Pharmacy loyalty programs spur sales

August 10, 2009

A new study finds that drugstores using loyalty rewards programs will see sales continue to increase despite the poor economy.

Key Points

Sales at drug stores will continue to increase in the future, in part because of their increasingly effective use of loyalty rewards programs, according to a new study.

In addition, 32 percent of loyalty program members said rewards programs are more important to them at this time, during the recession. "They have allowed them to stretch their limited budgets further," Hlavinka said.

Another 42 percent said they have the same perception and use of rewards programs during a recession. In other words, those customers are using rewards just as often as before the recession and are not likely to use them less, according to Hlavinka.

Most major drug chains are realizing the value of rewards programs to expanding sales of both pharmacy orders and in-store products.

Walgreens' Prescription Savings Club, for example, surpassed one million members by the fall of 2008, and executives plan to continue building the program. "In this economy, people aren't just looking for low-cost alternatives; they're searching for the best overall value. We're offering patients a way to stretch their dollars without sacrificing safety, service, or convenience," said Kermit Crawford, senior vice president of pharmacy services for Walgreens.

The Prescription Savings Club, which carries a fee of $20 per year for individuals, offers customers discounts on approximately 4,000 brand-name and generic prescriptions, and a choice of 400 generics priced at $12 each for a 90-day supply. Walgreens encourages its pharmacy customers to visit other areas of its stores: the Prescription Savings Club program offers 10 percent discount on purchases of Walgreens' branded products and its photofinishing services.

In addition, Walgreens executives said in a recent company conference call, they "intend to really grow their loyalty programs and enhance their customer service," according to Hlavinka.