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Cross-Merchandising Done Right

Combining items increases sales and basket size


Merchandising goods in your pharmacy is one thing, but if you want to take things up to the next level, you should be cross-merchandising.

Cross-merchandising means putting items together that make a logical dual sale—keeping Band Aids near the Neosporin for example.

“Cross merchandising is important because people buy solutions not products and retailers tend to sell products and not solutions. So they need to combine things that tend to cross departments,” says Neil Stern, a senior partner with McMillan Doolittle, a retail consulting firm in Chicago.

The benefits of cross-merchandising are shared by the pharmacy and the consumer.

Pharmacies can potentially sell more because they’re providing a comprehensive solution and spurring customers into buying something they might not otherwise have thought of.

Consumers profit because they think to pick up items that they might have forgotten until they arrived at their home.

Stern offers these tips for pharmacy cross-merchandising:

• A classic case for cross-merchandising is in cold and flu season. This can encourage customers to think of that season and stock up their pantry. Cross merchandising items like cough drops, Kleenex and medications also helps consumers easily find these items if they come in specifically looking for them.

• Another seasonal cross-merchandising opportunity is allergy season in the spring and summer.

• Evergreen cross-merchandising opportunities are smoking cessation, weight loss, diabetes care, etc. But know your demographic. Don’t feature a diabetes display if your customers are mostly young.

• The holidays are a great time to cross-merchandise. A full aisle can be permanently devoted to the holidays and change as the seasons do so the aisle is a big draw with lots of cross-merchandising.

• Make sure holiday items are refreshed as soon as a holiday is over. It’s important to get very aggressive with clearances, and get your inventory right.

• End caps are a great location for cross-merchandising opportunities. These are easily seen by the consumers but not in the way.

• Cross-merchandising can also be done in the middle of the aisles—but this can also become nuisance merchandising and clutter. The front end of the store is also a great cross-merchandising location.

• Don’t overdo it and creating clutter shows you’re not sure what you’re trying to do.

• Don’t cross-merchandise items that don’t go together like cough syrup and foil.

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