Party Planning for Retail

July 9, 2014By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

 by Dave Wendland

During a recent series of Continuing Education (CE) programs focused on the retail aspects of a drugstore operation, I challenged participants to think of the “guests” they are inviting to their store no differently than planning a party at their home. Here’s the process.

The guest list. One of the first steps when planning a party is deciding who should be invited. It’s no different when one thinks of a retail operation. Retailers need to have a very clear idea of who they want to invite to their store and what the purpose should be for their coming to visit.

The invitations. Although parodied in the movie Wedding Crashers, I have never attended a party to which I wasn’t invited. So, as retailers, are invitations being sent to “guests” you want at your store? Perhaps it’s certain consumers from the surrounding market area, or a physician’s practice or employee groups, or senior centers. Whoever is on the guest list, invitations must be sent.

The greeting. How often have you attended a party and simply wandered into the front door and searched for the party hosts? I would think that in the vast majority of situations, the host/hostess met you at the front entrance and welcomed you with open arms. Who’s meeting your guests at the entrance of your store?

The kitchen. Okay, this may sound like a bit of a stretch, but for nearly every party I have attended the primary meeting point is the kitchen. That’s where the food and drink the meeting point is the kitchenmay be located. It’s where the music is at the right volume to engage in meaningful conversation. Isn’t the gathering spot for most drug stores the pharmacy?  Moving them out of the “kitchen” to other areas of the “house” requires strategically locating other things of interest. Thematic endcaps, trial/sampling centers, and other core departments (beauty) are some good examples.

Thank you. At the conclusion of any good party, the hosts will likely thank their guests for attending. It would be a terrific idea for retailers to do the same. It’s not as simple as placing loyalty rewards on a card … it needs to be personal and genuine.

Perhaps it’s time to open your doors and have a party!

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