The current physical presentation for a pharmacy does not generally include a specific area that was a future of the recent past, namely a shop window.
Giving ground to the view that retail space is costly and every square metre needs to be allocated to consumer accessible displays, we have seen shop windows disappear and re-birthed in some other format.
But in its glory days, the shop window of a pharmacy was supreme and became one of the most effective ways of delivering a theme or a segment of an important pharmacy story.
Window shopping was the term used to describe prospective patients/customers looking in pharmacy windows at any time over the day, but in particular when the pharmacy was closed.
In days gone by the pharmacy story was illustrated with decorative carboys filled with different coloured water, also the old fashioned apothecary jars labelled with chemicals of a bygone era.
People used to browse shops just like they browse sites on the Internet, and it was fused with a walk around the main street shopping area that doubled up as exercise as well – even a social discourse outlet for all members of a family.
While I reminisce I am certainly not suggesting that pharmacy’s current story be punctuated with materials just mentioned.
More, as we are entering an era where we need to explain and promote clinical services, the shop window can be re-born using photographs, service explanations and professional price lists to create a permanent educational and decorative experience that tells the new pharmacy story.
More like a very local Internet page brought to life.
A good window display can head off countless hours of explanation but may just provoke a range of new and thoughtful questions from existing patients and potential new patients.
Window display is an art and should be appropriately staffed with artistic and design-conscious staff.
It should also be given an independent budget so that creativity can remain relatively unshackled.
What a good exercise it would be to promote a window full of professional services because that would mean defining each service (and possibly designing a poster for it giving an apt description) and props to flesh it out (what about an example of an HMR or Medscheck de-identified to illustrate the benefits).
A structured work flow could be illustrated using photographs and the final reports.
Also, to give value to your services a properly constructed price list is a necessity so that patients can approach with confidence knowing they can afford what is openly on offer.
And because these items are not cut price specials and need to have a “back story” as well as an updated package, give it life through all the multi-media tools available through most computers.
Part of being professional is looking professional so in giving your proposed patients a look into your professional life, make sure it is an interesting, accurate and an informative view.
Shop windows are “windows to your soul” so you should always be thinking as well of the spaces behind the shop window, right through to the human encounters – it all needs to be well thought out and professionally presented.
In building your shop window display you are really building a physical version of a market plan and at very cheap rates because it is not television, radio or newspaper advertising.
Think about it carefully and see how you might very simply bring back a “blast from the past” that always was an effective form of advertising and story-telling – a good starting point for a professional future.