MODESTO, Calif. — Countering competition from other retailers offering discount generics, Save Mart Supermarkets here is offering a 19-minute guarantee on prescription fills in its Save Mart and Lucky stores with pharmacies.
Noting the long lines and waiting times at retailers offering the $4 generic prescriptions and related offers, Save Mart decided not to offer such a program, and instead promote its service, said Michele Snider, senior director of pharmacy. Save Mart is backing the guarantee with a “dinner and a movie” offer if a prescription is not filled in time. Such customers will receive a $10 Save Mart gift card, intended for a food purchase but which can be used on anything in the store except prescriptions, and a free movie coupon for the redbox DVD rental machine.
The program was piloted in one of the chain's busiest stores several months ago, when the Save Mart moved into a new replacement store across the street, and a CVS/pharmacy took its former space, Snider said. It was so successful that it was rolled out to all 116 of the 250-store chain's pharmacies this month.
“What we are trying to do is show the patients and customers in our stores that we are faster than some of our competition,” she said. “In the same time that it takes them to shop for dinner or pick up a few groceries, we can have their prescriptions ready and waiting for them when they are through shopping.”
The program calls attention to pharmacy and the entire store at the same time, she added. “This is a good way to promote cross-shopping between the departments.”
The cost of the program comes from the store's promotional budget, not just the pharmacy's, and the redbox coupons are supported on a co-op basis, she said. Promotional vehicles include the in-store circular, buttons for pharmacy employees, and banners and posters throughout the stores. “It's a full campaign,” Snider said.
Technology upgrades that increased the speed Save Mart pharmacies can fill prescriptions are a big part of the reason why the retailer has been able make this particular offer, Snider said. All Save Mart pharmacies, including stores purchased from Albertsons, were recently integrated on a common software platform, and some of the busier stores have robotics from ScriptPro, Mission, Kan., and the AutoMed system from Amerisource Bergen Co., Buffalo Grove, Ill. The companies have a PDX software system from PDX-NHIN, Fort Worth, Texas.
“We have tweaked everything that we can to get it processing as quickly as possible,” Snider said. “Without the automation in the higher-volume stores, I do not think we would have been able to do the promotion.”