Here’s Why Pharmacies Are in the Back of the Store

There is more than one answer!

There’s always instant relief if you arrive at the pharmacy just in time to pick up a prescription. After successfully running through the aisles to get to the back of the store, it’s hard not to think about why the pharmacy section is so hidden in the first place. Here’s the real reason why pharmacies are in the back of the store.

Putting pharmacies in the back of the store forces you to walk more

Store owners want people walking around more, not for exercise, but sales. According to Robyn Bolton, the founder of MileZero, who has more than ten years of marketing and retail industry experience with companies like CVS and Walgreens, putting the pharmacy in the back of the store is an almost invisible way stores trick you into spending more money. That’s because prescriptions are “destination products,” explains Brian Cairns, a marketing consultant who also has experience working with pharmacies. These are the products that make you go to the store in the first place. If these items are in the back of the store, you need to walk through the aisles to check out and leave—upping the chances you’ll purchase something impulsively.

If you’re guilty of this bad shopping habit, you need to use these psychology tricks to spend less money while shopping because the same strategy is also the reason why candy and gum are near the register, according to Christine Michel Carter, a global marketing strategist. The more time spent in the store and the easier it is to see and find products, the greater the chance people will buy more.

There’s a more practical reason, too

At the same time, there’s a practical reason for keeping pharmacy counters stashed in the back. “Pharmacies need a fair bit of storage space for the medications and medical equipment they distribute, so it makes sense to put them in the back of the store because it’s close to the loading dock and furthest from the door,” Bolton says. And although pharmacy robberies are rare, they’re not unheard of, according to Pharmacy Times. Putting the pharmacy at the back of the store requires a bit more time and effort for would-be robbers. It also raises the risk of getting caught, Bolton explains.

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Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an associate editor at The Healthy and a former assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her work has appeared online at the Food Network and Well + Good and in print at Westchester Magazine, and more. When she's not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.