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J.D. Power study: Innovations at retail pharmacies accelerate

More customers are planning to switch to digital retailers and health- and wellness-oriented pharmacy organizations, the study found.

Now that more than 258.1 million total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and an estimated 40 million flu vaccinations seasonally dispensed at retail pharmacies, U.S. consumers have grown accustomed to—and very comfortable with—the idea of receiving health services at their local pharmacies, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Pharmacy Study released today.

The evolution toward health and wellness services—in addition to medication management—may be the key to the future of the retail pharmacy industry as it contends with growing threats from online retailers, J.D. Power said.

"Customers are beginning to embrace their retail pharmacy as a hub for a broad range of routine health and wellness services,” said Christopher Lis, managing director, global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power. “This transformation is happening simultaneously with rising competition from online retailers such as Amazon, which is raising the stakes for local retail pharmacies. This is an opportunity for more retail pharmacies to innovate as a one-stop shop for routine care and to leverage data and technology to create an increasingly personalized customer experience.”

[Read more: These chains topped J.D. Power's 2021 rankings as 51% of shoppers used pharmacy health services]

Here are some of the key findings of the 2022 study:

  • Customers are interested in routine healthcare services at their pharmacies: Among pharmacy customers who are interested in receiving routine healthcare services, 33% are interested in vision and hearing services and 27% are interested in physical exams and routine lab tests at their local retail pharmacies. However, most customers recognize their pharmacies are not currently offering these services.
  • Health and wellness service utilization associated with higher loyalty and brand advocacy: On average, 52% of customers who rely on their pharmacies for health and wellness services say they will not switch pharmacies. This compares with just 45% among those who have not used their pharmacy’s health and wellness services. Likewise, Net Promoter Scores are 14 points higher when customers use health and wellness services.
  • Watch out for Amazon: Nearly two-thirds (66%) of brick-and-mortar pharmacy customers currently have an Amazon Prime account and nearly half (48%) of pharmacy customers are aware of pharmacy services offered by Amazon. To date, 14% of those who are aware of Amazon’s Pharmacy Services have used Pill Pack filled through Amazon Pharmacy. Of that group, 38% say they “definitely will” switch pharmacies in the next 12 months.
  • Mobile apps could become prescription management battleground: Among brick-and-mortar customers who use their pharmacy’s mobile app, 59% use the app to manage prescription refills and 57% use the app to view prescriptions. Overall satisfaction among those who have used their pharmacy’s mobile app six or more times in the past 12 months is 715 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is 32 points higher than among those who used the app up to five times. Frequent app users also are less likely to say they will switch pharmacy providers.

[Read more: NACDS, 93 groups urge continued access to pandemic-related services at pharmacies]

J.D. Power also released its Study Rankings:

  • For the sixth consecutive year, Good Neighbor Pharmacy ranks highest among brick-and-mortar chain drug store pharmacies, with a score of 740. Health Mart (723) ranks second and Walgreens ranks third (660).
  • Sam’s Club ranks highest among brick-and-mortar mass merchandiser pharmacies for a seventh consecutive year, with a score of 759. Costco (749) ranks second and CVS Pharmacy inside Target (713) ranks third.
  • H-E-B ranks highest among brick-and-mortar supermarket pharmacies for a second consecutive year, with a score of 785. Wegmans (754) ranks second and Publix (747) ranks third.
  • Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy ranks highest in the mail order segment, with a score of 734. CenterWell (formerly Humana Pharmacy) (699) ranks second and OptumRx (694) ranks third.

See the rank charts for each segment here.

The U.S. Pharmacy Study, now in its 14th year, was redesigned for 2022. It measures customer satisfaction with brick-and-mortar and mail order pharmacies. The 2022 study is based on responses from 12,142 pharmacy customers who filled a prescription within the past 12 months and was fielded from September 2021 through May 2022.

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