Front End

How to Prepare Your Pharmacy for Back-to-School Season

Summer = out. School = in. Is your pharmacy ready? Use these tips to make your pharmacy a destination this back-to-school season!

Alas, summer has come to an end, and the kiddos are about to kick off a brand-new school year. That means back-to-school shopping is in full swing. If you have even a small front end in your pharmacy, there are several tactics you can employ to maximize your pharmacy's success this back-to-school season. Here are some of our top tips.

Stock the Right Products

What are the youths into these days? What brands, products and trends are captivating the market right now? Do some basic research to see what is popular in your area and what it’s selling for. Can you beat that price? A great way to make your pharmacy a destination this back-to-school season is by carrying desirable products at a price that beats out your competition. If you can’t beat or match every price, that's okay! Cheaper isn't always better. Stocking higher quality products with a higher price point brings implied value. Even if you’re not churning a huge profit from these items, you can still generate new foot traffic into your pharmacy, build brand recognition and foster customer loyalty!

Not sure where to start your research? Reach out to schools in your area and ask what's on the supply list for students this year. For example, Mrs. Carroll’s 5th grade students need x, y, and z for her class this year. If Mrs. Carroll is open to partnering with your pharmacy, you could put together bundles at a promo price that she can advertise to her students. It never hurts to ask! Even if you don’t partner with a specific school or teacher, you can still create bundles or promotions for popular back-to-school items to make the buying process easier and more desirable for your customers.

Targeted Product Placement

One of the best things you can do, aside from stocking hot products, is displaying them in an attractive and targeted manner. End cap and island displays and strategic product placement at checkout is a no-brainer, but how should those displays look? RMS CEO, Brad Jones, gave a great presentation at DiversifyRx’s Pharmacy Profit Summit earlier this month on how to design your front end to maximize your effectiveness. Turning your pharmacy into a destination is more than just offering the products people want. You have to make your pharmacy feel like a destination. Embracing a boutique-like strategy to product placement is the direction every pharmacy with any sort of retail front end needs to be going in. If you can’t afford to revamp your entire store right now, start with your seasonal displays and go from there. Wooden shelving with products artfully arranged draw consumers in and elevate the shopping experience. The photo below is a great example from one of our RMS customers, Valley Integrative Pharmacy.

Valley Integrative Pharmacy Displays

Obviously, Valley has spent a considerable amount on revamping their front end to make their pharmacy a destination, but let’s focus on their two island displays. If a shopper walks into a store and spies attractive displays like that, there will be an inextricable force drawing them in to check out those products and motivating them to make a purchase. I don’t make the rules; it’s neuroscience, baby!

This is a great opportunity for you to get creative. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to create attractive displays if you simply don’t have thousands of dollars to spend right now. Play on the hometown pharmacy aesthetic and use affordable materials like wooden crates, or check out budget display options online. Get your team involved in the creative process and delegate to those with the best eye for design. If you build it, they will come!

Make the Buying Process Crazy-Easy

Everyone is insanely busy right now. Especially parents of back-to-school kids. You could design the most amazing displays with the best branding and marketing strategy known to mankind – but there will inevitably be shoppers who simply don’t have time to organically find and shop your store in person. If you haven’t already, check out RMS’s integration with Pointy from Google to get your product offerings online. It’s super easy to set up your storefront and get your pharmacy to the top of Google’s search results when shoppers research products available in their area. Especially with back-to-school items being in high demand, having those items visible online and linked directly to your store gives you an advantage over your competitors who aren’t capitalizing on the eCommerce space. If you want to take it one step further, RMS’ integration with 24SevenCommerce allows you to create an actual eCommerce platform so customers can make purchases online.

The other component to making the buying process crazy-easy is offering curbside and delivery services. Big box stores like Walmart and Target roll out massive campaigns for back-to-school shopping, and their curbside pickup and delivery options make the buying process highly desirable to busy shoppers. Prolonged product availability will be their biggest struggle, though, with so many choosing to shop online these days. Things will sell out fast at those places; and usually once they’re gone, they’re gone. Leverage this to your advantage by offering the same or similar products and implementing a curbside pickup process, and a delivery option if you can manage. RMS has a great curbside and delivery program that makes it simple to get started!

What are some strategies you’ve used in your pharmacy to elevate the back-to-school shopping experience? Let us know in the comments!

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