The proportion of pharmacy customers who say they have a loyalty or discount card or have been offered one has surged, according to the 2013 edition of Boehringer Ingelheim's Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse survey.


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Pharmacy loyalty cards become more prevalent

August 7th, 2013

NEW YORK – The proportion of pharmacy customers who say they have a loyalty or discount card or have been offered one has surged, according to the 2013 edition of Boehringer Ingelheim's Pharmacy Satisfaction Pulse survey.

Virtually half (49%) of retail pharmacy 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.

Pharmacy Customer Use
of Loyalty Cards

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

The Boehringer Ingelheim study 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.

Chain drug retailers are the leader in this arena, with more than three-quarters (77%) of their customers saying they have a loyalty card or have been offered one, followed by supermarkets (58% of pharmacy customers), mass merchandisers (26%) and independent drug stores (11%).

The survey results also indicate that drug chains with loyalty cards are doing a good job marketing them and building customer awareness.

Only 12% of chain drug pharmacy customers polled said they didn't know if a loyalty card was offered, compared with 23% for supermarkets, 34% for independent pharmacies and 40% for mass merchants.

In addition, just 3% of chain drug Rx customers reported that a loyalty card isn't offered, according to the survey. That compared with 17% of supermarket, 30% of mass merchant and 52% of independent pharmacy customers who said a loyalty card isn't offered.

CVS/pharmacy, Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp. have been loyalty card standard-bearers in the chain drug arena with their respective ExtraCare, Balance Rewards and wellness+ programs.

CVS has been a pioneer in the drug store customer loyalty card space, and its ExtraCare program — launched about 15 years ago — now has more than 70 million active cardholders. Rite Aid launched its wellness+ card in 2010, and the program currently has more than 25 million active members. Walgreens launched Balance Rewards last September, and the chain recently reported that registrations for the program totaled 79 million through July. 

Loyalty cardholders have proved to be among the most valuable pharmacy customers. For example, in a June investor presentation, Rite Aid said wellness+ members generated 70% of prescriptions and 77% of front-end sales in its fiscal 2014 first quarter.

For CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid, the loyalty programs also are an anchor of their digital strategies, with the three chains enabling members to manage their points via mobile applications as well as receive special offers through the apps and social media.

*Editor's Note: Russell Redman contributed to this article.

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