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Success Through Wellness, Value and Innovation

Conference LogoRite Aid Leaders Welcome Supplier Collaboration, Say They’re Prepared To Take Data-Driven Calculated Risks

Rite Aid will not be afraid to take chances and take them quickly as long as business data points to promising opportunities, company leaders told supplier partners at the company’s 2010 Supplier Conference in Harrisburg, Pa.

“We’re not going to hide behind why we can’t do something. Instead, we’re going to find how we can do it,” said President and CEO John Standley.“That’s where you, our valuable business partners, come in to play. Challenge us, show us ways to drive our business and give us the data points we need to make rapid and informed decisions.”

Speeches from top company leaders shed light on Rite Aid’s strategies to drive success through business innovations and delivering wellness and value to customers.

Rite Aid will strengthen its wellness empowerment brand positioning by expanding the role of the neighborhood pharmacist, which consumers see as an underutilized resource in today’s healthcare environment, said Chief Operating Officer Ken Martindale.

Through immunizations, medication compliance initiatives, and medication therapy management opportunities, the company will shift from a traditional model in which it’s paid to fill prescriptions, to one where it’s also reimbursed for clinical services that pharmacists provide, Martindale said.

The company is also developing a wellness store concept that utilizes interactive technology, wellness specialists and new front-end categories to provide “a truly differentiated drugstore experience,” Martindale said.

Value will also play an important role as the economic slowdown has driven consumers to adopt a more “pragmatic, hard-choice mindset that’s here to stay,” Martindale said.

Senior Vice President of Marketing John Learish reported that wellness+, Rite Aid’s customer loyalty card program, has achieved many impressive milestones since launching chainwide in April.

“We’ve already exceeded 24 million members,” Learish told suppliers, “and the rapid acceleration of +Ups has created considerable buzz among customers. You should take pride in knowing that the offers you’ve provided – the offers our customers see in the circular and in-store – have been a strong catalyst driving enrollment.”

The front-end market basket size for plus-level members is 43 percent greater than non-members, Learish said, and that number increases significantly to 86 percent and 79 percent as members reach the silver+ and gold+ levels.

Senior Vice President Tony Montini highlighted how wellness+ – ­“our single biggest initiative ever” – is providing timely and valuable customer data that can help Rite Aid and its supplier partners collaborate quickly to implement dynamic business strategies.

“Speed wins,” Montini said. “We need to be the first to innovate, implement, and lead with new programs, services and products. We are ready to act and emerge as a new, stronger, more agile Rite Aid.”