PHILADELPHIA — Justin Mennen, executive vice president and chief digital and technology officer at Rite Aid, is responsible for all aspects of the company’s technology and information operations, including enterprise systems and applications, network, core infrastructure and information security as well as the continued development and execution of the company’s immediate and long-term information technology strategy. Mennen is also responsible for all digital solutions and the e-commerce business.
“Technology is key to our growth strategy,” says Mennen. “We are expanding beyond the traditional drug store experience to meet the growing needs of our customers in what we see as a much more modernized world. As part of that, we’ve rolled out nationally buy online pick up in store, online ordering same day delivery, our service called pay and go. All of these front-end and pharmacy services help provide our customers with more convenience and a better experience that meets their needs,” he explains.
“And from the PBM side of the business technology is also playing a crucial role, providing our members with solutions that not only streamline the process but also provide lower-cost options for their medications.
He adds that from an industry perspective, Rite Aid’s partners are critical to its success. “We look to bring in partners that have deep expertise that can not only provide best in class solutions, but also give us the ability to scale quickly and serve our customers’ needs.”
Mennen notes a few recent examples of partnerships, including Instacart, Uber Eats, Shipt, Door Dash and Postmates, that provide same-day delivery of nonprescription items.
“Rite Aid has continued to form partnerships and invest in technology to offer customers new omnichannel shopping options. For example, the partnership with Instacart made delivery of nonprescription items available across the chain’s entire retail footprint, which has become even more important amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Rite Aid also offers prescription delivery at most locations, and will soon announce a new direct-to-consumer expanded pharmacy offering.”
He adds that for prescription deliveries Rite Aid has partnered with ScriptDrop, providing customers same-day delivery of their prescriptions. ScriptDrop’s delivery solution also provides efficiencies for pharmacy staff by offering a streamlined solution integrated with Rite Aid’s pharmacy system, giving pharmacists and pharmacy associates more time for customer consultations.
“We have a robust and diverse ecosystem of partners across every aspect of technology software solutions.”
With regard to digital technology, Rite Aid’s strategic partnership with Adobe helps deliver seamless, personalized and connected health and wellness experiences for Rite Aid customers.
In addition, Mennen says supply chain partners such as Manhattan are providing the technology backbone for customers to buy online and pick up in store, and are working to modernize the supply chain with warehouse management solutions. “We have a combination of very skilled internal associates that know the pharmacy and PBM business extremely well, and our partners that bring their deep expertise in specific areas. Providers such as HCL and Infosys help Rite Aid scale and deliver modern technology solutions that power the company.”
Mennen points out that digital technology is key to helping drive traffic to the stores, especially during the pandemic for vaccines and testing. “Our aim is that we provide a holistic experience end-to-end for our customers, whether they like to engage online at home, they’re in our stores or they’re on the go with their mobile device. These are all areas that we continue to invest to provide a fresh new in-store and online experience, all of which help bring consistency to the total experience and to the brand.”
Mennen says that the company has improved its online and mobile experiences so customers can seamlessly connect with Rite Aid services and find the products they need in the pharmacy or in the front end.
He explains that Rite Aid’s digital solutions have been critical during the pandemic, especially for scheduling vaccines in store. “We want to ensure that when someone schedules a COVID vaccination or test that they not only have a great online experience scheduling the appointment, but also that when they come into the store we seamlessly integrate as much as possible, eliminate any of the manual work or retyping of their information or refilling out forms. That’s a big focus for us. It’s an area where I think we made significant progress helping drive a more seamless and holistic experience for our customers.”
He says these foundational technology solutions enable the broader strategy that centers on the pharmacist engaging as the everyday health connector, to not only ensure Rite Aid customers receive their traditional medications, but also provide alternative remedies. “Technology enables Rite Aid to deliver these medications to our customers in ways that best suits them. Technology can also continue to help provide us with the critical data that’s necessary to understand our customers better and how we can improve our interactions with them.”
Mennen points out that delivery has helped reach those who didn’t have transportation to visit stores. “I think technology will play an important role in helping us achieve health equity. We are evolving all aspects of the technology solutions that serve our customers. You are going to see some exciting things over the course of the year in our customer-facing technology whether it’s on a mobile device, online or the technology in the store. We are also making sure that we have the supporting systems in areas such as the supply chain to optimize getting products to our customers in the best way possible.”