Inside This Issue - News
Rx loyalty cards become more prevalent
August 5th, 2013
NEW YORK – The proportion of pharmacy customers who say they have a loyalty card or discount card or have been offered one was up significantly in the 2013 edition of the Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse survey, conducted for Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Virtually half (49%) of customers have a card or have been offered one, the survey found, up from 38% in the 2012 survey and 36% the year before that. Only 22% of shoppers did not know if a loyalty or discount card was available, down from 29% in each of the prior two surveys.
The report is based on the results of an online poll of 34,424 adult pharmacy customers conducted in October and November of 2012. All survey participants had filled six or more prescriptions (including refills) within the 12 months preceding the survey.
Pharmacy Customer Use
of Loyalty Cards
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Chain drug retailers are the leader in this arena, with more than three-quarters (77%) of their customers saying they have a card or have been offered one. Supermarketers follow (58%), with mass merchandiser lagging at 26%.
CVS/pharmacy, Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp. have been loyalty program standard-bearers with, respectively, ExtraCare, Balance Rewards and wellness+.
Rite Aid has pioneered rewards for pharmacy loyalty with wellness+, whose members get points for every eligible prescription they fill at the chain. Member-only discounts are listed every week in Rite Aid’s weekly newspaper circulars, and there are special members-only temporary price reductions and offers on register receipts, via e-mail and online.
This summer the retailer introduced wellness65+ to meet the health and wellness needs of seniors. “Attracting new senior customers represents a key growth opportunity for Rite Aid because seniors tend to be our best pharmacy patients,” said president and chief operating officer Ken Martindale. “In addition, growing its senior patient base gives Rite Aid the opportunity to offer pharmacy services — such as immunizations and medication therapy management services — to a segment of the population that stands to benefit the most from the positive health outcomes these services provide.”
Customers age 65 and older who enroll in the program are automatically eligible for an expanded pharmacist consultation, during which seniors can bring in their current medications for a thorough review by a Rite Aid pharmacist, who can also discuss their immunization needs. Patients can take advantage of a blood pressure screening and have the opportunity to ask questions about Medicare Part D.
Members of wellness65+ enjoy the same rewards and benefits that have made wellness+ appealing. Benefits include exclusive sale pricing, and 24/7 access to a Rite Aid pharmacist online or by phone.
The chain also launched wellness65+ Wednesday, giving members 20% off all qualifying purchases on the first Wednesday of every month. In addition, each wellness65+ Wednesday features such wellness activities as free health screenings, health information and other special offers.
Also, in conjunction with the launch of wellness65+, all wellness+ members will now be able to earn one point for every dollar they spend on co-payments for prescriptions supported by government-funded programs (except in New York and New Jersey), up to a maximum of 25 points per prescription. This is a key benefit for the many seniors who fill prescriptions through Medicare Part D.
On July 8 Rite Aid kicked off a nine-month, nationwide mobile tour in support of wellness65+. The tour will visit more than 30 key Rite Aid markets and partner with local businesses to host special community wellness events for seniors and their families. These events, designed with seniors in mind, will include free health screenings, pharmacist consultations and local experts in the fields of fitness, finance, legal and technology.
Meanwhile, at CVS/pharmacy, with the chain’s shoppers increasingly using mobile devices to manage their ExtraCare savings and rewards, the chain this past spring offered up to 1 million free smartphones allowing easy access to its mobile app. Upon receipt of the phone, consumers received a text message prompt to download the CVS Mobile app.
The app extends the in-store shopping and pharmacy experience to customers wherever they are, at any time. The My Mobile Card feature allows customers to scan and save their ExtraCare card information within the app. The app also gives shoppers the ability to place photo print orders from their smartphone camera roll for same-day pickup, using the built-in GPS locator to find a nearby CVS/pharmacy. Additionally, customers can now access a new Pill Identifier tool to check for drug interactions and identify pills by shape, color and imprint. With the Scan Your Refill feature, users can scan their prescription bar codes to refill their prescriptions.
For its part, Walgreen Co. this summer announced that its app was available for download on mobile phone devices across the Windows Phone 8 platform. The app enables customers “to quickly refill prescriptions and easily use their Balance Rewards card directly from their Windows Phone device,” said Todd Brix, general manager of Windows phone apps for Microsoft Corp.
Abhi Dhar, Walgreens’ e-commerce chief technology officer, said, “As we continue to innovate, we’re always identifying relevant ways to engage with our customers — wherever, whenever and however they prefer. Providing our app to consumers on the Windows Phone 8 platform makes it easier for customers to shop with us, while extending our QuickPrints API creates greater value for developers interested in offering an enhanced experience for their user.”