Retail Pharmacy Merchandising: What you need to know
Date of publishing: 3rd Oct 2018
Retail Pharmacy Merchandising: What you need to know
Author: Pfizer Healthcare Ireland
In the broadest sense, merchandising is any practice which contributes to the sale of products to a retail consumer. At a retail in-store level, merchandising refers to the variety of products available for sale and the display of those products in such a way that it stimulates interest and entices customers to make a purchase1.
What is Merchandising?
Pharmacy merchandising means creating an environment which makes customers want to buy your particular pharmacy's products. In essence, this means that your merchandise needs to be easily visible and accessible, but in an environment that also creates a positive shopping experience for the customer. The first aim of pharmacy merchandising is to attract the right customers to your pharmacy through creating the right pharmacy image. The second aim, once you have attracted your customers, is to encourage them to buy2.
The Importance of Pharmacy Merchandising
Having a strong pharmacy merchandising strategy is an important and vital aspect of boosting sales. Sales don’t just rely on you having what people need, instead there are a few different factors—starting with customers being able to find what they are looking for, and the right products in the right place to tempt the customer into an impulse buy3.
Merchandising and display are an important part of the marketing plan, and should have a reasonable budget allocated - even for a pharmacist operating on a shoestring. In today's competitive retail environment a retailer cannot afford to consider merchandising as a 'frill'.4
With all these choices, what will grab the consumer's attention? You've invested the money to get that expensive, high traffic location, but how will you keep the customers from walking right by your door? How will you encourage them to return? What is unique about your store? 4
Merchandising is more than simply the arrangement of products on the shelf. It is an integral component of the business image. It should be considered when you design your logo, business cards, brochures, letterhead, packaging, and product mix. When you examine your merchandising, you examine what the customers' experience, from their first sight of your store front, until they leave store - hopefully with a purchase in hand. Merchandising is also about understanding the way customers shop. By using this knowledge, you can position your merchandise to increase sales. You need to create an environment that attracts the customer, is comfortable to shop, and encourages the customer to return.4
Even if your front end doesn’t drive a lot of profit, it does drive a large part of your pharmacy’s image. Many community pharmacy owners today think that because they can’t compete on price with big box stores and national chains, they shouldn’t invest in their front ends. Your patients likely disagree. Patients expect a front end at their pharmacy. When you don’t have cough drops on hand during cold season or allergy OTCs available during spring, your patients may see your business as less valuable—and go elsewhere to fill their prescriptions.5
Your community pharmacy doesn’t have to break the bank to offer a valuable front end. Simply rethink how you approach your front end. One way to do that is to use the changing seasons to guide your merchandising strategy. When you have the front end items available that your patients need—when they need them—you can increase front end sales and improve patient satisfaction with your store.5
How to Boost Pharmacy Sales through Merchandising3
- Seasonality. Make sure your products are right for the season—whether it’s cold season or allergy season—because you'll want to maximize on customer needs. You should have the product before the season hits and to have it there when consumers need it, according to Neil Stern, a senior partner with McMillan Doolittle, a retail consulting firm in Chicago. “The more places you can put these products, the better.”
- Large Displays. Use big displays for seasonal items, and don’t be afraid to move things around, says George Whalin, president and CEO of Retail Management Consultants, San Marcos, Calif. “With seasonal items, make it more interesting and dynamic with each season or holiday and customers will want to come into the store more often.”
- Front of Store. Really use the front end of your store and change it out by seasonality. “It’s such a critical area of the store that’s often overlooked,” says Stern. “It’s a good place to put things with good margins, as well as new products and some quirky ones—put some surprises in there. But change the products out regularly (at least monthly) so this section doesn’t get stale or boring.
- Zones of Interest. Create a zone for some items and don’t be afraid to display them more than once because customers can miss items if they’re only in one place.
- Change it Up. Have new products regularly and introduce those products to customers by exposing them to it. Advertise that you’ve been getting the product in every category. Have a dedicated space that changes all the time but always place new items in there so customers know where to look for new arrivals.
- Know Your Customer. Decide what your customers’ destination purchases are vs. impulse purchases, then invest in displays of the former, advises Stern. They’re probably things that matter to people, such as vitamins. And once you have a display, make sure it’s easy to find and easily called out.
A Continuous Process
Don't ever think you're done. Walk into and through your Pharmacy on a daily basis - reviewing the way your Pharmacy presents to prospective customers. Face merchandise toward the main traffic aisle, reorganise those "lifestyle settings," and make sure all signs are in good condition. Maintaining a Pharmacy presentation of helpful and needed products that are clean, orderly, easy to find, and easy to buy will provide a great service to your customers. Good in-store signage is the important final element of store presentation and promotions.
Category signage that helps to guide your customer through your Pharmacy is essential. Creating a professional looking graphics package that displays price and features and benefits messages clearly communicates the value of your offer6.
And one more piece of advice…Rotate the re-merchandising responsibilities! You just might find that the most creative and effective merchandiser in your store is the person who’s never been given the chance before7.
Date of Preparation: September 2018 References:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchandising. Date Accessed: 04/09/2018
- https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/retail-pharmacy-merchandising-techniques-display-itsell-albadawy/. Date Accessed: 04/09/2018
- https://www.thebalancesmb.com/pharmacy-merchandising-how-to-boost-sales-2663853 Date Accessed: 04/09/2018
- https://www.pharmamanage.gr/en/merchandising/381-the-importance-of-pharmacy-merchandising Date Accessed: 04/09/2018
- https://www.pbahealth.com/6-seasonal-merchandising-strategies-for-pharmacies/. Date Accessed: 04/09/2018
- https://www.pharmamanage.gr/en/merchandising/380-five-tips-for-better-visual-merchandising. Date Accessed: 04/09/2018
- https://www.guild.org.au/news-events/blog/2018/10-simple-tips-for-effective-merchandising. Date Accessed: 04/09/2018