In today’s climate, very few brands can compete on price alone. While value is a key driver for Chemist Warehouse, there’s no reason why it couldn’t shift this perception. Aimee Coleman explains.


You make allowances for the cramped aisles where you slither past another customer in deep hope you don’t brush body parts.

Or you’ll walk down the third aisle to get to the top of the first – and repeat, anticlockwise, if needed – precisely because you know the best price for your chosen brand will be found if you can just breathe in and crabwalk with confidence to its suspected location.

And maybe also because there’s a Chemist Warehouse a pebble skim away from the office or next to the tram stop on the way home.

But a brand like Chemist Warehouse doesn’t survive all these years or make it into the top ten retailers in 2023 on price alone. It has to give more to its customers beyond just flogging stuff.

So what is a brand like Chemist Warehouse doing to build that relationship and could it be doing more?

Across the retail landscape, many new and effective initiatives reduce the space between product and purchase. Many of these approaches are more customer-led and make greater use of technology to truly enhance customers’ experiences.

And Chemist Warehouse is starting to explore these. The brand has recently added an interaction with its customers that has led to an 85 per cent increase in its conversion rate. By sending personalised and dynamic push notifications to customers’ devices, serving up relevant product offers with the option to click through and buy online, the brand has turned site visitors into paying customers.

It’s a simple tool to connect in-store and online experiences. Nothing ground-breaking. But successful.

For some customers, push notifications may be an annoyance. They might feel like ‘you’re just trying to sell me something’. And yet, we all sell something, don’t we? We’re all in the business of doing some sort of business. And having access to relevant deals and a clear path to make a purchase is convenient for customers while putting money back in their pockets.

But what if instead of simply spruiking product, Chemist Warehouse was to take on the role of a trusted advisor?

With access to important healthcare and hygiene data from its breadth of brands, the retailer could put this technology to work beyond a sales conversion tool. By creating useful and educational interactions with customers, the brand could help them to make informed health and hygiene decisions.

The technology employed by the business already segments its audience so why not take it up a notch by getting more granular in its personalisation? Make it one-to-one communication borrowing from the Coles and Woolworths playbook that sees recommended products for purchase or repurchase.

Chemist Warehouse could, for example, share advice for pre-existing conditions, the latest research relating to particular medications the customer has a prescription for, or remind them about medications that are soon to run out.

Taking on a role like this could change the perception from a brand that sells (cheaply) to a brand that helps customers make the best health and hygiene choices for them.

This could then feed into identifying problems shoppers have in and around the purchasing journey. By using the technology, people and systems already in place, Chemist Warehouse could better serve its customers while identifying what they might need in the future.

As the cost of living and doing business increases, few brands can afford to compete only on price. Looking at how you could be more useful to customers outside of transactions has the power to unleash capabilities in your brand you didn’t know existed.

And, as in the case of Chemist Warehouse, you can probably do it using the tools you already have in place.

This article first appeared in Inside Retail. 

Aimee Coleman is Director of Principals’ AlphaLab

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