Bartell Drugs sees tangible results with Prime Now service

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Bartell Drugs sees tangible results with Prime Now service

By Brian Berk - 03/24/2017
SEATTLE — There’s always a first for everything.

In Bartell Drugs’ case, it was the first drug store operator to offer Amazon Prime Now in November, which provides one- and two-hour delivery of thousands of products seven days a week. Amazon Prime Now has since more than doubled its delivery service reach for Bartell Drugs delivery in January, with Prime Now available in many neighborhoods in Washington State, spanning from Everett to Normandy Park to Issaquah.

Bartell Drugs told Drug Store News it definitely made the right decision including Prime Now as one of its many offerings.

“We have been very pleased with the reception of the service and our customers have as well. This allowed us to enter the online market with a certain level of surety and without a ‘break-the-bank’ investment of time and resources,” said Brent Beebe, SVP of merchandising.

Since it launched the program during the 2016-2017 flu season, categories that are supported by these ailments — cough-cold medications, pain relievers, etc. — are well represented in terms of sales as Bartell Drugs expected. But other complementary products have also been robust sellers, said Beebe. “[O]ther categories, including items such as fruit other juices and ready-to-eat foods, were a complement to the cold and flu category and saw good sales during this period as well,” he said.

Most of all, Bartell Drugs is expanding its reach beyond those who do not often visit brick-and-mortar stores. “We think this has definitely increased the convenience factor for our existing customer base and may also be introducing our brand to individuals who may be more inclined to shop online that in person,” Beebe relayed.

Of course, being the first drug store retailer to take on any new offering can be both risky and rewarding. Beebe told DSN that Bartell Drugs has long been an innovator in the drug store field throughout its 127-year history though.

“As we have evolved, we’ve continually sought to better serve our customers by championing new products, and new ways of doing business,” he said. “Online sales were already something we were examining and when the opportunity arose to pair with Prime Now, we enthusiastically embraced the idea. As another locally based company, and one that is by far the leader in online retailing, it presented a terrific entrance into the online world. This platform enables us to continue our focus on market share by broadening our service opportunities. Working with Prime increased the convenience and ease that our customers expect from us, and gave us new opportunities to better serve the community.”