Is your store layout helping or hurting your HBW sales?

July 1, 2013By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Megan Moyer

Your front-end may be a small percentage of your overall sales, but higher margins in the front-of-store are worth paying attention to. Much has been said and written about how to increase sales in the front-of-store. When we went out and conducted research at independent pharmacies across the country last year, we took note of what worked and what didn't in the stores we visited. In many cases, the store layout and design made a big difference. higher margins in the front-of-store

The drive-thru dilemma
When customers tell you that they think the drive-thru hurts the pharmacy’s business, that’s noteworthy. While a drive-thru provides great convenience to pharmacy patients and can be an important service that keeps you competitive in your community, it also excludes prescription customers from shopping for anything else in the store. It’s a dilemma we saw at several stores. Prescriptions are 85-90% of a drug store’s business, but front-end profits can’t be overlooked or forsaken.

One option for overcoming the lost business is to offer other reasons for customers to come in. We saw instances of services that had nothing to do with health and wellness driving business, including money orders, mailing services, and even golf club repair.

An alternative that emphasizes your healthcare provider status is to offer classes that can help your patients with their health issues. Diabetes management, heart health, menopause solutions, weight loss tips – pick topics that will resonate with your patients. You can create a series of workshops around an issue to keep customers coming in on a regular basis. Then offer discounts on front-end solutions that can help them in their wellness efforts – supplements, treatments, and personal care items – and watch sales jump.

The main aisle
Another store layout misfire that we saw often was the main aisle to the pharmacy counter filled with greeting cards or other general merchandise. What a missed opportunity! Have you noticed when you go into a Walgreens, Rite Aid, or CVS that there is no direct path to the pharmacy counter? You’re forced to go through HBW aisles to get to the pharmacy department. And doesn’t it make sense to stock the main aisle with OTC and personal care items that are more profitable, logical add-on sales to the prescriptions patients may be picking up?

Take the time to consider your store layout, traffic flow, and shopper habits. Small changes can have big results.

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