4 hot ways to make summer sales sizzle

pharmacy business management

Make seasonal products a front-end force

In brief:

  • Approach summer sales with the same marketing attention you apply to flu and allergy seasons.
  • Create eye-catching displays that reinforce your role as a partner in customers’ health.
  • Keep shelves fully stocked with a range of products to match customers’ needs.

Summer days shouldn’t be slow in the front end of your pharmacy. The season offers a wealth of opportunities for pharmacy owners to increase revenues with marketing targeted specifically for the season.

“The summer is very much like the winter and the cough and cold season,” said Gabe Trahan, senior director of store operations and marketing for the National Community Pharmacists Association. Customers will be looking for certain products, and your store should be ready to guide them.

Here are four key ways to heat up your summer sales:

  1. Become a wellness center. Don’t have just a shelf of summer products somewhere in the store; put displays right in the face of the customer, Trahan advises. Make a statement. The most important endcap in your store is the one customers see after they take nine steps in the door, Trahan said. The average person will take that many steps before looking around. Other prime areas are near the pharmacy counter and checkout.Create a “Sun Protection Center” and a “Bumps, Bites & Bruises Headquarters.” Highlight other summer protection too, such as fashionable sunglasses that offer UVA/UVB protection.
  2. Educate yourself. Understand what will be on your customers’ minds and the types of products they may want. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website is a great way to keep up on the latest topics, Trahan said. For example, this year people may be concerned about the Zika virus and shop for ways to avoid mosquito bites. If ticks are a concern in your area, have a section devoted to that.Be ready to recommend a range of products for all types of customers. For example, carry sunscreen you can recommend for young children, fair skin and dark skin, as well as products that are water-resistant or gluten-free.Customers are willing to pay for the right product. One pharmacy does well selling Zanfel poison ivy wash, which the pharmacist is comfortable recommending, at about $30 a package, Trahan noted.Pharmacists should also know their customers well enough to advise them, for example, that they shouldn’t quit taking a Vitamin D supplement just because they are spending more time in the sun.
  3. Highlight products. Create compelling messages with signs. For example, put “Protect Your Eyes” above the sunglasses and encourage customers to grab multiples of products, such as sunscreen, with a sign saying, “Keep one at home and one in your car.”Also, make it easy for customers to spot products not on your main summer displays. For example, Trahan explained, anti-aging is a key concern these days, and many moisturizing creams contain SPF. Place a colored dot on the shelf below the creams with sun protection factor, he recommended. “Help people find it without searching.”
  4. Don’t run out. Order products early, and keep plenty in stock. “You’ve got to have it to sell it,” Trahan said. Some families may buy only one bottle of sunscreen all summer, so be sure to capture that first sale, which is also likely to be the biggest.“Load up on it,” Trahan said. Well-stocked shelves look like you have a sunscreen center, while having only one or two items makes your pharmacy look like a convenience store. He recommends displaying five to six products facing three deep.Order enough to keep your store stocked through August, and you can reorder for September if strong sales continue. Even if you have six bottles of a product left from a case of 24, the revenue from the other 18 bottles will probably make it worthwhile.

Position your pharmacy as the place that will help customers stay well this summer. “Once you become a partner in their health,” Trahan said, “it changes their whole view of your store.”

Find more tips from Trahan in NCPA’s Front-End Overhaul program.