4. Recommend products to improve customers’ health

May 19, 2015By 99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy, Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Aaron T. for our 99 Ways to Make a Positive Difference in Your Pharmacy blog series

Now more than ever, there are an enormous amount of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments to choose from. With all of the choices available, the decision-making process can be overwhelming for consumers. Most of the time, shoppers make decisions on their own because they may not want to bother you or are unsure of approaching you, especially if you are visibly busy. But they don’t have to navigate all of those choices themselves, because they have an expert – you – who can help.

Some pharmacists don’t make recommendations unless asked because they don’t want to “sell” to patients. It’s understandable that you would want to avoid that perception, but you should view the act of recommending products to improve a customer’s health as a critical component in providing a well-rounded healthcare solution. Offering your customers recommendations on OTC treatments is a way of educating and empowering them. It fosters a proactive approach to helping them manage their overall wellness.Recommend products

In research HRG recently conducted on behalf of HDMA, pharmacists were asked why they didn’t recommend OTCs. The second-highest response was “not enough time.” There are ways to make giving recommendations quicker and more efficiently. Write down the OTC categories and list your top recommended items in each product group. Have a professional create these lists as signs for you that you can post in the appropriate departments. You can also have a handout created and place it at the pharmacy counter or stuff it in your bags. On the handout, provide the aisles where the products can be found in the store as a reference guide. Make sure your staff is aware of these tools since they can’t make recommendations themselves. Having your list to hand out or point to empowers them and makes it easier for them to help customers on their own.

When you create your list, consider that consumers’ decision-making factors often include: price, value, brand recognition and loyalty, advertisements, research, and recommendations from friends and family. Keeping that in mind, be sure to include both national brands as well as private label options when appropriate.

Additionally, you could use the shelves or endcap nearest the pharmacy, or counter space if available to display your most recommended items. That way they are within reach or only a few steps away at most. Don’t want to devote a lot of room? Keep it seasonal and feature the more popular categories related to the time of year. The aforementioned research also found that front-end sales show stronger performance among those pharmacies dual placing most recommended categories or those placing them near the pharmacy counter. While you’re helping your customers fully treat their condition, you will also be improving your sales.

Help your customers make important health decisions by having information readily available to them whether it’s through direct interaction with you or through handouts or signs that let them know the products you have found effective. Making this extra effort builds trust and loyalty among your patients and encourages positive word of mouth because you’re making the overall shopping experience easier.


Aaron helps maintain and develop HRG’s master item file, including fine line categorization and retail pricing strategies. He is in charge of our quality assurance program and is responsible for data integrity. Aaron also manages client specific pricing files and the sign file process. In addition, he interacts with internal and external clients to secure product information related to manufacturers’ package samples, UPCs, pricing, and marketing materials.

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