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Walgreens: 25pc of online prescriptions filled via mobile app

With more than 2 million consumers enrolled in its Prescription Ready by Text program and over 25 percent of online prescription refills coming via its mobile app, Walgreens has hit the nail on the head with its use of mobile.

Building on that success, the drugstore chain is introducing a new service that delivers a text message when an existing prescription is due for a refill and lets users complete the order by replying with the word “refill.”

“Our patients have their phones with them at all times and we want to make it easy for them to interact with us,” said Abhi Dhar, ecommerce chief technology officer of Walgreens, Deerfield, IL.

“Customers adoption of our ‘Refill Ready by Text’ program exceeded our expectations significantly and indicated overwhelming propensity to use the SMS medium,” he said.

“The next logical step was to extend the service to refill reminders.”

Walgreens is a leading drugstore chain that operates 7,760 drugstores in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Health management
The new Refill Ready text program is a valuable tool to help customers manage their health.

The service is free to mobile and smartphone users. Pharmacy customers can sign up for refill reminder text alerts at any Walgreens pharmacy and online at

“This is one more convenient way to help patients stay adherent with medications,” Mr. Dhar said.

“Non-adherence is one of the biggest hurdles in treating illness today and many times patients realize they are running low or out of a medication when they’re not near a computer or able to call in a prescription,” he said.

“These tools extend the access to Walgreens pharmacy to mobile phones and make it easy to refill prescriptions as Walgreens systematically provides a reminder.”

The new program will give Walgreens a way to build its text message opt-in list.

The Refill Ready program is just one of the new services that Walgreens is looking to bring to the text messaging environment.

“Text messaging is very important to us and our customers and there are more consumers today with feature phones than smart phones and hence,” Mr. Dhar said.

“We think that 2 million sign-ups is a good start, but we’ve got a lot of opportunity still out there to grow from reach and functionality.

“We’re continuing to explore other services that can bring even greater convenience to our customers.”

The new service also builds on Walgreens’ mobile applications which were launched late last year.

These applications enable consumers to refill prescriptions by scanning the bar code on a prescription bottle or by entering a prescription number.

However, the reach available through SMS text messaging insures it will play a key role in Walgreens’ mobile marketing efforts going forward.

“SMS is available to a larger population of mobile phone owners,” Mr. Dhar said. “Its convenience cannot be overlooked.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York