Drugstore.com Seeks Contentitive Edge

Discussion
Apr 10, 2008

By George Anderson

Drugstore.com is looking to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own healthcare. That content (i.e. advice) also includes providing consumers visiting the site with access to a list of more than one million healthcare providers in 120 categories.

Last month, Drugstore.com signed a deal with HealthCare.com to give consumers the option of clicking on categories to get a list of specialists and facilities. Visitors are able to search by a variety of criteria, including geography and by insurance coverage.

“We are always looking for new ways to provide service and convenience in addition to competitive prices,” Arvin Marchel, director of pharmacy services at Drugstore.com, told Internet Retailer. “This medical provider search solution is an important addition to services we already offer such as the drug information database, drug interaction checker and ‘ask your pharmacist.'”

According to Internet Retailer, Drugstore.com’s deal with HealthCare.com was the second large content deal it has signed in recent months. In February, the company entered into an agreement with the comparison-shopping service HealthPricer Interactive.

At the time, Ron Kelly, Drugstore.com’s vice president of pharmacy services, said, “We expect this agreement will drive highly qualified traffic to our site and increase our conversion rates. As HealthPricer expands its syndication network we expect to continue to reap the rewards of reaching millions of e-health consumers on a monthly basis.”

Discussion Questions: What do you think of Drugstore.com’s recent content deals? What do you see as the upside or downside to its deals with HealthCare.com or HealthPricer?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

5 Comments on "Drugstore.com Seeks Contentitive Edge"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Anne Howe
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

From a marketing POV, and from the standpoint of meeting the stated objective of driving qualified traffic to the site, both of these partnerships have potential to deliver.

From a consumer POV, I am just not convinced that I would continue to return to drugstore.com for this information. So many behaviors are now controlled by the increase in “insurance provider rules” that as consumers, we tend to log on to the insurance provider site first to make certain we abide by the coverage rules first and foremost. For us, that eliminates many options, and forces us to only one option for online RX. Drugstore.com doesn’t get to play a role, regardless of my preferences. That said, they fall off the radar as an information source, since there are great options we have bookmarked and visit regularly.

Max Goldberg
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

With many brick and mortar chains going to $4 generic drug pricing, the fact that they offer these drugs today, rather than waiting days for drugs to arrive by mail and that many American consumers are buying drugs through the mail are opting to buy them from Canada, Drugstore.com is in a difficult situation.

Offering consumers information on specialists and facilities is a nice marketing gimmick. Will it impact traffic to their website? That depends on how they weave this new service into their core story. If it is an add-on feature, I doubt it will have much impact. If it is a core offering, and if people trust the quality of information, it could have a positive impact.

Don Delzell
Guest
Don Delzell
14 years 1 month ago
These are no downside efforts. I agree with comments that they may not serve the purposes of driving highly qualified traffic to the site and increasing conversion rates. The nature of the healthcare provider system argues that the tie-in may prove to be of limited utility. However: the first statement in the article, that Drugstore.com is “looking to provide consumers with information they need to make informed decisions about their own healthcare”…this has tremendous potential. There is no doubt that the proliferation of healthcare products and options and the expansion of previous “alternative” healthcare remedies has left the consumer without the knowledge to make effective choices. Often, they arrive at the store and discover new options, with claims and ingredients they are completely unfamiliar with. If Drugstore.com truly wants to fulfill the stated goal of informing and empowering their consumer, this could be a very valuable competitive positioning. The current efforts, I believe, neither accomplish this goal, nor do they do it in a manner the consumer will find easy to use. Consider the traffic… Read more »
M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
14 years 1 month ago

While working recently with Rite Aid on a project, my team included an online element in our proposal. The Rite Aid folks actually laughed out loud. If you click the “Online Shopping” tab on the Rite Aid home page, you’re connected to Drugstore.com, which some (perhaps many) Rite Aid people find laughable. “We don’t count on sales from Drugstore.com,” one giggled.

Bottom line, Drugstore.com needs allies that are involved and supportive. I applaud their efforts to add content and encourage much more of same. Perhaps a WebMD connection?

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

Smart folks want unbiased medical advice. Anything supplied by, or associated with, Drugstore.com isn’t likely to be seen as unbiased.

There are so many medical info sites on the internet already. Is the world crying out for another one? Here’s a question: if a retailer has nothing unique to offer, should it spend time and money offering something that’s not special at all? Why bother?

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Which deal do you think offers the greatest upside business opportunity for Drugstore.com?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...