Resolution: Regularly check for out-of-dates

May 23, 2017By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies

By Kelly Zygowski, junior category analyst,  for the Resolutions for Independent Pharmacies blog series

Your number one goal for your front-end should be to always provide a pleasing shopping experience for your customers. Of the many elements that contribute to that goal, an important one is ensuring your stock isn’t expired.

Looking at the 27 categories we review for independent pharmacies that have product types that need to be monitored for out-of-dates, there were more than I expected, and probably more than you’d think too!

Although there is software available that can help you manage tracking product expiration dates, it’s labor-intensive and might not be the best fit, especially for stores with a smaller footprint. By implementing a simple step or two into the processes that your staff already perform regularly, you can make compliance easier.

Make tracking expiration dates a part of your process as you receive stock and shelve it. Check new products as they come in to be sure you aren’t receiving expired items, and make note of when they will become out of date. As you place products on your front-end shelves, take note of the expiration dates of the stock already there. Always put the new stock behind the existing. For departments that have higher turn rates, following this procedure will ensure ongoing monitoring for out-of-dates.

For categories that don’t have a high sales volume, check products once a month. By following the process outlined above, your staff will efficiently be able to manage departments for out-of-dates.

When you do find items nearing expiration, pull them for a markdown and move them to your clearance endcap or dump bin. If you choose not to discount them, make a note of when they are expiring so you can remove them from the shelf before they are out of date.

Keeping up with product expirations is important for a few reasons. Did you know most consumers have higher expectations of your store than they do of chain, mass, and other larger retailers? Because of the exceptional level of service they receive from you and your staff, your customers expect you to keep up with your front-end and offer fresh products on your shelves.check for out of dates

Additionally, you don’t want to expose your store to any legal action if someone does purchase an expired product, uses it, and has adverse effects. Some stores have been fined for selling expired product. While there are medications that are safe beyond the expiration date, some become toxic. You’re in the business of helping people achieve health and wellness – you certainly don’t want to do anything to jeopardize your image.

If a customer does find outdated product on your shelves, there’s not only the potential for legal and financial ramifications, there’s also the loss of customer trust and perhaps the loss of a customer altogether. If a shopper brings an expired product to your attention, apologize and offer a coupon or some other type of reward. If a shopper purchases the item and realizes once they are at home that the item is out of date, give them a no-hassle refund, apologize, and again, offer some additional type of reward as a way of further apologizing and as a token of goodwill.

What you offer to build goodwill is especially important. To determine what that might be, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what would put your mind at ease and help you rebuild trust in the store.

Earning your customers’ business and trust takes time, so take the time to keep it.