Pague Menos strengthens the omnichannel experience with VTEX IO
Pague Menos is one of the largest pharmaceutical chains in Brazil, with over 1,105 stores spread over 327 cities in all Brazilian states and the Federal District. To the chain, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2021, ecommerce is an important and expanding channel for sales and relationships, in addition to its physical stores.
Motivated by this business and digital expansion, the company decided to invest in the development platform VTEX IO to raise its operational level and have more flexibility in key aspects of pharmacy retail, such as agility and autonomy to create sale promotions.
Such flexibility is an important business lever for Pague Menos since sales promotions in the pharmaceutical sector are arranged with the industry. Also, agility and innovation are strategic factors for catching customer attention. VTEX IO made working on the Pague Menos website pages easier for the company teams, allowing more flexible A/B tests.
The VTEX Professional Services team worked on the IO implementation project. The team of specialists, who combine technical skills and retail knowledge, acts as a consultancy for the client, ensuring that the projects will have the best architecture and the most advanced ecommerce business practices.
Danilo Hirama, Professional Services project leader at VTEX, points out that a key benefit of VTEX IO is the flexibility to integrate with the customer’s on-premise systems.
“Since its conception, the IO platform seeks to address current and future demands. One of its strengths is the ability to coexist harmoniously with legacy systems while adapting to the client’s business model” – Danilo Hirama, Professional Services project leader at VTEX
With IO, the omnichannel experience was optimized for the pharmacy chain’s more than 36 million consumers, of which 90% of the purchases are identified. The discount coupon, which is widely used in physical stores, gives customers special conditions on product prices, depending on characteristics such as profile, age, gender, and health insurance, and is now also available in ecommerce. The same applies to the Prescription Benefit Program, which significantly influences the final price of prescription drugs in physical pharmacies, and to the promotions and loyalty programs.
One example is Pague Menos’ consumer relationship program Cliente Desconto Só Meu (My Exclusive Discount Client). A recurring purchase can generate discounts of up to 5% on the final price, which is now also available in digital channels. That’s how the company has been providing an omnichannel experience to its customers. The more balanced conditions in all Pague Menos relationship channels impact the chain’s conversion and engagement rates.
“For the Pague Menos consumer, VTEX IO’s greatest benefit is that now they can find the same promotions online and in the physical stores” – Bruno Moreira, Professional Services solution architect at VTEX.
A person who needs medicine is in a hurry
Being among the leading pharmacies in Brazil, Pague Menos also offers the most common retail options, such as buying online and picking up at the store or buying at the store and deliver to your home. However, there was new territory to be explored in digital channels: the sense of urgency.
Buying a product like a cell phone is one thing. You can wait a few days for delivery if it’s convenient for you. But if you need controlled medication to treat a disease, the urgency can make the difference between buying from Pague Menos or a competitor.
That’s why, with the digital channels, the chain decided to keep a great drug stock to appease and assist the customers as promptly as possible. Today, all stores offer in-store pick-up, and with the ship-from-store system, it’s possible to use the stock of any store to meet a customer’s demand. This kind of transaction already accounts for 33% of total sales, while the “Click and Collect” option accounts for 36% of the chain’s sales in digital channels.
Another advantage is the greater transparency of the delivery time frames. Thanks to the IO mechanism, which displays searches and product suggestions that may interest the consumer, it’s also easier to find products. VTEX Intelligent Search also corrects spelling mistakes and understands words that aren’t in the product details, making the customer experience easier when they want—and need—to find a specific product.
Marketplace and business opportunities
Pague Menos also saw in the marketplace model an even greater opportunity for business growth that meets their desire to make things more convenient to clients. By onboarding new sellers, the chain can sell not only its own inventory products but also third-party ones.
In this first stage, Pague Menos is taking advantage of the integration with market ecommerce operations that also use the VTEX platform, another IO feature. The idea is to eventually expand this opening for new sellers who also adopt this model and create a catalog that adds value to the consumer, strengthening the ecommerce strategy and getting new sales and business opportunities for the marketplace environment.
Digital and integrated network
The result of the project is a more modern and flexible platform. Today, the “Click and Collect” option is available in 100% of the pharmacy chain stores, leveraging the omnichannel strategy. Another highlight is that Pague Menos now has a drive-thru, which allows customers to purchase products without having to get out of the car, in over 100 stores. The chain has also been working with an infinite shelf strategy, so the customer can buy a product that isn’t available at the store and have it delivered to their house for free.
Digital channels sales, which include ecommerce and Call Center, already account for 5.2% of the chain’s total sales, which added up to BRL 339.9 million in 2020, of which BRL 101.8 million corresponded to the last quarter—a leap in comparison to the BRL 39.3 million recorded in the same period of 2019.
Pague Menos’s physical stores have a greater presence in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil, but with a stronger ecommerce, the digital sales have been thriving in other regions too, which leverages the development of the business as a whole. With a more agile ecommerce platform and using the omnichannel strategy to maximize their inventory, Pague Menos ensures more conversions and further elevates the experience of its customers.