Kay Pharmacy – Driving Loyalty with Free Delivery

Pharmacy chemist team women and man in drugstore


Kay Pharmacy has been providing the Grand Rapids, Michigan market with prescriptions, medicine, and outstanding service for nearly 75 years.  Frank Koelzer first opened Kay’s doors in 1945, focusing on convenience and reliability. After beginning to offer delivery of prescriptions 25 years ago, Kay now serves 1.4m people today.

  • Challenge: Kay Pharmacy has continually offered an exceptional customer service, providing pharmacy prescriptions to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area for nearly 75 years. Needing to uphold their ability to offer scheduled, same day delivery and scale to serve an expanding customer base, Kay Pharmacy needed an outsourced delivery partner.
  • Solution: Kay Pharmacy turned to Deliv to manage their deliveries. Deliv allowed Kay Pharmacy to focus on their pharmacy business and freed Kay pharmacists of the complexities of delivery.

A History of Convenience

From the onset, Kay has aimed to provide an industry-leading customer experience, deciding to focus on convenience and ease for their customers—a notion that is largely absent from the 45-minute waiting periods of the traditional pharmacy. Same day delivery has served as a cornerstone for Kay, as they can focus on providing prescriptions conveniently rather than trying to drive foot traffic to their stores.

The Challenges of In-house

The deliveries for Kay Pharmacy had been done in-house for years, where pharmacists would work with an in-house team of drivers to manage the 50-70 deliveries that were scheduled each day. It took nearly nine hours to deliver all the prescriptions to customer’s doors after deploying their drivers around noon.

The bottlenecks of this process are clear: Kay Pharmacy had to have all orders fulfilled by noon in order to make the route, and they had to cap orders to what the driver could handle that day, often having to bump orders to the following business day.

Further, the customer service involved in delivering hundreds of deliveries everyday only become more burdensome at scale. Customers would call Kay Pharmacy wondering when their package would arrive, Kay would have to communicate with their drivers and relay the message back to customers—and at that point it was still just an estimate!

If a driver was sick or had any car trouble, a member of the Kay Pharmacy team would suddenly need to step in and deliver the prescriptions they’re typically supposed to be fulfilling. As Kay’s popularity grew with their convenient customer experience, the upkeep of that service only became more difficult to manage—the deliveries became increasingly complex as call volume escalated.  

Separating Expertises

Kay Pharmacy realized their business fell into two key pieces: fulfilling prescriptions, which is done by professional pharmacists whose time is best spent managing medication; and getting those prescriptions delivered to consumers.

Kay Pharmacy turned to Deliv to outsource all aspects of delivery. The pharmacists became free to focus on their core competency— fulfilling prescriptions—and Deliv handles the complexity of delivery. Kay Pharmacy was able to scale their business with these benefits:

Flexibility & Scale

Kay Pharmacy could fulfill orders over the course of the day and send them out for delivery when they were ready vs sending everything out on one route around noon.

Deliv could flex to meet Kay Pharmacy’s demand, day by day, hour by hour.

Predictability & Transparency

Customers got complete visibility into when their prescriptions would arrive.

Pharmacists and customers could view in real time GPS tracking of orders.

Enhanced Customer Service

Deliv handles all customer questions in regard to delivery as well as manages all delivery exceptions.

Kay Pharmacy can contact Deliv’s customer service team at any time.

“Once a customer has a prescription delivered by Kay and Deliv, they’re far more likely to come back to us again with their next order.”

Same Day vs 2 Day

When looking to outsource their delivery needs, Kay Pharmacy considered two day delivery instead of same day delivery. But two day delivery often turned to 3-5 day delivery given cut off times and having to delay orders to the next business day. Secondly, traditional delivery companies are often not equipped to quickly and efficiently communicate with if critical medications were missing or delayed.

Finally, Kay Pharmacy found the ideal partner in Deliv to outsource their deliveries. The benefits of two hour delivery combined with all of Deliv’s package tracking, customer service, and scheduling options provided Kay with exactly what they needed.

With the help of Deliv, Kay is able to outsource their team of drivers, scheduling management, and customer service team, scaling their business to service over a million customers. The pharmacists became free to focus on their core competency—the fulfillment of prescriptions—and Deliv handles the details of delivering to customers.

Free Delivery & Customer Retention

Speaking with Kevin Koelzer, the grandson of Kay founder, we’ve learned an important metric for the Kay Pharmacy team is retention. Choice, convenience, affordability; these are all factors that contribute to an exceptional customer experience, and the byproduct of a quality experience is the likelihood of a customer returning.

Koelzer anecdotally attests to the idea that the reliability of being able to place a prescription order the night before, have it fulfilled in the morning, and delivered to you by noon has created an experience that brings more and more customers back every time.

“Once a customer has a prescription delivered by Kay and Deliv, they’re far more likely to come back to us again with their next order.” Kevin said of his experience with the process.

Serving nearly one and a half million customers is impressive, but having over a million happy customers that continue to come back? Well that’s even better. Deliv is excited to be powering the future of pharmacy with Kay Pharmacy.

Partnering with Deliv

Think you and your business could benefit from efficiency and convenience? You can start scheduling deliveries today by signing up here or contacting us.

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