These Are the Top Front-End Items to Get on Your Pharmacy Shelves

July 16, 2019By Articles, Assortment Planning and Placement, Resources focused on Independent Pharmacy

Written by and published in Elements magazine, June 17, 2019

In 2018, Hamacher Resource Group (HRG) evaluated a whopping 2,587 new products to determine which were most suitable for independent pharmacies. The result of the company’s rigorous review process is a surefire list of top-performing products independent pharmacies can’t afford to miss out on.

“These are items that we believe are going to do well in the near future across all the different categories,” said Tara Kaifesh, a category analyst at HRG.

Items that made the list survived a fierce evaluation: Of 2,587 items reviewed, a mere 208 health, beauty, and wellness items were awarded a Star Rating. This coveted designation means an item has a high potential for success when placed on the shelves of an independent pharmacy, according to HRG’s New Item Review team. Products expected to perform well can earn up to three Stars. A product that’s been awarded three Stars is, in the eyes of HRG’s review team, one you need to get on your shelves, pronto.

The review process takes into account factors like innovation, promotional support from the manufacturer, potential for growth, and more. A product needs to be well-rounded in all areas to earn at least one Star. “We’re usually pretty spot on with our assessments of new items,” said Colleen Volheim, HRG’s category research and analysis manager.

Last year, new products from names like Robitussin and Band-Aid topped their rankings, but more niche products, like specialty toothpastes and refrigerated probiotics, also made appearances.

This year, the analysts said the market is trending toward products that are completely or partially natural. “People want to know what they’re putting into their bodies,” Kaifesh said.

Face masks and bath salts have proven popular, along with lidocaine pain relief treatments. Charcoal products have begun to pop up everywhere, from oral care to skin care to hair care. Cough and cold products containing elderberry are also sought after.

One craze that was hot in 2018 and is only getting hotter? CBD. “We’re really going from zero to ‘everybody wants to get a piece of the CBD pie,’” Kaifesh said, noting that products containing CBD were going to be “huge” in the coming year.

Competitive advantage

Independent pharmacies can use HRG’s ratings and rankings to guide their inventory choices for improved turnover and increased front-end sales. Start with the top-ten and top-five lists provided in this article. If you need to remove items from your shelves to make room for top performers, Kaifesh advises first getting rid of any discontinued items that aren’t available to reorder as well as any particularly slow-moving products. If there are multiple sizes of one product on the shelf—for example, a 30 count, 90 count, and 120 count—consider trimming that selection down for a potential hot seller.

Make sure to promote new items and have signage that calls attention to them. People need to know you’re stocking particular items so, as Kaifesh pointed out, “they’re not thinking, ‘Oh, I can’t get that here, so I’ll go somewhere else.’”

Product performance is always changing, so make sure to keep your finger on the pulse of new trends to give your pharmacy an edge. Follow HRG on their company website and join HRG’s Independent Pharmacy Facebook group, where they post monthly merchandising tips including new product information.

Hamacher Resource Group focuses on improving results across the retail supply chain by addressing dynamic needs such as assortment planning and placement, retail execution strategy, fixture coordination, item database management, brand marketing, and analytics.


Top 10 Products Introduced in 2018 for Independent Pharmacy

Based on analysis by Hamacher Resource Group, Inc.

  • Aleve Back & Muscle Pain Tablets 50 Count                                                                                                     
  • Bausch + Lomb Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops 2.5ml
  • Robitussin Adult Honey Cough + Chest Congestion DM Liquid 4oz
  • Biofreeze Soothing Pain Relief Cream 3oz
  • Sensodyne Rapid Relief Toothpaste Extra Fresh 3.4oz                                                                    
  • Band-Aid Hydro Seal Blister Heels Hydrocolloid Gel Bandages 6 Count                                                                          
  • ASPERCREME Lidocaine Patches XL 3 Count
  • Systane Complete Optimal Dry Eye Relief Lubricant Eye Drops 10ml
  • TUMS with Gas Relief Antacid/Antigas Chewy Bites Lemon & Strawberry 28 Count
  • Vicks VapoCool Severe Medicated Drops Winterfrost 18 Count


Top Products in 2018 for Independent Pharmacy by Category

Based on analysis by Hamacher Resource Group, Inc.

Cold & Allergy
  • Robitussin Adult Honey Cough + Chest Congestion DM Liquid 4oz
  • Vicks VapoCool Severe Medicated Drops Winterfrost 18 Count
  • DayQuil/NyQuil Severe Cold & Flu LiquiCaps 16+8 Count
  • Halls Real Honey Cough Drops Honey Vanilla 30 Count
  • Mucinex Sinus-Max Pressure Pain and Cough Caplets 20 Count
Digestive Health
  • TUMS with Gas Relief Antacid/Antigas Chewy Bites Lemon & Strawberry 28 Count
  • Alka-Seltzer PM Heartburn Relief + Sleep Support Gummies Mixed Berry 46 Count
  • TUMS Extra Strength 750 Antacid Chewable Tablets Sugar-Free Melon Berry 80 Count
  • Dramamine-N Long Lasting Formula Tablets 10 Count
  • Pepto-Bismol Ultra Caplets 12 Count
Pain Relief
  • Aleve Back & Muscle Pain Tablets 50 Count                                                                          
  • Biofreeze Soothing Pain Relief Cream 3oz
  • ASPERCREME Lidocaine Patches XL 3 Count
  • ICY HOT Pain Relieving Cream Lidocaine plus Menthol 2.5oz
  • ThermaCare Ultra Pain Relieving Cream 2.5oz
  • Emergen-C Energy Plus Gummies Orange Zest 30 Count
  • Natrol Melatonin 10 mg Gummies Strawberry 90 Count
  • Bausch + Lomb PreserVision AREDS 2 Chewables Mixed Berry Flavor 60 Count
  • One A Day Women’s With Nature’s Medley Complete Multivitamin Gummies 60 Count
  • Schiff Move Free Ultra 2 in 1 Joint Health Coated Tablets 30 Count
Skin Care
  • Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution Activated Charcoal 3lb
  • Gold Bond Ultimate Cracked Skin Relief Fill & Protect Cream .75oz
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hand Gel Cream 3oz
  • Vanicream Gentle Body Wash 12oz
  • Burt’s Bees Hydrating Sheet Mask with Clary Sage1 Count