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March 1946: Are you a salesman or a chemist? And the Guild launches a national marketing plan

We take a look at some of the key stories in pharmacy from 75 years ago, in our March 1946 magazine. There was obvious concerns over the marketing and appearance of pharmacies.

Are you are a salesman or a chemist? 

“I presume that this question will annoy quite a few pharmacists who ‘pride themselves upon being “a cut
above a mere salesman,” and if it does it is indeed a matter for regret.

For from what, after all, does the chemist make his living? From dispensing, or from the sale of, not only
medicines, but of cosmetics, perfumes and the many lines which to-day constitute a large percentage of the average chemists’ stock?

The answer, as we all know, is that a very good percentage of most chemists’ turnover comes from the sale of merchandise other than medicaments, but what is more pertinent at the moment is the fact that, in most cases, this percentage could be considerably increased if only the chemist could be persuaded to give a little more attention to the fine points of salesmanship, points which are well worthy of study by all who realise that in knowledge lies the key to larger profits.

Salesmanship, of course, covers many angles of business—- not only the actual “over-the-counter” .sale, but window dressing, store display, advertising and attention to many details of trade, and a study of its fine points is more than likely to pay first-rate dividends.

First, let us take a look at the chemist’s window. Here is something worth a deal of money to the man who gives it sufficient attention. For past it, day in and day out, file your potential customers. Are they to pass it without a second glance, or are they to be attracted by and to it so that they will be given an incentive to make a purchase?

Window displays should be changed fairly frequently. In a small town it is often good policy to make a regular day for this change—perhaps every second Monday, or whatever day proves suitable—for by this method the public will get to know your routine and will perhaps get into the habit of watching for the change, of looking for new offerings, a habit which will be to your advantage.

With medicinal lines, seasonal conditions should, of course, be a guide to your display, but with gift lines, cosmetics and the like, it is far better to make a tasteful display of a few items than to overload a window with countless different goods. Every chemist will make a special display for Christmas, and not only should Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and St. Valentine’s Day be entitled to a special display, but it should also be remembered that all through the year someone or other is celebrating a birthday, so an occasional “Special Birthday Presents” display is worthy of consideration”.

“Most essential of all in salesmanship is the attitude of the man behind the counter. Is he a pleasant sort of person with whom customers find it a pleasure to do business, or is he one of those unfortunates who people prefer to avoid?

There are penalties in every kind of work; one of the penalties of being behind a counter is the fact that while the customer definitely does not want to hear anything of your troubles, he certainly will tell you his. And here it is that the “bedside manner,” transferred to the counter, will be worth a deal of money. Not only do women expect courteous and sympathetic “treatment when shopping, men, too, expect the courtesy, at least, and the wise merchant who hides his own particular feelings and makes a habit of being attentive and pleasant is the man who is going to build up a big business”.

Merchandising plan for Guild members

“The Federal Council of the Federated Pharmaceutical Service Guild of Australia has considered it  essential to immediately create a Federal merchandising organisation for the purpose of providing the opportunity to all individual Guild members throughout Australia to participate in a general service designed to help them in all possible ways with their merchandising problems.

A circular letter signed by the Federal President was, therefore, forwarded to all members, telling them of the project and advising them to give the merchandising plan their wholehearted support.

It was pointed out in this letter that trade prospects indicate increasing merchandising difficulties for pharmacists generally, coupled with further and more intensive competition from many sources, and that complete unity of all Guild members, backed by strong organisation, was the only effective means whereby the future could be faced with confidence.

The letter also advised that each member would receive a copy of a merchandising plan setting out the main objects of the new undertaking shortly before the Merchandising Executive visited each State to expound the scheme in greater detail”.

Look at our March 1946 issue: Vol027 1946 Mar 0167-0252

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