POS counters are often an afterthought and a missed opportunity. Whilst their primary purpose is to facilitate customer purchases, a POS will also support the pharmacy team and provide a final opportunity to engage the customer as it forms part of their final impression of your pharmacy.
Following the 3 P’s can help guide your thinking about how to design the best POS area for your pharmacy.
“Do I build a POS counter at the rear of the pharmacy or at the entrance?” The answer is not in the middle!
When deciding where to place your POS be sure to factor in your staff numbers and composition i.e. there is no point in placing more POS locations around the pharmacy than you have staff to operate them. If your pharmacy roster includes one pharmacist, one tech and one pharmacy assistant, a single POS located at the service counter would be the most efficient and cost-effective place.
Don’t fall into the trap of incorporating a rear POS and a front POS counter. What we often see in this scenario is that staff will gravitate to the rear of the pharmacy and the front POS becomes a storage and unpacking location, your staff costs can increase if you are staffing both locations and your customers are confused, they never quite know where to pay for the purchase.
In the 1980’s when pharmacy designers were trying to respond to the front or rear POS conundrum, they put it in the middle. This ended up having a significant impact on revenue and Return on Space measures because traffic flows were disrupted, gondola layouts and stock adjacencies compromised, and the POS occupied a disproportionate amount of floor space compared to its revenue contribution.
A well laid out POS counter at the entrance offers the following advantages:
An opportunity to meet and greet your customers
Supports better traffic flow, particularly better access to the scripts in position
A deterrent to reduce shoplifting
A place that customers can easily locate staff when needing assistance
Understanding what you do, how you do it and who works at the POS counter is a significant input into the pharmacy design process. It is helpful to audit the type of work and take photographs of your existing set up, take note of what works and what doesn’t.
Remember that customised joinery can add more value than the cost and a creative solution will take into account:
An enhanced customer experience
Store traffic flow
The needs of staff working in the POS area so that they feel supported in their day-to-day tasks
The work which takes place so that the right spaces, storage, and drawers help to keep the area organised
Everyone appreciates a thoughtfully presented POS counter which is functional and uncluttered. Unfortunately, it is easier to find bad examples rather great ones. A poorly presented POS is difficult to approach and when you get there the counter has so much on it that the purchases can’t fit, hardly the lasting impression you are wanting to create.
Good design supports the presentation because it is driven by the understanding of purpose. You will also need to consider this from a customer’s perspective e.g. most pharmacy customers are women, women carry handbags and they need to place the handbag on the counter to get their purse out – it therefore makes sense to accommodate this into the design.
Be mindful of the clutter of the latest merchandise offer which can visually ‘over-occupy valuable POS. Be careful not to create ‘Sales Rep Ally’ with too many products/ stands/ boxes of stock which don’t support the overall positioning of your pharmacy and overwhelm the customer.
The presentation needs to be:
Clean and tidy
A final and positive experience for the customer
Have a few impulse or add on items for sale which compliment your health message or pharmacy offer
Approachable and uncongested especially for the people with restricted movement
The interrelationship between position, purpose and presentation is critical and a great design will deliver benefits to your customers, staff and your business.