areas like tables and pop up displays to not overwhelm customers with choice.
Do you have additional best practices you follow when merchandising your Pharmacy space? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!