Resolution: Certify merchandisers as experts

December 6, 2017By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies

By Colleen Volheim, category research and analysis manager, for the Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies blog series

Certifying your merchandisers can be very beneficial for your business and your customer stores. When merchandisers go into stores, the pharmacist, front-end manager, or owner must have a certain amount of faith, because the merchandiser arranges departments and orders product for their store, which will affect the store’s bottom line. When the merchandiser is certified, it can bring the store staff peace of mind, knowing that the person has gone through a process that qualifies them as understanding and practicing sound principles and tactics of execution at retail.

HRG created a merchandising certification program that has proven success. A client approached us to create a program for their merchandisers, and it can be customized to meet the needs of any wholesaler. The majority of the training was conducted online, minimizing travel expenses and offering flexibility in scheduling. Some of the topics covered in the curriculum included:

  • Merchandising principles
  • Fixtures execution
  • Cutting items inwell merchandised shelves
  • Signage
  • New items

The bilingual program was well received by new and veteran merchandisers. Participants were asked to complete a self-evaluation at the beginning of the program to help HRG to understand the various levels of experience. We were then able to customize the topic areas based on the knowledge of the participating merchandisers.

The benefits to the stores that are visited by certified merchandisers include better interactions in the store and improved recommendations. Departments will be right-sized because sales are evaluated to ensure the right product mix is available to shoppers. Shelf space will be maximized so stores have the greatest sales per square foot potential in HBW departments. Additionally, their customers will have a better shopping experience when items are well and logically organized, and the items they seek are available.

Wholesalers will benefit from implementing a merchandising certification program because once their customer stores’ front-ends are right sized and merchandised logically, sales will improve. With the resulting attention the product mix, adjacencies, fixtures, etc., the increase in sales should be enough so the program pays for itself.