September 21, 2010, 6:13 PM

Rite Aid pharmacists communicate with customers via text messages

The drugstore chain’s new program lets customers know when prescriptions are ready, and more.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

Following in the footsteps of competitor Walgreen Co., drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp. now allows customers to subscribe online to receive text message alerts when their prescriptions are ready for pickup. The program is available to all customers regardless of wireless carrier or mobile phone because text messages travel over voice, not data, networks.

Not only does this service increase convenience for customers and maintain prescription compliance, it also lays the groundwork for future enhancements to text alert capabilities that Rite Aid can use to further enrich the customer experience, the company says.

Rite Aid customers who opt in to the pharmacy alerts system will receive text message notifications when their prescriptions are ready to be collected, as well as refill and will-call reminders and other status changes. The text message program is operated by m-commerce and mobile messaging technology provider Sybase 365, a subsidiary of Sybase Inc.

“This new service greatly enhances our ability to communicate with our patients while using the communication method they prefer,” says Robert Thompson, Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy. “In addition to convenience, these alerts also help our patients stay current with their prescriptions and improve patient compliance in taking medications as prescribed.”

As consumers demand more mobile services and competitive pressures increase, more retailers are launching m-commerce sites, mobile apps and text message programs. Walgreens, No. 68 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has reported success with its text messaging program—customers are appreciating the timeliness and ubiquity of text alerts, the retailer says. This could mean that Rite Aid customers will follow suit.

According to the Sybase 365 Global Consumer Acceptance and Usage Report released earlier this year, consumers are looking for more from their phones, with 70% reporting interest in additional mobile services.

“Rite Aid’s new mobile messaging service is a great example of how innovative enterprises are leveraging the mobile channel to provide customers with a richer experience, thereby increasing their loyalty to the brand,” says Marty Beard, president of Sybase 365. “Text alerts are a great entry point for enterprises from which they can evolve into more sophisticated mobile campaigns across the entire customer lifecycle—mobile solutions that create awareness, enable purchases, support the consumer post-purchase and drive customer retention.”

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