Even if your front end doesn’t drive a lot of profit, it does drive a large part of your pharmacy’s image. Many community pharmacy owners today think that because they can’t compete on price with big box stores and national chains, they shouldn’t invest in their front ends.

Your patients likely disagree. Patients expect a front end at their pharmacy. When you don’t have cough drops on hand during cold season or allergy OTCs available during spring, your patients may see your business as less valuable—and go elsewhere to fill their prescriptions.

Your community pharmacy doesn’t have to break the bank to offer a valuable front end. Simply rethink how you approach your front end. One way to do that is to use the changing seasons to guide your pharmacy merchandising strategy. When you have the front end items available that your patients need—when they need them—you can increase front-end sales and improve patient satisfaction with your store.

Here are six ways to use the seasons to drive sales. 

  1. Plan ahead – Accurate seasonal planning can increase sales, decrease surplus stock and improve patient satisfaction with your front end—even if your prices are slightly higher than the chains. You need to plan budgets and submit orders to your vendors or wholesaler before each season hits. That way, during flu season, for example, you’ll have plenty of OTC products available on your shelves the moment that first patient walks in feeling sick. When you order your front end items before each season starts, you’re more likely to hit those high spikes of traffic and to boost sales.

  1. Change your displays – Don’t just assume that your current product displays are enough. Highlight seasonal items with big displays, pull those items to the front of your store and don’t be afraid to move stock around. When you offer more interesting and dynamic displays, you’ll enhance the in-store experience for your patients, which encourages them to stop by your pharmacy more often.

  1. Arrange items in multiple places – Place seasonal items in different spots around your front end—even if you have a small storefront. Patients can miss items on a first walkthrough. They might walk right past a big display of sunscreens by the front door, but then pick up a bottle when they see a smaller display again near the pharmacy counter.