February 26, 2020

How Modern Shoppers Choose a Drugstore

By Valassis

It can be difficult to keep track of what consumers want. Here are six lessons for drugstores to better understand their consumers.

6 Key Takeaways From the 2019 Valassis Drugstore Consumer Survey

It can be difficult to keep track of what modern consumers are looking for when it comes to where they shop and why. In a recent “Awareness-to-Activation Study” from Valassis*, consumers provided a look into their purchasing preferences and habits for prescriptions and other drugstore items in order to help these stores better understand their roles in the lives of modern shoppers.

While drugstores were the top source, shoppers revealed they are also frequenting discount and grocery stores for prescriptions. And though location and discounts play a significant role in consumers’ decisions about where they go and what they buy, we uncovered additional insights into what spurs consumers to make purchases like those. Here are six.

1. Convenience is king.
When deciding where to buy their prescriptions, drugstore shoppers rank having a location near their home as the top influencing factor (with 64% saying that affects their decision). Having many convenient locations ranked as the No. 2 factor, and the existence of a convenient drive-thru pharmacy and a short wait time tied for No. 3. This shows that convenience and speed are top of mind for many consumers.

2. Local targeting works.
When selecting a drugstore for items other than prescriptions, drugstore shoppers still rank a location close to home as the top deciding factor. Deals in printed store circulars came in as the second most popular factor for deciding where to buy nonprescription items. All that said, it’s clear that using advertising and circulars to target local residents works. Figuring out how to reach consumers within a 3- to 5-mile radius can make a real impact when building customer loyalty.

3. Discounts drive decisions.
More than half of survey respondents agree that drugstores are too expensive without coupons or discounts. Among drugstore shoppers, eight in 10 have used manufacturer coupons at a drugstore, while 57% of millennial parents say they use them frequently.

Offering attractive discounts on popular items might be enough to get people in the door, which can lead to additional in-store purchases. In fact, 51% of consumers indicate they would go into the drugstore instead of using the prescription drive-thru if they had a strong coupon or discount to purchase other items.

Don’t forget about personalization: Half of millennials, 56% of parents, and 61% of millennial parents indicate they shop more at drugstores that build relationships with them through personalized discounts and coupons.

4. In-store services are valuable for parents.
While it’s worth noting that baby boomers are more likely to get a flu shot or other vaccine (38%) at a drugstore than any other age group, parents are most likely to take advantage of other in-store services. Seven in 10 parents have used in-store services such as a pharmacist consultation, back-to-school immunizations, clinics, home delivery, or health screenings.

Touting these types of services doesn’t just bring in more parents. It’s also a smart tactic for drugstores trying to figure out how to increase in-store foot traffic. After all, 53% of parents and 63% of millennial parents are likely to make multiple impulse purchases once they’re inside a drugstore.

5. Print ads are still popular.
While the internet has changed how people shop, it’s clear from the survey that the power of printed store circulars remains strong. Among millennial parents, 71% say they’re willing to visit an alternative drugstore (i.e., not the primary store where they have their prescriptions) if they see a good deal in a print ad. More than half of millennial parents also indicate they’d switch drugstores if they stopped receiving print store circulars with sales and discounts.

All that combined, you have a pretty compelling case for sending your customers print ads promoting in-store discounts and deals.

6. Strong loyalty program discounts can drive drugstore trips.
Nearly three-quarters of consumers belong to a drugstore loyalty program, and 29% belong to multiple programs. Among respondents who participate in loyalty programs, 22% say it makes them shop only at that particular drugstore (30% of millennials and 37% of millennial parents). While these programs alone won’t drive loyalty, they are an influencing factor. Case in point: 41% of parents say a loyalty program with strong discounts would entice them to shop at a drugstore they don’t usually patronize.

Opportunities abound for drugstores that are looking to convert new customers and build customer loyalty. By focusing on the top priorities for customers — like convenience and discounts — drugstores can continue to stay competitive in the modern era. For more information about how Valassis can help your company reach out to consumers and move them from ad to action, contact us.

*Valassis “Awareness-to-Activation Study” conducted by NPD, 2019.

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