Losing out to the competition is among the main reasons a mid-South drugstore chain is rolling out a new mobile app tied to a digital coupon program.
Fred’s Inc., which operates Fred’s Pharmacy, a chain of 601 pharmacy and general merchandise stores and three specialty pharmacy-only locations located in 15 states in the southeastern U.S., rolled out the newly updated mobile app yesterday.
The updated Apple and Android app lets customers refill prescriptions by barcode scan or prescription number entry, receive automatic reminders when prescriptions are due for refill, transfer prescriptions to Fred’s from another pharmacy and use a pharmacy locator with hours and phone and fax numbers.
The new Fred’s app also lets customers sign-up to redeem coupons at checkout with their phone number, receive coupons, create a checklist of coupons and track savings on all redeemed coupons. A final upgrade to the app includes updated information on prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications and health topics from the National Institutes of Health.
“We designed the process to be as quick and easy as possible, and the new mobile app adds even more convenience by putting deals in customers’ hands right in the store,” says Fred’s executive vice president and chief merchandising and marketing officer Mary Lou Gardner.
Fred’s, which opened the first Fred’s store in Coldwater, Miss., in 1947 and in 1953 moved its corporate headquarters to Memphis, didn’t release many details about its newly retooled app such as the current number of downloads or the cost of development. But a big factor for relaunching the app was the losing sales to other retail competitors, CEO Mike Bloom told Wall Street analyst’s on Fred’s recent earnings call. “We knew we were losing market share in our market because our customers were using digital coupons elsewhere,” Bloom told analysts. “Once we identified, we jumped on it quickly, invested in that and we are expecting to see some pretty nice returns out of that driving traffic, improving our value proposition.”
The app presents coupons and discounts in a gallery, sortable by brand or category. Customers can also view the current ad, where items that have a digital coupon are indicated, and the coupon can be saved directly from the ad to the customer’s account, Fred’s says.
“This technology will enable us to provide personalized offers along with digital coupons to our customers and will help drive sales in our key consumable categories,” Bloom told analysts according to a transcript from SeekingAlpha.com. “We know from specific data that our customers are using digital coupons in our markets.”
For the second quarter ended July 29, Fred’s recorded a decrease in sales of 4.1% to $507.8 million from $529.3 million in the second quarter of 2016. Net loss was $29.5 million compared with a net loss of $6.9 million in the prior year.