NCPA Initiative Aims to Help Pharmacies Improve Merchandising Strategies

Published Online: Friday, December 2, 2011
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The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) launched a new initiative to help community pharmacy owners create better business opportunities for the front-end of their stores. Spearheading the initiative—called “Front-End Overhaul, More Traffic, More Profits”—is NCPA’s new Senior Director of Store Operations & Marketing, Gabe Trahan, who specializes in layout modification, merchandising, curb appeal, pricing strategies, and advertising.

“NCPA believes community pharmacies are indispensible because of their accessibility, expertise, and focus on patient-care,” said B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, CEO of NCPA, in a statement. “But while NCPA continues to fight for adequate reimbursements, community pharmacies must also diversify their business opportunities. One area for potential growth is front-end merchandise. We are excited to welcome Gabe Trahan to the NCPA family, because he has a record of accomplishment in this area and is the perfect person to lead our Front-End Overhaul.”

NCPA members will also get access to 2 continuing education (CE) programs called “Closing the Image Gap: Merchandising with a Critical Difference” and “Mastering Your Message: Crystal Communication of Your Pharmacy’s Value.” They can also view a photo gallery of before and after pictures of community pharmacies that have implemented strategic merchandising changes as a result of consultation with Trahan, and a library of one-pagers and tip sheets on every aspect of the process.

NCPA members will also have access to affordable onsite and virtual consulting visits to help community pharmacies uncover ways to realistically improve curbside presence and in-store merchandising opportunities that can be applied to patient care activities and traditional HBC, DME, seasonal, candy and snacks, gifts, and more. Virtual store visit participants fill out an in-depth questionnaire and upload photographs of their store. Then after the review, participants will get a plan for profit, including steps for increasing planned, impulse, and companion sales; a detailed action list; a new floor plan if needed; and 6 months of ongoing help. The onsite visits will be divided into 1-day or 2-day packages during which Trahan comes for a face-to-face review and revitalization process that builds on the components of the virtual visits.

“Having worked with many members of NCPA over the years, formally joining the association’s impressive staff was the next logical step in trying to make the greatest possible difference to the largest amount of community pharmacies,” said Trahan. “I can tell you what you want to hear or what you should hear. I owe it to you to tell you what you need to hear. But this is just the beginning. We are committed to building ideas, tools, and opportunities to assist NCPA members in creating a dynamic front-end.”

Trahan worked for more than 24 years for City Drug Stores, where he held several positions. Trahan is the originator of the “Store Report Card”, which, by focusing on improvements and opportunities, starts from the outside and ends at the furthest interior point of the store. The results of the Report Card have identified many opportunities that have dramatically increased planned, companion, and impulse sales. While holding the position as the Director of Store Design and Merchandising for Promotions Unlimited, he traveled across the country conducting seminars on the keys to successful front-end merchandising.

Trahan has also worked as director of retail services for Burlington Drug Company, and as an independent consultant, where he helped rejuvenate the front-ends of drug stores from Alaska to the Bahamas.

For information about the initiative either email frontendoverhaul@ncpanet.org, call Cheron McCrae at 703-600-1219, or visit the page on NCPA’s website that is devoted to the initiative.
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