Best Practices

Fun with Pharmacy Front End

Embracing your pharmacy's front end opens the door to making your pharmacy a true destination.

What’s one sure-fire way to keep your pharmacy business booming? To make it a destination for more than just prescriptions. There are many ways to accomplish this, most commonly through elevated services or unique products.

This week, it’s all about the front end and how really embracing it can help take your pharmacy to the next level. RMS CEO, Brad Jones, was live at the Pharmacy Profit Summit last week to talk about just this topic. If you weren’t able to attend live, here are some of the highlights from his presentation.

First, let’s start by getting excited about the opportunity your front end offers. It’s the one place in your pharmacy where you have complete control. You control the products you carry. You control the appearance. You control the merchandising. You control the prices. You have complete control over the image you project. That’s pretty amazing in an industry that’s tightly controlled in so many other ways.

Now, let’s look at some of the factors and concepts that go into curating a destination-worthy front end.


  • People are not rational shoppers.
  • Shoppers are unconsciously attracted by pleasure and a feeling of reward.
  • Unconscious thought drives up to 80% of consumer purchase behavior.

What does this all mean? The product you carry is important, but so is how you display it. Wooden shelves and flooring are better than metal ones. Displays are better than aisles. Smaller, fuller shelves are better than empty ones. And while planograms are a great tool, they may not always be the right answer for your pharmacy. That leads us to…

Visual Merchandising

Visual merchandising helps create customer value by making the shopper journey efficient, unique and memorable. Both appearance and ambiance are important in your visual merchandising scheme. Think about the impression that your pharmacy makes and the feelings customers might have in these key areas:

Key Appearance Factors
  • Parking lot
  • Entryway
  • Flooring
  • Fixtures
  • Layout
  • Merchandising
  • Signage
  • Cleanliness
  • Clutter/bare shelves
  • Need of remodel
  • Warm & welcoming or cold & chaotic?
  • Appearance of your team
  • Customer interactions
    • On the sales floor
    • At the register
    • On the phone

Marketing & Advertising

You can advertise online, on tv, on the radio, and in newspapers. You can participate in community events. You can have a strong social media presence. There’s no one-size-fits-all for this and you might need to experiment to find the right mix of media. At the end of the day, “it’s not the media, it’s the message that creates a successful marketing campaign”.

The most important thing is to keep your message consistent with your business values, and product & service offerings. If you’re not sure how to approach marketing, try an education first approach.

The Numbers

Lastly, there are some key numbers to understand when you look at your pharmacy front end. Numbers help you understand what’s working and what’s not so you can make data driven decisions to make the most out of every product in your front end.

Gross Margin
  • Gross profit divided by total sales
  • Measures the amount of gross profit generated as products sell
  • A great place to start if you don’t have access to more robust data
Inventory Turns
  • The number of times you turn your inventory during a given period of time
  • Helps you stock more effectively
Gross Margin Return on Investment – GMROI
  • Gross profit divided by average inventory cost
  • The amount retuned on every dollar invested in inventory
  • One of the best metrics to look at to understand your inventory

Looking for more?

These tips are just the icing on the cake. If you’re ready to dive in and learn more, you can download our free eBook on pharmacy front end that’s filled with in-depth information on marketing, merchandising, and using data to drive business decisions.

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