Your guide to in-store promotions
In-store promotions are a great way to boost sales – but there are strict rules about what you can and can't do.
You've seen the deals in other shops – supermarkets offering buy one, get one free or coupons, clothing retailers running clearance sales on last season's fashions. Unfortunately, pharmacies have their own rules about what they can and can't offer – and knowing them can prevent you getting into serious trouble.
As a member of the pharmacy team, you have duty of care to your customers – and that means not offering promotions that could lead to the inappropriate use of medicines. That said, pharmacies are allowed to run promotions on most items, the same as any other retailer. These offers help build up customer loyalty and attract new customers too.
Medicines have their own rules regarding what's allowed in advertising. Advertising your pharmacy's services is fine (in fact, it's important to do it!) and so is advertising non-medical products. Advertising GSL and P items is more tricky; manufacturers follow codes of conduct, as well as legal requirements from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). For example, medicines should not be endorsed by celebrities, claim tobe natural or free of side effects (unless proven) or use scare tactics to encourage sales. In the UK, it is against the law to advertise medicines only available on prescription to the public. But there is nothing wrong in you explaining what a product is for, or how it can help your patient lead a healthier life.
Assuming the promotion is allowed, where do you put it? There are several key areas in shops, and pharmacies are no different. These include: near the till or on the counter, in-store signs, the end of shelves and window displays.
Walk around your pharmacy – how many different ways of advertising can you see? What type do you think is the most eye catching? Next time you go shopping look at other stores' window displays – how do your pharmacy's windows measure up?
Promotion dos and don'ts
Confused about what you can promote? Try our handy dos and don'ts
● Make customers aware of what promoted items are for
● Highlight how products can help reach health goals, such as stopping smoking or improving diet
● Use caution and judgment when deciding what to promote
● Watch out for customers buying inappropriate quantities of medicines
● Make claims about medicines that aren't on the product's licence
● Give a personal endorsement of a medicine – only recommend a product
● Encourage inappropriate use of a medicine
● Encourage a patient to buy a medicine they do not need
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