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Walgreens extends mobile pharmacy leadership with WebMD partnership

Walgreens is extending its mobile pharmacy leadership via a new partnership with WebMD that will drive smartphone use for prescription refills and wellness-driven rewards.

WebMD consumers will be able to access prescription refill and scheduling appointment options for Walgreens via the WebMD Web site or their mobile devices. The partnership is set to come into full effect in the coming months, with both brands hoping that making trusted information easily available will improve wellness in America and promote positive decision-making.

“I think consumers will view this as a beneficial partnership,” said Rob Hoxie, vice president of business development for Atimi, Vancouver, BC. “It should do well and this certainly won’t be the last of these types of synergistic partnerships we’ll see in the next few months.”


Enhanced digital services

In a digital world where information can be found with the tap of a finger, Walgreens and WebMD are taking steps to ensure that consumers can find accurate health information at any time of need.

Walgreens is planning to incorporate WebMD content in topics such as Healthy Eating, Fitness, Allergy and Cold & Flu into its digital experience and stores. This is an optimal way for Walgreens consumers to gain more information while shopping for specific health care products on their mobile devices or in stores.

Walgreens faces competition from other pharmacy brands such as CVS that are branching out in the mobile pharmacy sector, but believes its partnership with WebMD will add valuable features to its mobile offerings that enable most services found in-store to be completed on a device as well.

Meanwhile, WebMD is planning to make online prescription refills and transfers for Walgreens available online. Walgreens’ Healthcare Clinic scheduling service for appointments will be accessible via WebMD’s desktop and mobile sites.

While WebMD has a strong desktop presence, it has recently been expanding in the mobile space. The WebMD application for Android and iOS went live earlier this year. Walgreens is also attempting to pioneer the pharmaceutical industry on mobile with its digital prescription refills, medicine reminders and pharmacy chat options available on the Walgreens app.

WebMD’s Healthy Target app also syncs with wearables in order to bring the most convenience to customers.

Mobile incentives

The partnership is providing incentives to Walgreens customers making health-conscious choices through the mobile-based Walgreens Balance Rewards card. The rewards program offers points after a user logs a healthy activity on the Healthy Target app, or uploads information from widgets that track wellness areas such as steps and glucose levels.

The rewards points count towards cash off and discounts on future purchases.

Walgreens and WebMD also aim to reach a wider target audience with new wellness programs. The brands’ virtual health coaching programs will be the first online programs designed to help individuals stop smoking, lose weight, and exercise and eat healthily are becoming accessible to the public.

This will likely help increase brand loyalty and convert new consumers seeking to kick unhealthy habits or purchase more health-conscious items in bids to bolster their health and wellness.

“The healthcare industry is definitely moving toward mobile,” Mr. Hoxie said. “We’re seeing an increase in activity in all aspects of healthcare including health tracking, monitoring and alerting.

“And, things like the iOS Health platform and Apple Watch are only fueling the fire.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York