It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to boost sales! Your patients will be running more errands as the holidays grow near, and they will be looking for shortcuts to save time. While patients are picking up prescriptions, why not help them cross items off their gift list with a great selection of front-end products that increase your bottom line?
We’ve asked four community pharmacists from the north, the south, and everywhere in-between about their most sought-after products that always sell out around the holidays. These pharmacists have found great success on their business’ retail side, and they have learned some tips and tricks along the way that have optimized their pharmacy system to manage their profits.
C.O Bigelow, the oldest apothecary in America, already has a successful beauty and cosmetic business year-round, but the holidays always guarantee a huge retail boost. Ian Ginsberg and his staff go all out for Christmas and brighten up the store with festive decor that attracts regular customers and tourists in New York City.
Ian’s Go-To Product: Bigelow Cold and Flu Soak
The Bigelow Cold and Flu Soak has a variety of natural ingredients like willow bark, eucalyptus, and clove that make for an excellent winter remedy. “You just pour a little bit of it in the tub, and it’s great for whatever ails you,” Ian says. “The aroma from the oils opens up your nasal passages. We sell it year-round, but it’s perfect for when you come home after a long, freezing day.”
Ian’s Front-End Pro Tip: Upsale
Ian never wastes an opportunity to offer over-the-counter products to his patients as he ensures all prescriptions are claimed. “Every day, we print out a list of prescriptions our patients haven’t picked up yet. We call them up to remind them that it’s ready, and it’s an opportunity to get them inside the store to pick up their medication and perhaps a few other items while they are there. Or, if they want their prescriptions delivered to them, we ask if there is anything else they need from the store.”
Mula Family Pharmacy is a family-favorite destination in Abbeville, Louisiana. The Kid Zone and the “Toot and Scoot” service are some of its well-known services, but what guarantees extra profit is
the store’s robust gift shop. Home decor, cosmetics, and jewelry are some of the store’s more popular items, but Mark Mula has seen that items that promote Louisiana culture are the most popular amongst his clientele.
Mark’s Go-To Product: Lil Bit Kids Crawfish Boil Set
Mark and his team love Louisiana and Cajun culture, so they offer items like gumbo bowls and Louisiana-shaped cutting boards. One item in particular always grabs the attention of children and adults. “We actually have a little toy crawfish boiling pot, and it comes with little plastic crawfish, corn, and potatoes. We sold about 80 of these last year!”
Mark’s Front-End Pro Tip: Maximize Reporting
To make the most of the reporting features, Mark uses PioneerRx to manage data from both his gift shop and his pharmacy. “Our first Christmas season, we made around $12,000 in profits. Our second Christmas, we made around $75,000! We ran daily profit reports to check and see how well we were doing and which items were selling the most. Those showed us that we needed to add more staff members to the front-end side of the store. We’re already selling a lot of Christmas items this year, so I expect we will make at least $75,000 like last year.”
Along with its attention to customer services, the three Parkland Health Mart Pharmacy locations in Missouri highlight local merchants by offering local products in their Pharmers Market. Lisa Umfleet, owner of Parkland Health Mart Pharmacy, strives to support her fellow business owners in the community.
Lisa’s Go-To Product: Moon-Bee Honey
The Mooney Farm is one of the vendors featured in the Pharmers Market who specializes in local, wholesome products. Moon-Bee Honey’s health properties and local flavor make it a very sought-after item in Lisa’s pharmacy. “This sells so well because it’s a unique item you won’t see in big box stores. By supporting small, home-based businesses, we can be one of the few local merchants in the county that carry special products like this one. If you couple these things with a good marketing strategy, you have a recipe for success.”
Lisa’s Front-End Pro Tip: Utilize Departments
Lisa and her team created a custom department for all the items in the Pharmers Market with PioneerRx. “Because of this, we can easily run a sales report to see how things are moving without having to search per item. We also created barcodes for each item for easy scanning at the register.”
North DeSoto Drug is a 20-minute drive from PioneerRx HQ in Stonewall, La. Even though the holidays mean customers sometimes have a short wait for their prescriptions, North DeSoto Drug’s customers don’t mind because of the gifts Mandi Dominguez and her staff keep on the shelves.
Mandi’s Go-To Product: Christmas Ornaments
Mandi sells a lot of home decor year-round, but she always finds great success with holiday decor, especially Christmas ornaments. “People are drawn to these because they may have a phrase on it that is significant to the person they’re giving it to. I take the time to find unique ornaments from different vendors.” Before the Christmas holidays begin, Mandi also hosts a Holiday Open House to clear out any remaining autumn and Halloween-themed merchandise to get her store and her customers excited for Christmas.
Mandi’s Front-End Pro Tips: Take Advantage of Categories
“I utilize the Inventory feature a lot for my retail section. I put every front-end item into my inventory in PioneerRx. For instance, I know my ornaments sell so well because I label each ornament specifically, then I run a report each Christmas to see how many ornaments I sell. It’s so easy! But now that I know we have Categories, starting next year I am going to put them all in categories like ‘Jewelry,’ ‘Everyday Decor,’ ‘Christmas Decor,’ and so on.” Mandi also finds the Inventory App to be an essential tool, especially at the end of the year.
Is your pharmacy just another stop on your patients’ to-do lists, or is it the retail destination that your community frequents? Pay attention to the items your customers are looking for along with the unique or novelty items popular in your area, and start promoting those during the holidays!