Schnucks adds EyeSite kiosks to pharmacies

November 3, 2009

Schnucks Markets plans to get customers into its pharmacy departments with the addition of EyeSite vision-screening kiosks. Thirty kiosks were recently added to its grocery stores in the St. Louis area.

Grocery retailer Schnucks Markets, which plans to get customers into its pharmacy departments with the addition of EyeSite vision-screening kiosks, recently added 30 kiosks to its stores in the St. Louis area.

The St. Louis-based operator of 106 stores in the midwest and southern United States installed the SoloHealth interactive kiosks - which help customers determine their near and distance vision and refer them to local optometrists - near its pharmacies.

"More and more of our customers are taking a more active role in their own healthcare and are looking for more information they can use to help their families stay healthy," Mike Juergensmeyer, group vice president of fuel and pharmacy for Schnucks Markets, told Drug Topics.

The kiosk includes an eye chart and vision health information, along with lists of local eye doctors (some pay for preferred listings) and messages from sponsoring partners such as Ciba Vision contact lenses. In addition, the kiosk also presents an opportunity for Schnucks' customers to talk to the pharmacists more often and to purchase eye-care products in nearby OTC departments. "While our pharmacists do not refer patients to an optometrist, they are letting patients know of that feature on the kiosk," Juergensmeyer said.

Often, patients ask their pharmacists about glaucoma and other eye diseases, said Bart Foster, CEO of SoloHealth, Atlanta. "Instead of our saying 'I am not sure' or referring them out somewhere else, customers can get health information on the kiosk," Foster said.

Schnucks is also working with SoloHealth to create more cross-merchandising and marketing opportunities with the kiosks and its OTC eye-care products, including reading glasses and eye drops. "We are a one-stop shopping experience and do carry these products in our HBC departments, which are conveniently located near our pharmacies," Juergensmeyer said.

The kiosks encourage shoppers to look at eye-care products in the supermarkets in which they shop, according to Foster. "In our Atlanta markets, people see the eye chart on the side of the kiosk and it reminds them they need to buy more contact solution, eye drops, or whatever. There is also a digital sign on the top and the [customer's] printout," Foster said.

SoloHealth plans to expand the kiosks to include five U.S. cities by the end of the year. While the company is working mainly with supermarkets, it is pilot-testing the kiosks in two different mass-merchandiser outlets and "looking at alternative locations," Foster said.

Meanwhile, Schnucks already has blood-pressure screening kiosks in all of its pharmacies, so executives know kiosks can be successful. "Our customer response to these [blood pressure kiosks] is very good. We are looking at current technology that will enhance these kiosks as well," Juergensmeyer said.