Earlier this week, I walked into my local grocery store; list in hand, ready to knock out the weeks shopping. I frequent the same store almost every week, so I was confident that I could race through my shopping. This week however, a quick and efficient trip just wasn’t in the cards. I had fallen victim to the dreaded grocery store reorganization. My beloved natural foods aisle was suddenly filled with tempting cookies and snacks and freezer sections that had been stocked with fruit and juices were now home to my personal worst enemy, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
From my many years of setting retail planograms, I understand the reasons that stores do this. If I don’t have ice cream on my shopping list, I’m not as likely to go down that aisle and it’s a safe bet that I won’t make an impulse buy for something sweet. But change things up, force me to wander around a little bit to find what I need, and suddenly the fruits, vegetables and whole grains in my shopping cart are accompanied by all kinds of extra items, including the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream that I was trying so hard to avoid.
Grocery stores, department stores and pretty much every other large format retailer I can think of all take advantage of this marketing tactic. Independent pharmacy can take advantage of these tricks used by retail giants to increase profit and remind your customers that your store is more than a place to fill prescriptions and grab the occasional box of cold medicine. Here are my top tips for leveraging store reorganization to gain more items in your customers shopping carts and a higher average ticket.
- Go with the season. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July, or just time to go on a summer picnic, make sure that your seasonal product is easily visible when a customer enters your store. Make your seasonal displays colorful, fresh, fun and unique to draw attention.
- Maximize your end cap space. End caps are some of the easiest places to move around product with little disruption to overall store layout. Customers are more likely to see product on end caps as they walk by an aisle than they are when it’s buried halfway down the aisle. End caps are also a great place to rotate your seasonal or clearance items or show off new product in your store.
- Pay attention to the trends. Are flu scares all over the news? Is a heat wave coming or have you noticed more cars than normal in the parking lot of your local gym? These things can mean you need to consider moving cold medicine and Kleenex, sunblock and aloe or health supplements to more prominent positions in your store. (A good POS system can help you run reports to find out what your sales trends were last year which will not only help you decide what product to move but will also help you maintain proper stock.)
- Maximize the space where lines form. Items kept up by the register, or where customers wait while prescriptions are filled are often impulse buys. Scatter some of your smaller seasonal items or some candy at the checkout counters or put out a few key items like pill cutters or vitamins. Suddenly customers remember that they are feeling a bit under the weather after all so maybe a good daily multivitamin wouldn’t be such a bad purchase. Don’t be afraid to rotate these items out a little more frequently.
- Scatter novelty items throughout the store. Many stores are home to a plethora of unique product lines that many customers just don’t know about. Try putting one or two of those great sculptures from a local artist or that snack from your town that should be world famous in a conspicuous area with a sign, “More great gifts located in aisle 10”.
- Make reorganization easy on your customers. While changing things up can help you to drive sales, the last thing you want to do is make things difficult for your customers, especially if you’ve had the same layout for the last 10 years. Make sure your aisles are clearly marked and that prices are easy to spot on the items or the shelves. You can check with your wholesaler for display options and signage and your POS provider can help you with shelf labeling and shelf talkers to promote special pricing. If you do go through a major change, be sure to have staff on hand to help your customers find what they need if they are in a hurry.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Not every change you make will drive huge sales increases. Every pharmacy is unique so it may take some time to find the product rotation that works best for you. Knowing when you succeed is important, so use the features in your POS system to monitor whether the changes you make are driving sales.
Remember, whether your store has 1 register or 10 you can leverage these strategies to help drive sales.
I’d love to hear what’s working for you so please feel free to share your successes!