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Rite Aid Kicks Off Fiscal 2014 by Unveiling ‘Road To Wellness’ Strategy

After a solid fiscal year in which Rite Aid make significant progress in its financial and operational performance, the company’s senior leadership team and field leaders kicked off fiscal 2014 with a three-day meeting to discuss plans for building on Rite Aid’s recent success.

Held in Baltimore, Md., the Annual Sales Meeting was a platform for company leaders to explain that Rite Aid is on the “Road To Wellness” as it strives to become the customer’s number one choice for health and wellness.

Rite Aid Chairman, President and CEO John Standley introduces new company strategy at the Annual Saless Meeting.

Rite Aid Chairman, President and CEO John Standley introduces new company strategy at the Annual Sales Meeting.

Chairman, President and CEO John Standley said Rite Aid’s Road To Wellness “includes many of the key programs and initiatives we’ve worked so hard to develop over the past few years,” including wellness+, pharmacy services such as immunizations and the company’s Wellness store initiative.

Rite Aid Chairman, President and CEO John Standley introduces new company strategy at the Annual Sales Meeting.

At the same time, Standley said the company’s “Road To Wellness” also involves “some new initiatives that will pave the way to wellness for both Rite Aid and our valued customers.”

Standley explained how the company is currently developing new initiatives to adapt to the rapidly changing healthcare landscape. “To succeed, we don’t have to be the biggest company and we don’t have to be the company with the most resources,” Standley said. “But what we must do is adapt quickly to this rapidly changing environment in a way that provides the personal care our customers need.”

The wellness+ Customer Loyalty Program
With approximately 25 million active members and the strongest rewards structure in the industry, wellness+ will continue to be a key part of Rite Aid’s strategy heading forward. Senior Vice President of Marketing John Learish explained how data obtained from purchases made with a wellness+ card is allowing Rite Aid to develop offerings that meet customers’ specific need. “That’s how we’ll be able to give them the kind of personalized service and value that none of our competitors can,” Learish said.
Learish also explained how Rite Aid will continue to strengthen and expand the program so that it can deliver even more value to Rite Aid’s most valuable customers.

Wellness Stores
With nearly 700 Wellness stores and counting, Rite Aid is continuing its Wellness remodel initiative as a way to provide a unique and engaging customer experience that emphasizes personal customer relationships and health and wellness.

The company unveiled its new Genuine Well-being format in October, and plans to incorporate elements of this stunning new design into additional remodels scheduled for this year. Executive Vice President of Merchandising Tony Montini emphasized that the Wellness store format will continue to evolve in an effort to find new ways to resonate with customers. “As I’ve said many times, the first store will not look like the last,” he said. “Whether you’re talking about in-store technology, customer touch points, in-store navigation, or interactive tools, every decision was based on creating a cohesive environment that empowers the customer to take more control of his or her own health and wellness.”

Rite Aid has now trained nearly 1,100 Wellness Ambassadors who work the sales floor at Rite Aid’s Wellness stores to provide a personal level of customer service that the competition does not match. “The Wellness Ambassador is a key component of our overall branding strategy,” said Executive Vice President of Store Operations Bob Thompson. “In fact, the ambassador is one of most visible, tangible parts of our strategy.”

The Digital Space
The emergence of the internet and social media has shifted the way customers and retailers interact, which is why Rite Aid is focused on creating an online experience that matches the experience provided in Rite Aid stores. As a result, Rite Aid recently released an enhanced version of its smart phone app and unveiled a completely redesigned RiteAid.com (see RiteAid.com article in this issue). “We have the digital tools that let us connect with our customers, and let them connect with us, whenever and however they want to,” said Learish.

The Road Ahead
01_02_RoadToWellnessAs Rite Aid begins its new fiscal year, Chief Operating Officer Ken Martindale has introduced a new vision for the company that is focused on “improving the health and wellness of our communities through engaging experiences that provide our customers with the best products, services and advice to meet their unique needs” (see related story). He is confident that this focus on making it personal will help Rite Aid to become “exactly what we want it to be—the customer’s number one choice for health and wellness.”