Rite Aid has entered a sweeping technology partnership with Google Cloud designed to give the drugstore, pharmacy care and health services company a more flexible, data-driven and efficient platform for growth and operations.
Plans call for Google Cloud technologies to arm Philadelphia-based Rite Aid with sharper insights, more agility and enhances customer experiences, the companies said yesterday. Modernized applications for personalized digital experiences, too, will position Rite Aid’s over 6,400 pharmacists to spend more time interacting directly with patients.
Under the multiyear agreement, Rite Aid is slated to migrate key applications to Google Cloud’s Anthos managed platform for application deployment. Those applications will include Rite Aid’s vaccine scheduling tool, customer messaging infrastructure and digital engagement platform.
Google Cloud noted that Anthos with give Rite Aid pharmacies cloud computing capabilities on-site, enabling more resilient operations. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based tech giant said strategic business continuity will Rite Aid to continue to provide elevated care during natural disasters through robust patient information, advanced prescription management and the ability to offer recommendations without needing to be connected to centralized, legacy mainframe technology.
More specifically, Rite Aid said, the Google Cloud partnership will help the company “realize its vision of a modern pharmacy.”
“The power of pharmacies, and the important role pharmacists play in the health of their communities, greatly expanded during COVID. Realizing that potential means making strategic investments in technology that can truly help our customers and maximize the capabilities of our pharmacists,” according to Justin Mennen, executive vice president and chief digital and technology officer at Rite Aid. “Google Cloud’s solutions are uniquely positioned to run at each pharmacy location to allow our store teams to help our customers to achieve whole health for life.”
What’s more, Rite Aid has enlisted Google Cloud to drive digital transformations across other parts of its business. Those efforts include the following:
• Enterprise data migration: Rite Aid will shift its enterprise data to Google Cloud using BigQuery. With the move, its pharmacies stand to have better insights into its finances, supply chain inventory and customer information, enabling data-driven decisions for business operations.
• Enhanced search: Google Cloud’s Retail Search solution will give Rite Aid customers more precise search results when shopping on Rite Aid’s e-commerce site and mobile app. The improved search experience leverages Google-quality search models to understand customer intent and taps Rite Aid’s first-party data — such as promotions, available inventory and price — for product ranking results.
• Updated PBM application suite: Elixir, Rite Aid's pharmacy benefit management and services unit, will update its current PBM application suite to a cloud-first experience, with artificial intelligence and machine learning-infused business logic capabilities. New Google Cloud data analytics and processing capabilities will help the PBM better manage prescription benefits for health insurers, the companies said.
“As a health care company with a retail footprint, Rite Aid is at the intersection of two quickly evolving industries and making strategic technology investments to meet rising customer expectations,” Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer solutions for Google Cloud, said in a statement. “Through these innovations, Rite Aid is defining the modern pharmacy.”
The nation’s third-largest drugstore chain, Rite Aid totaled fiscal 2022 revenue of $24.57 billion. That included about $17.37 billion in its Retail Pharmacy business unit (front-end sales of $5.22 billion and pharmacy sales of $12.15 billion) plus roughly $7.2 billion in sales from its Pharmacy Services unit.
Rite Aid follows a range of companies in the food, drug and mass channel partnering with cloud and IT services giants in recent years. Companies teaming up with Google include C&S Wholesale Grocers, Albertsons Cos., Hy-Vee and The Kroger Co., among other. Food, drug and mass retailers partnering with cloud and tech services rival Microsoft include Loblaw Cos., Kroger, Albertsons, Walmart, Costco Wholesale, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Giant Eagle. Amazon Inc.’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) subsidiary also has brought food and grocery players into a cloud-based computing architecture, including Instacart, Ocado, Sainsbury, HelloFresh and, of course, Amazon.com and Amazon Fresh.