[ULTIMATE] Pharmacy Holiday Survival Tips

Posted by Dr. Lisa Faast

Dec 21, 2016 2:38:47 PM

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What if we told you it’s possible to thrive during this holiday bustle?

This year's busy retail season is crazier than ever, and you may be wondering how you will survive Christmas 2016. We know firsthand that major shifts in customer volume and stock shortages are hard to predict. Nevertheless, we want to assist you in taking care of the things that you can control. And, to help you eliminate stress and make sure your operations run smoothly, we created a simple list of practical tips that will help prepare your pharmacy to thrive through the New Year.

  1. Make sure your shelves are properly stocked, so customers who come in to purchase specific items don’t have to wait in the long lines just to ask if you have more. On the flip side, avoid packing shelves with too much merchandise: displaying fewer items creates the sense of urgency and motivates customers to buy while supplies last.
  1. Place products strategically throughout the store to maximize sales. Get creative - prepare a speedy recovery kit: tissue paper, hand sanitizer and cold medicine - and display it next to the checkout line or in the areas where customers are waiting on their prescriptions. This will help sell individual items faster, and your patients will know that you care. Eager to introduce new items or promote existing merchandise? Display them next to your holiday best sellers for more visibility and they won't go unnoticed. 
  1. Organize selling floor and supply areas so additional merchandise is readily available for quick restocking, especially during rush hours and after store closing. The last thing you want to do is to spend time trying to hunt down a specific product, especially while your customer is waiting.
  1. Consider extending holiday hours these last few days of 2016. Everyone is busy and your time-crunched customers will appreciate the convenience of having an extra hour of uninterrupted shopping. There should be nothing more important than serving your customers.
  1. Evaluate last year’s holiday sales to plan and effectively organize staff: reports that are available in your POS system may provide an insight on customer count for a specific time frame, allowing you to quickly identify peak retail shopping hours and schedule more employees for when you need them. Slack times may also be leveraged with preassigned projects: for example, frontline employees who normally run cash registers can help organize shelves and clean the floor during less busy hours.
  1. Prepare your staff: for some of your employees this may be their first retail season. Working through holiday hassle and bustle can be overwhelming, so make sure your team understands the responsibilities and has all available resources to effectively prioritize and complete tasks.
  1. Use sales games as positive reinforcement to reward your staff when they practice higher level selling skills. For example, if the average items per sale in your store is 2.27 items, you should reward them for higher results – like selling 4 or more items to a single customer or achieving a daily average of 3 items per sale or more. To hit those goals, they will have to try harder at adding-on with every customer. The key to making games work for your employees is to make them fun!

We hope that our holiday tips will help you bring down stress levels, boost morale and spread cheer and joy among your team members and patients!

What are your best practices this Holiday Season? Let us know in the comments...

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Topics: pharmacy business success, pharmacy leadership, community pharmacy ideas, business strategies for pharmacy, PDS 2017

Meet Dr. Lisa Faast

Dr. Lisa Faast is the VP of Marketing and Creative Solutions at Pharmacy Development Services and a regular blog contributor. She can be found on LinkedIn.
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