Well Pharmacy is the largest independent pharmacy business in the United Kingdom, operating 780 physical stores, as well as an online pharmacy. The company’s mission is to take the hassle out of prescriptions, by fulfilling NHS prescriptions quickly and easily. This sounds fairly straightforward, but technology in pharma comes with a lot of challenges, starting with their systems that were built in the 90’s and are heavily regulated.
Ollie Gower is the Head of Product within the world digital team at Well Pharmacy. His role is to make the Well digital products successful, alongside his team of 20+ product managers. To this end, the product team is focused on how they can layer technology on top of their existing systems and processes to create a better experience for their customers. “We’re not at the cutting edge of innovation, but we’re bringing things up to where they should be today. And that’s very exciting. You can make night and day improvements at relatively low cost and at a great pace,” Ollie explains.
These improvements impact more than just the digital experience for their customers. By making the jobs of pharmacists and in-store teams easier, it gives them more time to focus on clinical safety and giving advice to customers/patients—in other words, doing what a pharmacist is trained to do. “This integration between old and new processes is really rewarding because there is massive opportunity and you can really see the impact of the changes. But it’s also quite challenging,” says Ollie.
Using data to build an omnichannel pharma experience
Ollie and his team are focused primarily on their online pharmacy, which is completely separate from their stores. Today, you can’t walk into a store and track your online prescription, and you can’t order a prescription online and collect it from your local store. Their long-term strategy is to bring an omnichannel experience to pharmacy, something that no pharmaceutical company has quite nailed yet.
To start, they’re updating their technology in stores and automating many of their most time-consuming processes to improve the store experience for pharmacy teams and customers alike. On the digital side, they’ve surfaced trusted medical information online to help people get the medical advice they need. Having access to good data is key to being able to create this frictionless customer experience both digitally and in-store.
“Data is everything. Easily readable, understandable, insightful data is #1. Unless you have an understanding end-to-end of how your customers are behaving throughout your journey, you can’t validate your assumptions, and you can’t understand where your problems are in design and technology. That’s why we partnered with Amplitude.”
Ollie Gower, Head of Product
Switching from Heap to Amplitude
To Ollie, it’s critical for his team to operate with a genuinely data-driven approach. “This isn’t just a nice to have,” he explains. “All of our decisions should be understood with data. Everything we do, we should be able to see a number going up or down, and we need a tool where everyone can get involved.”
At launch, they were using Heap for analytics, but their features were lacking and its tools weren’t capable of providing Ollie’s team with the understanding and insights they needed. “With Heap, we could only look at how we see the product, but we couldn’t look into how our customers see the product,” says Ollie. “After switching to Amplitude, I can now start from a certain event and then see where customers decide to go next.” Ollie explains.
“With Heap, we could only look at how we see the product, but we couldn’t look into how our customers see the product.”
Ollie Gower, Head of Product
A simple change helps increase signup conversion by 30%
Once they brought on Amplitude, Ollie and his team could finally investigate deeper into why users were dropping off in their signup flow. In Amplitude Funnels, they could see that they had many people signing up, but they also saw a lot of drop off and weren’t sure why. In one click they were able to uncover what behaviors led users to convert or drop off using Conversion Drivers. Like many apps, the Well Pharmacy signup process uses Magic Links and sends the customer a confirmation email with an authenticated URL that allows them to log into the system. But this also means that people are pushed out of the app within 10 seconds after starting the signup flow to validate their email. This is where the product team saw a big drop off.
Using Time to Convert, they could see the time it took for the confirmation email to be sent and delivered to the customers inbox and thought this might have something to do with the drop off. They decided to adjust the signup process to account for this time.
In the updated flow, they still asked users to input their email addresses and sent them the confirmation email upfront, but they pushed the validation process to the very end of the flow. This allowed new users time to input the rest of their information and walk through a clear description of the service before they were pushed out of the app to validate their email. This single change increased signup conversion by 30%.
“In Amplitude, I found this piece of insight in minutes. I think it’s this level of flexibility to understand customer behaviors unique to our experience that allows us to find things that Heap couldn’t,” says Ollie. “30% at the top of our funnel is game changing.”
Ollie Gower, Head of Product
Compressing the feedback loop
Ollie and team are focused on making their iteration loop as quick as possible so they can work with a high level of confidence and use their engineering resources efficiently. Amplitude’s real-time analytics and easy to use platform help Ollie’s team understand impact quickly so they can make fast decisions with confidence. “It took us time to understand that journey,” Ollie says about the signup flow, “but to build it was just 3 days.” He explains, “we can validate after three days whether something is a good call, or if we need to iterate. Amplitude gives us the opportunity to crunch that feedback time to the shortest time possible, which allows us to be as agile as we can be. We can now deliver at a completely different level.”
Saving time and money through their fulfillment flow
As they continue to improve their online experience, another place they wanted to measure for efficiency was their warehouse operation. Due to complex regulations, there are about 8-10 steps involved after an order is placed online, depending on the medication they’re dispensing. Ollie and team decided that Amplitude’s precision tracking and real-time analytics made it the best solution to monitor their fulfillment process. So they send the data to allow them to track time-to-conversion across all these steps.
The operations team can now quickly see backlogs and adapt in real time by moving resources around the fulfillment flow using Funnels. It also saves time throughout the process. Ollie explains, “we are in a low margin game, and we need to make sure our operational processes are safe and efficient. We need to know what each second costs us. If we can shave off 20 seconds, that is money saved. In Amplitude, we can validate whether the things we launch are working, and we can see it in real time. That feedback time is minutes for us, rather than weeks. This helps us process our orders quickly. And our ops team loves it!”
Flexibility and Depth of Analysis
Ollie has used many analytics platforms throughout his career. “Most of them want you to measure in the way that they think you should measure. Which is fine for more simple reports,” he says. “But what I love about Amplitude is that it gives you a lot more scope. It still has that simplicity, and if I want to do something basic, I can. But it also allows me to cut data in more custom ways to really understand odd customer behaviors. Other platforms struggle to do this. The way the Amplitude product has been developed is massively valuable for us.”
Ollie acknowledges that “when you’re starting a project, you’re always conscious of cost. But Amplitude is one of those things that is worth the investment. Your ability to make ROI off a really strong analytics platform is massive. There’s no other tool you use that will give you as much ROI as a great analytics platform, and Amplitude has been that for us. I pay off amplitude a few times a year quite happily. It’s an easy business case for me to make.”
Collaboration & Communication
In particular, Ollie called out Amplitude’s dashboards, and the ability to create them in just minutes, as something that has been really valuable in terms of communicating the value of Amplitude outwards in the organization. “Having a tool where everyone can get involved is critical. We all have Amplitude dashboards on a constant cycle. This means data isn’t a scary thing. If you build it in the right way, and create your insights in the right way, it’s very easy.”
“One of the main reasons why we wanted to work with Amplitude is that they really took the time to understand our problems and what we were trying to achieve. Our use case was a bit odd, but they said okay, let’s put our heads together and think about how we can do that.”
“Our conversations with Amplitude have massive value for us. I’ve not spoken to another analytics company that was as forthcoming.”
Ollie Gower, Head of Product