Enjoying bottom line success during the holidays is about more than adding the right stock to your pharmacy. It’s about building and promoting a well-planned front-end, plus an enjoyable buying experience that will stick with consumers throughout the year.
Is your community pharmacy prepared for the 2018 holiday season or are you just getting started? While we are well into the season, it’s not too late to do some front-end promoting to supplement your prescription and OTC medication revenue. These six tips can help you do just that.
In a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), a global retail trade association, consumers said they would spend an average of $1,007.24 this holiday season. This is a 4.1 percent, over last year’s project consumer spending.
In the same survey, 14 percent of consumers said they plan to do holiday shopping at drug stores. So why not make your independent pharmacy more attractive to the 14 percent who plan to shop drug stores and appeal to impulse buying by existing prescription customers and those who may be new to you?
Know the Non-Prescription Gift List Leaders for 2018
What are your customers planning to buy this year? The NRF says that gift cards remain at the top of consumers’ shopping lists for the 12th year in a row. Here’s how gift ideas ranked:
- Gift cards lead – 60 percent of consumers surveyed plan to purchase them
- Clothing and accessories – 50 percent (this includes seasonal items like gloves, hats, scarves, and other items that could easily assimilate into your seasonal inventory)
- Books, movies, and music – 37 percent
- Electronics – 29 percent
- Home decor – 23 percent (think: candles and other smaller home decorating items)
- Jewelry – 22 percent
- Personal care and beauty items (a natural fit for your inventory) –19 percent
- Sporting goods – 18 percent
- Home improvement items – 17 percent
- Other (non-specific) - 7 percent
While a couple of these items may not fit into an independent pharmacy’s seasonal inventory (you’re probably not going to offer lawnmowers or golf clubs), there are plenty that do.
Ensuring that you’ve beefed up your inventory with a variety of gift cards (which can sell year-round); seasonal clothing for the person who may have forgotten their mittens; books, movies and DVDs; small electronics and accessories (everyone needs a phone charger); and of course, personal care and beauty items can make your pharmacy the go-to place for planned and last minute gifts.
Create a Buying Experience – Decorate Your Storefront
Studies show that holiday decorations do indeed get customers through your front door and into your store. Consumers (and gift recipients) associate gift giving and receiving with positive experiences. And, decorations are a proven way to build a memorable and more enjoyable buying experience for customers. Using holiday lights and creative decorations can differentiate your pharmacy from surrounding storefronts.
But don’t leave that buying experience at the front door. Be sure to share pictures on your social media channels and invite your customers and potential customers to start their holiday buying experience at your store.
Your Pharmacy Essentials
Medication mishaps: You’re likely to get an influx of travelers visiting friends and family from out of town. They made need refills that they forgot about, or lost luggage — and medications — that need replacement. Promoting your pharmacy as a traveler’s hub for health, wellness, and helping to correct missing medication mishaps can make your pharmacy more visible to travelers (and their local families and friends).
Keep Front-End Shelves Stocked
OTC stock: If you’ve not yet ordered your stock for the holidays, look back to last year’s holiday season as a guide for what to get. Keep your front-end stocked with items that sell well, especially during cold and flu season. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got plenty of OTC analgesics, cold and flu products, vitamins and supplements, and popular natural remedies. Also, since it’s the season to overindulge a bit, you may get more demand to remedy upset stomachs and digestive systems.
Stocking Stuffers and More
In addition to your seasonal gift supply, don’t forget about the trimmings. People often forget wrapping paper, gift bags (which are popular with last minute shoppers), ornament hooks, candies (don’t forget sugar-free options), and other stocking stuffers.
It’s important for your pharmacy to carry useful holiday products, but not overstock shelves, so make sure to review last year’s sales trends to gain an understanding of what sold well. Your pharmacy also will want to place these items strategically (e.g., putting stocking stuffers near the check-out line counters) and use shelf talkers throughout the store to help customers locate them more easily.
Do What You Do Best
You can be a holiday hero by doing what you do best: keeping customers well. Provide tips in-store and through social media to avoid colds, flu, and other illnesses; how to reduce picking up excess germs on planes, trains and in cars; and even promote flu shots plus the need for New Year’s physicals as insurance plans change for the new year.
Enjoying bottom line success during the holidays is about more than adding the right stock to your pharmacy. It’s about building and promoting a well-planned front-end, plus an enjoyable buying experience that will stick with consumers throughout the year. Becoming a go-to destination for holiday wellness, gift giving, and, simply a place to feel a little holiday warmth, can be one of the most powerful promoters for your pharmacy.
How will your pharmacy create a holiday buying experience for customers? Have you tried any of these strategies? Have you found a strategy or tip that works better than another? We’d love to know and may even share those experiences in future blog posts, white papers, and e-books. If you’d like to add your experience, please contact Jessica Gardner.
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