The Elements of Design
Consumers can find drug store merchandise almost anywhere these days, so unless your pharmacy is the only game in town, it’s a good idea to create an environment that sets your business apart from the competition. Like you, consumers prefer to shop in a store that’s clean, comfortable, and easy to find their wanted items. Your goal should be to provide this place. Your clientele has a need to fill their prescriptions. Why not capitalize on that need? Just putting up rows of shelves stocked with pharmacy essentials will present sales, but you may be missing out on countless more that walk out your door forever. Done right and you will attract new customers, keep them coming back, and maximize your sales. That’s where the elements of design come into play. A well-designed store will make your business more consumer-friendly and a lot more profitable.
In this four-part series, we will give you an outline of design considerations to help you determine how your store measures up.
(1) General Appearance of the Store
(2) Traffic Flow
(3) Display Fixturing & Equipment
(4) Pharmacy Lab Efficiency
General Appearance of the Store
Exterior: Attracting new customers is the first challenge for any retailer and the process begins before they step through your door. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and walk outside to the front of your store. What image are you projecting?
Your windows are like billboards for your business, so be sure to promote your brand. What kind of store you have should be clear to passersby? One way is to have a clear unobstructed view through your windows to let people see into your store. Another is to use signage and window displays that are bold, clear, and welcoming – not a bunch of faded product posters you got from a sales rep a couple of years ago. You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to create attention-grabbing windows. Rotate a few large format lifestyle images or product graphics to attract consumers. Images on perforated films can be applied to cover the windows and convey your message, but still, allow light to come through. Keep the windows clean inside and out. Make sure there are no layers of dust, cobwebs, or dead flies in any of your corners. The entrance to your store should always be clean and free of debris or litter. Sidewalks can easily be swept or use a blower to clear leaves and debris from your front entrance. No one wants to walk through dirt and trash as they enter a store that sells healthcare products. If at the very least you keep it clean and simple, you will project to your customers that you care and want to make it inviting for them to enter your store. – It also helps to prevent and reduce dirt tracked into the store…
Interior: If you are happy with the way things look outside, step inside. Does your store give customers the impression of being in a professionally organized business? Or might it make someone stop and think “How am I ever going to find what I need in this mess?” Just like the outside, the floors and walls should be clean and free of debris. Make sure delivery totes aren’t cluttering up the floor. (Do you have a receiving and staging area for deliveries?) Have products stocked immediately or keep boxes and totes in the back until they are ready to be merchandised.
If your store offers special services such as compounding, nutritional or diabetic care, don’t keep it a secret. Any customer who walks through your door should know immediately what you have to offer via signage. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just simple, consistent, and easy-to-read signs that are visible throughout the store. Make sure that all of your staff members know about these services so that they can make recommendations and offer suggestions to help sell these services.
Lighting: Believe it or not, lighting plays a big part in your customer’s level of comfort. It may be the difference between taking a stroll around the floor and buying products they didn’t know they wanted, or popping in and grabbing what they need and rushing off. Your store should be well lit, but not glaring. If the lighting in your store is too dark, customers will have a hard time looking for and buying products. Modern retail lighting is divided into four different lighting types; ambient, task, accent, and decorative. Consider transitioning to LED ambient lighting to eliminate shadowy areas. These can generate the same quality and level of illumination as traditional fixtures, with less than half the energy input. If not in your budget, ensure that your existing bulbs and diffusers are cleaned of any dust and dirt and make sure that they are all in working order with no flickering. Sufficient task lighting will ensure techs, clerks, and customers have the proper illumination to complete their transactions. To get the most bang-for-your-buck and to make specialty products pop, try highlighting different areas of your store with accent lighting such as under-shelf mounted lights and/or track lighting. Decorative lighting can add that personal touch and be can be used to create a brand image. A perfect blend of lighting will create the best buying mood so that your customers will linger longer and buy more.
Going through the four parts of this outline should help you identify your store’s design strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of what you find, learn to emphasize your company’s strong points. You and your competition have access to the same merchandise, so the way you display your products and services is what can give you the edge. You’re a specialty retailer with a niche market that has great growth potential for the years ahead. Investing in the look and design of your store doesn’t cost, it pays.
Contact us today to talk about how we can improve your store and your bottom line…
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