Cue the bright red bows and the mistletoe — it’s Christmastime. After a year of waiting, we’re ready to celebrate with an evergreen tree, a cup of hot cocoa, and a handwritten letter to Santa explaining why we should still be on the “nice” list. After all, Christmas is the most magical time of year. It invites us to take a step back, spend time with family, and spread a bit of holiday cheer. In anticipation, we celebrate with neighbors, with strangers, and most importantly, with patients. 

What’s your pharmacy doing to get in the holiday spirit?

If you haven’t started hanging your red and green tinsel, don’t panic. In a few simple steps, you can plan a holiday revamp and get ready for the weeks to come. From a window display to an apple cider station, there are plenty of ways that you can take advantage of the Christmas season. And who knows? Maybe Santa will take note of all your extra efforts.

Step 1: A Christmas-Centric Atmosphere

The first step in any revamp is to set the right atmosphere. In and out of the holiday season, atmosphere is essential. A good atmosphere invites patients in and encourages them to stay. A bad one, on the other hand, can send them out the door as quickly as they came in. That’s why it’s just as important to invest in how you make patients feel as in how you meet their needs. With this in mind, keep your atmosphere warm, welcoming, and festive all throughout the month of December.

As you prepare for the Christmas season, strip down your boring white walls and normal décor in favor of a more seasonal look. Try a few of these ideas to get started:

  • Hang a wreath over your front door
  • String up some Christmas lights
  • Put a Christmas tree, complete with retail item ornaments
  • Hang up felt stockings for staff members
  • Put up Christmas signage
  • Hire a local artist to paint your windows
  • Get crafty with pharmacy supplies — think prescription bottle snowflakes or miniature Christmas trees

With the right atmosphere in place, you can catch more eyes and bring in more patients. Plus, the holiday flair will get everyone in the right spirit.

Step 2: Seasonal Items Everyone Needs

With more patients in your door, you’re bound to generate more sales. Your sales don’t have to stop at dispensing, though. Rather, they can extend into retail. The best way to boost retail sales — while keeping in the Christmas spirit — is to bring in holiday merchandise. To get started, decide on a dollar amount that you’ll spend on merchandising this Christmas. Then, pulling past financial reports, pick out the most profitable items for your pharmacy. Order your items and arrange them in a holiday section of the pharmacy. Consider these items on your shopping list:

  • Holiday cards (don’t forget Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Years’)
  • Seasonal home décor
  • Christmas-themed jewelry
  • Lotion, perfume, and cosmetics
  • Christmas candles
  • Collectibles
  • Local art and items
  • Children’s toys and games

Aside from ordering holiday items, you can also put a Christmas twist on everyday staples. For example, you can tie festive ribbons around select vitamins and supplements. You can place fan-favorite candy inside stockings. You can wrap larger items, like skincare sets, in Christmas paper and set them out on a holiday table.

Need more help with merchandising around the holidays? Check out Episode 14 of the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast, where NCPA’s Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing, Gabe Trahan, offers practical tips to put your Christmas items on display.

And, to make sure all your boxes are checked off, look to Gabe’s Christmas Sales Worksheet, which is available to download for free.

Step 3: Your Own Christmas Twist

After you change up your storefront and start selling new Christmas items, you can take a few final steps to make Christmas even more special. Rather than going for a cookie-cutter approach, try putting a personal touch on your holiday revamp. You, your team, and your patients will notice a difference in the look and feel of your pharmacy.

  • Ask your staff to dress in Christmas colors
  • Sport a Santa hat
  • Play Christmas music
  • Serve hot chocolate or apple cider
  • Host a 12 days of Christmas giveaway
  • Put up a “Santa’s mailbox” station, where kids can send a letter to the North Pole
  • Support a Christmas cause, like Toys for Tots or Operation Christmas Child
  • Promote your holiday activities across all social media accounts

Implement any of these ideas — or any of your own — in your pharmacy’s day-to-day operations. Not only will you see an increase in business and sales, but you’ll have patients rockin’ around the Christmas tree, right inside your pharmacy.

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