Appearance Matters

August 5, 2013By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Megan Moyer

I enjoy shopping at drug stores, especially independents. I have fond memories of going to the drug store as a kid to get a candy bar and a comic book for the 5-hour drive to our grandparents’ house. My first job, in my teens, was at an independent pharmacy where I guess I got my introduction to merchandising – arranging the gift displays.dusting

I associate a certain charm with independent pharmacies and certainly a sense of nostalgia. Some independents honor their heritage, while others have modernized to compete with other retailers. Others seem to just focus on the business of filling prescriptions.

I was at a local independent recently that clearly did not pay attention to their front-end. Most things had a layer of dust, there were sun-faded packages, and on the wall of hair accessories I saw a hair Scrunchie (circa 1990s) that was half black and half white. Black on the underside, white with dust everywhere else.

I remember having to dust when I worked at the pharmacy as a teen. It was my second-least favorite part of the job after collecting and taking out the garbage. But it is essential. Who wants to buy a health or beauty product that is covered in dust? What perception does that leave? And products that are so old that the packaging is sun-faded? That doesn’t give me the impression that this business is interested in my overall health and wellness.

I understand that filling prescriptions is where the majority of profits come from and requires a dedicated focus and great deal of time. But in the interest of providing patients complete care, there are usually OTCs and personal care items that can help in treatment and recovery. Keeping these items current and ensuring they look fresh indicates an interest in shoppers’ well-being. Referring patients to these front-end items that will benefit them builds trust and loyalty. Selling these products eliminates the need to dust them. What’s your challenge in keeping your front-end shopper-friendly?

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