Practical tips for visual merchandising in pharmacies

Practical tips for visual merchandising in pharmacies

13 min read
Andrew Max
Andrew MaxEnd-to-end merchandising process expert
visual merchandising in pharmacies

Merchandising, as a practice that promotes the sale of products, is ubiquitous in retail. Modern retail outlets are not sustainable without carefully thought-out product placement, creative packaging design, and other ways to encourage consumers to buy more.

Pharmaceutical retail is no exception and also needs merchandising, but, of course, taking into account the specifics of pharmaceutical sales. As a reminder, pharmacies sell prescription pharmaceuticals that cannot be promoted like other products. However, keep in mind that a significant part of the assortment of pharmacies consists of non-prescription drugs, as well as vitamins and supplements, hygiene and cosmetics, and other related health and beauty products.

Therefore, improving merchandising in pharmacies is important, although it has its own peculiarities. We will talk about this further, suggesting a number of practical tips that will help pharmaceutical retail.

Merchandising of medicines and related products: how it works

The psychology of potential customers and limited sales floor space compared to stores of everyday goods are the main factors that should be taken into account when developing sales promotion measures in pharmacies.

Therefore, it is no coincidence that pharmacy merchandising focuses on the promotion of over-the-counter drugs, common medical devices, and other related products. After all, these goods are most readily available to buyers on the sales floor rather than behind the counter. 

So, the lack of space and the peculiarities of the psychology of pharmacy visitors, namely, their characteristic sense of awkwardness, play a major role in placing various categories of goods in retail outlets. Traditional goods display techniques also do not remain unclaimed. We are talking about placing goods with certain characteristics at different levels, following the rules of visual perception, etc. 

Let's look at all this in more detail, highlighting the problems and giving advice on solving them:

To address this, all offered medicines and related products must be divided into disease groups (so-called treatment groups). This approach helps buyers see what they need and make a choice. 

When placing treatment groups, one should encourage the purchase of related goods that the buyer might also need to address their specific health issues. For example, it would be convenient to see a rack with thermometers, saturators, etc., next to the case featuring cold and flu medicines.

Always offer something else to the buyer, even if they’re headed straight toward the exit. Yes, we are reminding you about checkout racks, which should contain popular common medical products, and also taking into account seasonality and/or popular goods. Speaking of seasonality…

At the same time, remember that with the abundance of related products, the trigger for purchases for buyers will always be medicines. Therefore, make sure that the counters and display cases with medicines of your outlet are visible, not only in the sales aisles but even from the street.

Sales promotion through customer research

Important tip: Always consistently study your customers, their age, and social affiliations. Also consider the location of the outlet.The age, race, gender, and income level of consumers are important characteristics to keep in mind.

Meeting the needs of the predominant ethnic or age group in the area where the pharmacy is located is useful in attracting these potential customers. For example, older people are more likely to prefer a pharmacy that stocks a wide range of durable medical equipment. On the other hand, it makes no sense to concentrate many different childcare products in a retail outlet if young families are not the main customers.

In fact, when entering a pharmacy, buyers do not always consider the products presented. More often, they simply move quickly to the prescription department while searching their smartphone for the information they need. Offer your visitors a different scenario. For instance, say hello to them at the entrance to attract their attention. 

Most pharmacies have a counter at the entrance, which is supervised by a staff member. That's a really good idea. When visitors hear, “hello,” they will pause for a moment to respond to the greeting and then look around the sales floor. And, after having heard a friendly greeting from your employee, visitors often decide to use this help to quickly make the right purchase. This will result in another successful sales action for your team. 

So we’ve recommended quite a few visual merchandising techniques for pharmacies. However, their successful application requires visualization and processing of a large amount of information. How can this be handled? More on this in the following tips.

Automation of merchandising in pharmacies

A lot of information accumulates when analyzing sales and consumer behavior. When arranging a retail space and placing goods, good visualization is needed, including retail equipment, which allows you to plan the replenishment of shelves. We recommend that you use a planogram. And, given the wide range of pharmacies and limited retail space, we recommend automating planogramming. Automation helps you follow one of our top tips: Always think about profit and customer loyalty!

Do you know how much profit you get from the products that you display in your store in the most prominent places? Is this really making you money? Or should there be something else in their place that you can earn more from?

For many years, pharmacies in lucrative locations displayed household items. It was assumed that that’s what customers wanted and that it would lead to more sales. But often this is not the case. Often the customer only wants napkins and doesn’t buy anything else.

Take some time and look at the sales of these items. Generate a Point of Sale report to see how well each SKU is doing and how much money you've actually made from it.

Be daring… try new things! Order the latest medical devices or skin care products! There's a good chance you'll make more profit from $1 greeting cards than you’ll make selling napkins on the shelf near the checkout. 

Don't let your goods sit too long. Maintain the sales pace at an appropriate level. Be sure to analyze planograms and sales data. To do this, you have to process a lot of information quickly.

Consider automating merchandising using Leafio Shelf Efficiency to manage shelf space in pharmacies. Using this advanced retail planogram automation tool, you can^

Thus, contemporary merchandising is a combination of traditional and new approaches using automated solutions. Let's mention the criteria for the accurate planning of the retail space in pharmacies. 

Concluding thoughts

We suggest using a kind of short checklist for placing medicines and related goods. Always ask yourself the following questions when displaying your products:

So, we’ve acquainted you with the specifics of visual merchandising in pharmaceutical retail. Now, you will probably be more careful in compiling and analyzing planograms in your retail chain and specific outlets. You might also start to apply automated merchandising tools more actively, as Leafio Shelf Efficiency users already do. We hope that the advice we’ve given you on the placement and promotion of medicines and related products in pharmacies will help you increase the profitability of your business and create a positive customer experience.

Andrew Max
Andrew MaxEnd-to-end merchandising process expert

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