NowRx is a full-service pharmacy that specializes in free pharmacy delivery, specifically of prescriptions and common over the counter medications. One of the most common questions we get asked is, “How do we provide free same-day pharmacy delivery?”
Pharmacy Delivery in Under 5 Hours – Free?
Whenever somebody says the word free, we tend to become skeptical.
We think to ourselves, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch, what’s the catch?”
This applies to our business lives just as much as it does our personal lives. We believe that pretty much everything comes at a price.
So that begs the question, how do we offer FREE same-day pharmacy delivery at NowRx?
In other words, what’s the catch?
This article reveals the secret behind NowRx’s operations and uncovering how we can provide benefits like free same-day pharmacy delivery.
Building & Supporting Same-Day Pharmacy Delivery
First, for those that are unfamiliar with NowRx, let’s briefly cover what we are and aren’t.
NowRx IS a full-service pharmacy that uses technology to provide a better pharmacy experience. This better experience includes things like free same-day prescription delivery, live support, etc.
We are NOT:
- A third-party delivery service (Uber, DoorDash, UPS, etc.)
- A brick & mortar retail pharmacy (CVS, Walgreens, etc.)
- A mail delivery pharmacy (Express Scripts, OptumRx, etc.)
Why do these distinctions matter?
Because brick & mortar retail pharmacy, mail delivery pharmacy, and third-party delivery services were not built with same-day pharmacy delivery in mind!
Brick & Mortar Retail Pharmacy
Brick & mortar retail pharmacy is based off driving foot traffic into their store and keeping them there so they can up-sell you on their additional products.
In fact, retail stores actually have metrics like “customer dwell time”, to measure how much time a customer spends in their store because they know the more time you spend, the more likely you are to make an additional purchase.
Ever wonder why CVS offers free flu shots or why it takes so long for your prescription to get filled?
They want to get you in their stores and keep you there because the longer you’re in there, the more likely you are to buy something. Offering free pharmacy delivery drives traffic out of these stores and runs counter to their long-term business strategy.
Mail Delivery Pharmacies
Mail delivery pharmacies are setup for delivery to your home but not for same-day delivery. Deliveries typically take more than 3 days and sometimes as long as 2 weeks! These services are designed for medications that you can afford to wait for in the mail.
Additionally, they normally operate out of large automated facilities located out of state, which means there is plenty of room for things to go wrong or get lost.
Ever had a package get lost or arrive late through the mail? Exactly.
In fact, our survey of mail order customers show that 1 in 5 have encountered some type of problem when it comes to receiving medication through the mail.
Third-Party Delivery Services
Alternatively, a third-party delivery service is set up for same-day delivery, but not free delivery.
Because that’s how they make their money. For example, Uber charges you per ride, DoorDash charges you per delivery, etc.
If these companies didn’t charge a fee, how would they make money?
Of course, these third-party delivery services could charge the pharmacy this fee and offer free delivery to the patient. However, in the pharmacy business, margins are razor thin which means the pharmacy would likely go out of business as they struggle to offset the cost over the long term.
Furthermore, most third-party delivery services and mail order pharmacies are not set up to handle medications that require special handling, such as narcotics (DEA controlled medications), refrigerated, etc.
So, what’s makes NowRx pharmacy so special?
Pharmacy Delivery in Under 5 Hours for FREE Enabled by Low Overhead & Technology
There are three main components that allow NowRx to offer free same-day pharmacy delivery:
- Ultra-Low Overhead
- Automated Pharmacy Operations
- Tightly Integrated Intelligent Logistics.
Ultra Low Overhead
One of the biggest cost savings for NowRx comes from our low-cost DEA certified micro-fulfillment pharmacies.
As we previously mentioned, a brick & mortar retail store’s business model is based off driving foot traffic into their store and keeping it there. As such, many of these stores pay for prime retail storefronts with monthly rent that can sometimes exceed $100,000!
Since NowRx doesn’t rely on foot traffic, we instead lease low cost commercial space. This helps reduce rent expenses by more than 90%!
Furthermore, because we deliver, NowRx pharmacy doesn’t need to have multiple locations in a given area. In fact, we estimate we need 1 fulfillment center for every 20 traditional pharmacy stores.
This reduction in rent expense saves NowRx as much as $5-$7 per prescription – just in rent overhead!
How do we handle that volume?
That’s where our automated pharmacy operations come in.
Automated Pharmacy Operations
NowRx’s automated pharmacy operations allow us to handle significant demand in a given region.
Our pharmacy management software, QuickFill, lets pharmacists, with one-click, route prescriptions to a dispensing robot, which counts, labels, and bottles the prescription in under 25 seconds.
This process, which is typically manual at most pharmacies, can take more than 5 minutes per bottle when you consider verifying the correct medication type, quantity, and bottle label. We estimate these tasks cost an estimated $4-$5 per prescription.
Additionally, this dispensing robot, a product of NowRx’s growing partnership with Parata Systems, reduces dispensing error rates to less than .01% making NowRx more than 1000x more accurate than the average community pharmacy.
In total, these cost savings add up to more than $10 saved per prescriptions dispensed.
But hand delivering prescriptions by car can still be expensive.
How does NowRx keep last-mile delivery costs in check?
Integrated and Intelligently Optimized Logistics
NowRx Pharmacy’s prescription management system [QuickFill] and driver-side logistics platform [Wheelz] are tightly integrated, which allows them to intelligently optimize logistics and keep the cost per delivery affordable.
What does that mean?
Simply put, “QuickFill” and “Wheelz” closely communicate with one another to prioritize prescriptions for processing and maximize the number of deliveries on each route.
For example, suppose QuickFill has 150 prescriptions in the queue ready for processing and Wheelz has a delivery route scheduled in north Palo Alto. By having a tight integration between the two, QuickFill can identify and prioritize the prescriptions that are in that area (or on the way), while Wheelz intelligently produces the most efficient route that will maximize the amount of prescriptions being delivered.
Pretty cool right?!?
This is incredibly important because if NowRx was unable to maximize the number of prescriptions being delivered per route it would be impossible for us to offer free same-day delivery over the long run or at significant scale!
This is why you see pharmacies like CVS charging $7.99 for same-day delivery, $5 for 1-2 day delivery, or a monthly subscription service!
Without customized software, specifically built for prescription delivery , they cannot offset the cost of delivery like NowRx!
The Catch for Customers
Ok so we’ve convinced you that we save a lot of money compared to other pharmacies. But, even with all these savings, providing delivery (as well as other customer benefits) still costs NowRx something.
Why offer it for free?
Well, that comes down to what we believe as a company, which is:
“the retail pharmacy industry is changing and customers want a better experience in the form of lower prices, greater convenience, and hassle-free service.”
We see this in other industries as well.
People don’t want to wait in line for movies, they use Netflix.
People don’t want to wait for taxis, they call Uber.
With that in mind, we’re happy to absorb the cost of delivery to give our customers a better experience. Because these same customers will return that cost 10-fold by advocating for NowRx.
In fact, that’s exactly what a lot of our customers do!
They talk about NowRx and spread the word.
Telling everyone how much better their experience with NowRx was compared to their normal hassle at CVS.
They say they would NEVER switch back to their old pharmacy.
Don’t believe us? Just read the Yelp reviews from our original Mountain View location.
Our happy customers return the cost we incur from providing delivery 10-fold because they are so delighted with the superior pharmacy experience that that they happily tell anyone that will listen!
So, that’s it.
The “secret sauce” of how and why NowRx Pharmacy offers free, same-day pharmacy delivery!
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