Retail Pharmacy's Move Into Health Care Paying Off

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Retail Pharmacy's Move Into Health Care Paying Off

By Bridget Goldschmidt - 08/05/2020
Retail Pharmacy's Move Into Health Care Paying Off
J.D. Power's 2020 overall customer satisfaction index ranking for brick-and-mortar chain drug stores

Beyond the rankings of J.D. Power's annual "U.S. Pharmacy Study," the provider of consumer insights, advisory services, and data and analytics found that major pharmacy chains’ expansion into primary care was leading to considerable increases in both customer satisfaction and spending.

“When you look at the major pharmacy business trends of the past couple of years — CVS acquiring Aetna, Walgreens partnering with Humana, and Walmart moving into health insurance — it’s clear that pharmacy operators are positioning themselves to become hubs of consumer health care, edging into the space once reserved for primary care physicians’ offices,” noted James Beem, managing director of health care intelligence at Troy, Michigan-based J.D. Power. “What has not been clear until now is exactly how consumers would react to the shift. Simply put, they’re embracing it, and it’s driving higher overall satisfaction and increased spending as they use more health-and-wellness-oriented services.”

Key findings of the study include:

  • Use of health-and-wellness services rises, spurring higher satisfaction: Almost half (48%) of retail pharmacy customers have used at least one health and wellness-oriented service provided by their pharmacy this year, up five percentage points from 2019. Further, overall customer satisfaction with the retail pharmacy is 26 points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) among customers who use health-and-wellness services versus customers who haven’t.
  • Deeper penetration into primary care results in higher satisfaction and spending: Customers who use at least one health-and-wellness-oriented service provided by their pharmacy spend an average of $11 more per customer than customers who don’t use these services ($35 versus $24, respectively). When customers use two or more health-and-wellness-oriented services, that average spend rises to $58. Among customers who use two or more health-and-wellness-oriented services, overall satisfaction soars to 907, versus 861 for those who don’t use any service.
  • Digital ordering spurs high levels of satisfaction, but use remains low: Only 9% of brick-and-mortar pharmacy customers order their prescriptions via digital channels. Despite the stubbornly low utilization rate, overall satisfaction among those customers who do order digitally through a brick-and-mortar pharmacy is 859, which is 5 points higher than among those who only visit the store in person. By contrast, mail-order pharmacy customers are far more frequent users of digital ordering, with 32% ordering prescriptions via digital channels. These mail-order digital customers have even higher levels of satisfaction, with an overall satisfaction score of 867.
  • Key influencers are crucial to health-and-wellness services use: Doctors’ recommendations for pharmacy-delivered health-and-wellness services are associated with an 80% use rate, and recommendations from friends and family are associated with a 75% use rate. However, only 8% of customers said that they’ve received a recommendation from their doctor and 9% have received a recommendation from friends and family. The most common means of hearing about such services is in-store advertising, which drives a 45% use rate.

As for the study's rankings, they offered few surprises. Wegmans Food Markets ranked highest among brick-and-mortar supermarket pharmacies for a third straight year, with a score of 904. Publix Super Markets (889) was second and Southeastern Grocers banner Winn-Dixie came in third (883).

Among brick-and-mortar mass merchandiser pharmacies, the Sam’s Club came in first for the fifth year in a row, earning a score of 885. Costco and CVS/pharmacy inside Target (870 each) tied for second place.

Good Neighbor Pharmacy was first among brick-and-mortar chain drug store pharmacies for a fourth consecutive year, with a score of 915, while Health Mart (905) ranked second and Rite Aid Pharmacy came in third (861).

In the mail-order segment, Humana Pharmacy ranked highest for a third consecutive year, garnering a score of 904. OptumRx (886) and Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy (883) placed second and third, respectively.

The study, now in its 12th year, measures customer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies. This year’s rankings were based on responses from 13,378 pharmacy customers who filled a prescription during the three months before the survey period of September 2019-May 2020.

In related news, Publix recently received the Specialty Pharmacy Patient Choice Award, from Livingston, New Jersey-based Zitter Insights, a division of Managed Markets Insights & Technology (MMIT). The award was the Retail Pharmacy category, and marked the first time that the grocer has earned this particular honor.

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