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Giant Eagle launches stand-alone pharmacy app

Unlike other supermarkets that have incorporated pharmacy into their primary retail mobile applications, the Giant Eagle pharmacy app functions independently to allow users to keep track of all their medication needs in one place. It includes the ability to refill prescriptions, receive reminders when prescriptions are ready for pick-up, and set reminders to take medications.

“The new pharmacy mobile application [allows] customers to simply and seamlessly refill prescriptions on the go, set refill and medication reminders, and receive alerts when prescriptions are available for pick up,” said Dan Donovan, a spokesman for Giant Eagle.

The launch of the Giant Eagle app comes as the Pittsburgh-based chain re-launches its two other mobile apps — one for its traditional Giant Eagle supermarkets and the other for its GetGo convenience stores — with an updated and user-friendly display, easier account creation and management, and access to other Giant Eagle mobile apps. Giant Eagle operates about 230 traditional supermarkets and nearly 200 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Refills and reminders
The pharmacy app includes a “My Prescriptions” feature with prescription history, refills and reminders. Clicking on a medication within a list allows users to see the last date a prescription was filled, the number of refills left on the prescription, the expiration date and the prescribing physician’s name.

In addition, Giant Eagle has a service that allows users who don’t have smartphones to receive SMS text-message alerts. That is a feature that is also offered by several other retail pharmacy chains.

Deerfield, IL-based Walgreens offers a widely praised app that includes pharmacy services as a predominant feature, and it has a separate app exclusively geared toward prescription reminders. CVS, based in Woonsocket, R.I., also features pharmacy as the predominant functionality in its app.

CVS also recently launched an app specifically for the iPad that includes additional functionality.

Other large supermarket chains — including Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. and Lakeland, FL-based Publix Super Markets — have incorporated pharmacy functions into their primary apps. Bentonville, AR-based Walmart also recently expanded the pharmacy functionality of its mobile app (see story).

Meijer, a Grand Rapids, MI-based supercenter operator, is one of the few retailers other than Giant Eagle that have created a separate app for pharmacy. Spartan Stores, another Grand Rapids-based retailer and wholesaler, was planning to launch a pharmacy app this summer (see story). It currently includes some pharmacy functionality in its primary Yes Rewards app.

While the Giant Eagle pharmacy app allows users to search for deals, it does not incorporate total-store e-commerce into the app the way that Walgreens and CVS do. Based on its YouTube video introducing the app, it appears Giant Eagle is targeting older consumers may be more likely to be managing multiple medications, as opposed to younger consumers who are more likely to engage in e-commerce.

Although Giant Eagle, along with Safeway, was among the first supermarket chains to test the use of iBeacon mobile location technology earlier this year, there was no indication that the new pharmacy app leverages that functionality. The pharmacy app has a store locator, and allows users to the option to select stores that are closer to them if they would like to refill a prescription from a different store than where they originally had the prescription filled.

“Giant Eagle is always looking for ways to meet the needs of our busy customers by offering unique convenience-based services and innovative technological advances,” said Mr. Donovan.

Final Take

Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York