Tuesday 04 April 2017, 4:27PM
The approach to getting your pharmacy layout right is like a
first date, according to one expert - make the customer feel
comfortable, use good lighting and avoid common traps.
Mark Greenland, from retail design company InDesign, says
putting customers at ease and steering clear of common layout
mistakes are a path to capturing maximum sales and increasing
Mr Greenland has designed over 450 pharmacies in New Zealand,
and it is a retail space he is passionate about.
"It can be as simple as creating an environment that is
comfortable and relaxing to make customers feel they can browse,"
says Mr Greenland.
One pharmacy he helped design was Crisp's Pharmacy in
Christchurch, where patients can sit while they wait for their
prescription at a dining-style "green table".
Here, they can chat to each other, watch educational information
on the TV screen, or just take a load off and enjoy a cup of tea as
they wait for their medicine.
"It's a wonderful area of patient interaction, between
themselves, and between us and them if we need to talk them through
their medications," says owner Karen Crisp, who has even hosted the
occasional high tea at the green table.
Mr Greenland says pharmacies are often the heart of the
community, and creating a comfortable environment such as Mrs
Crisp's is great for putting customers at ease. Though he does warn
against too large a waiting area if it congests the back of the
Mrs Crisp is not the only one to have utilised her retail space
with a bit of flair. Pharmacist Aki Tominari has in his pharmacy a
full wall made of Scandinavian moss, which he installed to create a
different atmosphere from other pharmacies.
"The minute customers come in they are breathing better air and
they already feel better," he says of the wall, which filters the
air and acts as a moisture absorber, and has some customers
returning just to see it.
Layout is more than just making your customers feel welcome,
however; using some basic design principals can make a big
difference to the retail potential of your pharmacy, according to
Pharmacies are almost unique in the retail world as they capture
a customer while they wait for their prescription. It is important
to avoid a stagnant shop floor that leaves customers staring at the
hairbrushes as they wait.
Mr Greenland says pharmacies have a habit of overcrowding the
dispensary counter and having fixtures that point towards it, and
says pharmacists should declutter so as not to confuse
"Good flow is key," he says, explaining that placing core
products on the adjacent walls will draw customers away from the
front counter and encourage them to browse the main
He says this "flow" also applies to the dispensary.
"One-directional flow will make the dispensary more efficient,"
he says, "and this frees up the pharmacist for more time on the
shop floor, and they really are the best salesperson."
Antidote pharmacies in Dunedin have the dispensary counter in
the middle of their stores, giving the customers more access to the
pharmacist, and there are iPads dotted around for customers to read
up on products and promotions.
Their approach is minimalistic, and co-owner Lorealle Lam says
their design aims to "turn it into a happy place, that doesn't feel
like a pharmacy."
Mr Greenland says strong merchandising makes a big difference.
"It's important to keep track of what sells and what doesn't for
your customer base, and to use your wall space to merchandise what
does sell," he says.
In terms of colour schemes, neutral tones have the best staying
power. As tempting as the fuchsia may be, Mr Greenland says leave
the bright colours for accenting features, using them to tie into
your shop's branding.
"Green for us is healthy, positive imagery," says Mrs Crisp of
her table, which she says embodies their holistic
Mr Greenland sheds some light on LEDs. "So many pharmacies don't
use enough lighting," he says, and advises avoiding fancy fixtures
and sticking with enough regular LED fixtures to keep your pharmacy