I recently had a conversation that went like this:
“I’ve never really had good in-office retail sales of products I offer and recommend.”
“Really?” I said, “How do you display products in your clinic that your patients can purchase from you?”
The PT replied, “Ummm… display?”
It seems pretty self-explanatory, but I think a lot of providers fall into this same trap… after all, your practice is a practice, not a retail shop, and you’re a healthcare provider, not a retail pro. But at the same time, there is no better way to offer the products you have available for patients than with a nice display. This is called visual merchandising and there is some science and strategy behind making things look appealing to your patients.
Keep some stock on hand
If you offer products to sell to your patients, but you’re always tapped out of everything, that doesn’t look or seem very convincing. Keep the products you’re trying to sell in stock. You don’t necessarily need 100 rolls of every color of RockTape, but if it’s baseball season and your patients love the Royals, for example, it would be smart to have some on-hand for those patients who need it. Having to place orders all the time to re-up your stock gets costly in and of itself, so track what you sell the most and keep some in stock at all times.
Have a dedicated display area
You don’t have to go overboard with your display, but it’s a good idea to keep all your retail products together. You don’t want logo items for the office on one wall, supplements on another wall, tape hidden in the back where no one can see it, analgesics behind the front desk, etc. Dedicate a wall to retail items using some nice display shelving. Even a quick trip to IKEA can give you some really nice display space without breaking the bank, but the most flexible systems are wall-mounted slat walls that allow you to add, remove and space shelves, hanging space for apparel, and more.
Organize and group products
Within your display area, keep similar products grouped together. Pillows, tape, topicals, supplements, etc. should all be grouped together by their type rather than having things just piled on the display without any rhyme or reason.
Lines on lines
Your display area should be nice and linear. Straight rows across and then keep the same product in columns front to back. In other words, don’t just throw all your products into a cubby and call it good. Line up all the rows of colors and patterns you have across the front so patients can see what you have. Put duplicates behind the ones that face forward, or keep your extra stock in storage where you can get to it quickly. Also, while it sounds fussy, grouping things by color adds visual appeal, too. Keep your blacks, greens, blues, reds, etc. all grouped together and it looks awesome. Also keep your Big Daddy rolls grouped together with 2” rolls next door.
Full but not cluttered
You want your display to look “healthy” with products, but you don’t need to keep everything on your display as long as you can get to items in storage easily and quickly. Your display should look full, but not cluttered. Maybe you carry 20 colors and patterns of tape, at least have one box of each on display and then your stock well organized and easy to get to so you can sell efficiently. Having some breathing room and space on your display is as important as trying to maximize every square millimeter, so don’t be afraid to space things out a little and give a little visual separation between groups of items.
Uniformity is queen
If you sell apparel, use all the same hangers. If you have a wall-mounted system, use all the same shelves and accessories on the display. If you pieced something together yourself, make sure the finishes all match.
Use professional signage
Whenever possible, utilize program displays for products, but if you want to highlight a product or a sale or something, at least make a nice, clear printed sign and put it in a clear holder of some sort to bring attention to whatever it is you’re highlighting. No Comic Sans or other hated fonts necessary!
Measure once, cut twice
Before you’re ready to bite the bullet, visit some stores you like, especially small boutique-type shops that may be closer in size to your space, and see what you like and dislike about their displays. Take some mental measurements and make note of spacing, shelves, etc. to get a sense of how many items you can realistically display in your practice without making it look overstuffed or out of place. Then you can buy your display system or shelving with greater confidence and it’ll take a lot of the guesswork out of it. One last note, make sure you follow all recommendations about anchoring everything the right way and hire a pro if you need to. The last thing you want is a kid using your display as a rock-climbing wall when you turn your back and having a whole shelf fall over on them. Take safety seriously, mount things into studs and with the correct anchors. It’s worth it!