Does anyone know where this summer has gone? Personally I can’t believe that it’s already the middle of August, and I’m having trouble coming to terms with the emails advertising back-to-school specials and fall wardrobe staples. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to trade in my shorts, flip-flops and weekends at the beach for boots, sweaters and evenings spent catching up on TV shows while the rain pours outside.
But fall is coming, and with it comes the turmoil of students getting ready to return to school. Parents will soon be inundated with checklists of school supplies or massive shopping lists full of must haves for the college dorm room. Many independent retail pharmacies carry a large number of back to school essentials, so although many of us will be a little sad to see summer go, the cycle into fall does represent a great opportunity to boost retail sales. Unfortunately, too few independent retailers take true advantage of this potential business. Here are a few things you might want to try to drive back to school sales.
1) If you carry necessary back to school supplies like pencils, crayons, paper etc., it’s important to make sure your customers know this. Your regular loyal customers are probably coming in sometime this month anyway, so if they know that they can pick up other essentials at your pharmacy, you’ll save them a stop before they make it. Whether your means of advertising are emails to your customer base, an ad in the local paper, or your store windows or billboard out front, make sure you advertise that customers can shop for back to school with you.
2) As always, making shopping as easy as possible for your customers is a must. If you can obtain the supply checklists from your local schools and have them in your store, you’ll ensure that your customers will be prepared to do their back to school shopping. If they have to leave and come back, you risk them shopping elsewhere.
3) You’re not limited to just promoting the items that are on a traditional back to school list. You can get creative and make some helpful recommendations. Small first aid kits, travel size lotions and hand sanitizers are perfect back pack additions. Dorm room initiates will need all the toiletry basics and medicine cabinet essentials. And any time you’re talking back to school, a good vitamin recommendation for the entire family is always a good pick.
4) Grouping all of your back to school picks together is also a great way to make shopping for these items in your pharmacy easy for your customers. As always, displays close to the entry way of your store or on end caps are great places for seasonal products and special offers
5) Last, but certainly not least, a few promotions will be helpful for driving sales. You can bundle items together in baskets, create BOGO promotions, or print coupons for your Loyalty customers. Your Pharmacy POS system will be invaluable for setting all this up to make checkout streamlined and simple.
For many small communities, the local pharmacy can be a go to place for so many things. There’s no reason to miss out on an opportunity to remind customers that you are more than a prescription warehouse and boost your pharmacy sales this fall.