While excellent customer service and operational efficiencies are essential, they aren’t the only factors that influence a pharmacy’s business performance. One area that is often overlooked is the physical appearance of the retail space -the layout and the way products are displayed.

From cluttered window displays to product categories that are difficult to navigate, the presentation of your pharmacy can have a significant effect on customer perceptions and ultimately sales. With this in mind, here are our tips for ways to optimise your retail environment.

First impressions count

It is essential that pharmacy managers recognise the importance of a visually appealing window display and shop frontage; it really can be the difference between passing trade deciding to enter the store or take their custom elsewhere. Displays should always be clear, bright, innovative and customer-friendly. Think of the window as your key promotional platform: are there any seasonal lines you want to push? Which national pharmacy campaigns are grabbing the headlines?

It’s also important to keep things ‘fresh’. Make sure posters and any advertorial literature are in date and try to change displays on a regular basis to retain public interest. Done correctly, a window display can boost the image of your pharmacy, create customer loyalty and can be an important tool for increasing sales.

Clear out the clutter

A poorly organised, cluttered pharmacy can have a negative impact upon sales. Customers may still visit your premises to collect prescription items but if presented with a chaotic environment, they’re unlikely to stay in the pharmacy, purchase further OTC offerings or make you their first choice for general shopping.

Messy shelves are often the result of ‘over ordering’ or buying in too many slow-moving lines. (Conversely, an absence of essential pharmacy lines will not endear you to customers either!) Therefore it’s important to review your ordering process to make sure you stock the right products for your demographic.

A good way of ensuring effective stock control is to use a good EPoS system that has the appropriate functionality. Our Analyst EPoS solution, for example, allows for the analysis of sales data to ensure that pharmacies only stock the area’s most profitable lines and the best sellers within each product category. It can also help to identify any ‘key pharmacy lines’ that may be missing. By only stocking items that actually sell pharmacies gain the additional benefit of not having money tied up in unwanted stock.

Review your merchandising technique

It’s important that product ranges are presented in a professional and accessible way to customers. Shelf positioning is particularly important so remember to make sure that best sellers are displayed at eye level. Also avoid putting too much stock in one area –if items cannot be clearly seen then they are unlikely to sell! In addition, using Impactful Point of Sale (POS) materials, such as posters, shelf edge strips and flyers can help to ‘direct’ customers and encourage impulse purchasing.

Another effective way of maximising OTC sales is to engage in ‘link-selling’ (.i.e. group together products in specific categories) either as a special promotion or as part of your general display. For example, displaying cough/cold remedies next to tissues for a winter display, or painkillers alongside feminine care products (as well as in the counter medicines section). Again, an effective EPoS system can be valuable here in helping to increase revenue by managing campaigns and driving sales of specified product ranges.

Whether your pharmacy is in need of a full refit or a partial makeover, by enhancing the environment, improving customer services and access, displaying the right products effectively and having your own, unique image, you will quickly achieve the right results.