Your product assortment can be your differentiator

July 16, 2013By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Megan Moyer

We often talk to independent pharmacies about finding their niche in the community. The trouble is many indie pharmacists aren’t sure where to begin to figure this out. One place to start is to review your product assortment.

A good approach is to look at your competitors, customers, and community. You can fairly easily assess your local competitors – likely it’s some combination of big box, grocery, dollar, and chain drug stores. While you may not be able to accommodate the variety or broad assortment within categories some of them carry, you can offer items they don’t or won’t. This is where you will be able to differentiate and stand apart.

On to customers. The easiest way to increase your sales is to get your current customers to spend more money in your store. Think about what your customers gravitate toward in the front-of-store. Are there opportunities to add products to your assortment that are complementary? Do the brands your customers favor have line extensions that you haven’t added yet? Consider the prescriptions you are dispensing. Are there side effects that can be counteracted or remedied by OTC medications that you can add? Work with your distributor’s front-end program managers to make sure you have the items that meet your customers’ needs as well as increase your sales.Think about what your customers gravitate toward in the front-of-store

Now think about the businesses in your community that you could build business from. For example, if there’s a dermatologist office in your area, increasing the number of medicated skin care and first aid items (psoriasis and eczema treatments, etc.) may draw those patients to your store. (Especially if you establish a relationship with the dermatologist – but that’s a topic for another time.) The more specialized HBW products these folks need wouldn’t typically be carried by a big box or grocery store. Are you near fitness facilities? Consider increasing the size of your elastics, braces, and supports department and adding more pain relief products to your assortment.

Look to emerging categories as well, especially those that your competitors might not make room for such as active living and sexual wellness. Active living, which includes products that can aid in both fitness and rehabilitation, can meet the needs of active individuals that workout at home or those that need tools to recover from an injury. Sexual wellness is a growing category that can excel in an independent pharmacy due to the trusted relationship indie pharmacy customers share with their pharmacists.

When you consider all of these angles you can customize your product assortment to grow your front-end sales. So decide what adjustments you’re going to make and then DO IT! What are you waiting for?

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