Rite Aid has signed Bank of America Merchant Services to process payments for its retail drugstores and e-commerce site, an August 19 press release announced.
Bank of America Merchant Services will also provide Advanced Smart Routing to facilitate PIN transactions for the drugstore chain. Rite Aid has more than 2,400 stores across the United States.
David Ades, head of North American sales at Bank of America Merchant Services, said the services would be part of Rite Aid's "solution to deliver a seamless customer experience on a daily basis." Rite Aid CFO Matt Schroeder said the bank's routing system would help with "efficiency and effectiveness of PIN transactions" at the retailer.
It's been a busy month for Rite Aid, which announced last week the appointment of Heyward Donigan as CEO. Donigan comes to the brand from Sapphire Digital, a platform that allows consumers to compare options for healthcare providers and care costs.
While the announcement has solidified Rite Aid's stance as a healthcare facilitator, there's still day-to-day business to complete. Whether customers are getting immunizations at the pharmacy, purchasing a magazine at the counter or ordering products online, a seamless, fast payment process is crucial for keeping them happy.
The chain has had a challenging year. In March, Rite Aid announced the reduction of about 400 full-time jobs, more than 20% of its corporate positions, due in part to the sale of some stores to Walgreens. In May it regained compliance with New York Stock Exchange after violating its minimum average share price listing requirements. That news came on the heels of lackluster fourth quarter performance and a decreased outlook for fiscal 2020.
Rite Aid's struggles reflect the line drugstores straddle as healthcare provider and retailer. After the federal government blocked its acquisition by Walgreens, Rite Aid remains small relative to its competitors. It continues to lag behind CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart and Kroger for share of the prescription drug market.
Meanwhile, competitors keep expanding their offerings. Walgreens has teamed up with Birchbox in its beauty aisles, Walgreens and CVS have dipped into Cannabidiol (CBD) sales, and drugstore beauty aisles continue to be a destination for shoppers seeking selection and convenience.
One area where Rite Aid may have an advantage is in its partnership with Amazon to offer order pickup service called Counter, which launched at 100 stores and is expected to expand to over 1,500 location by the end of the year. Amazon shoppers have 14 days to pick up their order at a Rite Aid Counter location. Once they're inside the store, Rite Aid has a valuable opportunity to foster customer loyalty.