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Rite Aid leans on pharmacists in rebranding effort

Dive Brief:

  • Rite Aid on Monday unveiled a rebranding that includes a new logo, holistic health focus and website revamp, along with a store concept in pilot mode. The logo replaces blue and red chevron color blocks with blue and green, including a graphic of a mortar and pestle with an herbal sprig.

  • The drugstore retailer said it’s offering a “fusion” of traditional medicine and alternative remedies, and elevating the role of its more than 6,300 store-based pharmacists, according to a company press release.

  • The first three “Stores of the Future,” two in Pennsylvania and one in New Hampshire, feature pharmacists in more accessible areas, the company said. As more open, some will include beauty ambassadors, clean beauty products and “a spa-like destination.”

Dive Insight:

Rite Aid is joining rivals in leveraging the elevated training of pharmacists as a marketing and customer service advantage. CVS Health has moved most aggressively in this area, establishing health clinics in many areas and acquiring a health insurance company outright.

Rite Aid, which trails behind other pharmacy giants and has faltered since its planned merger with Walgreens fizzled a couple of years ago, appears to be differentiating itself with an emphasis on alternative treatments like supplements and wellness advice like getting more exercise, according to a new advertisement released Monday.

Several communities saw their Rite Aid locations close down or change over to Walgreens after its would-be suitor did manage to buy a string of nearly 2,000 stores despite the merger breakdown. In those where Rite Aid is still standing, customers may see a U.S. drugstore retailer finally willing to embrace its retail side. The description of the new stores recalls drugstore retail in Europe, which also emphasizes beauty and wellness and has pharmacists dispense heatlh advice, and even some U.S. medical marijuana dispensaries, which often similarly focus on alternative wellness options.

“Customers will soon take notice as the look and feel of our stores is being refreshed, our merchandising mix evolves to an assortment that best supports whole health, and perhaps most importantly, our trusted neighborhood pharmacists are empowered and qualified to consult not simply on traditional medicines, but alternative remedies as well,” Rite Aid Chief Operating Officer Jim Peters said in a statement. “We’re redefining an industry, and aspire to get each one of our customers to thrive.”

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