Canadian drug chain London Drugs reports that its investment in e-commerce is paying off.

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London Drugs sees return on e-commerce investment

August 9th, 2013

RICHMOND, British Columbia – Canadian drug chain London Drugs reports that its investment in e-commerce is paying off.

The retailer, which has 77 drug stores across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, said it has seen triple-digit sales growth since launching a revamped website and updated online store last November.

London Drugs said it has seen a rise in online orders from markets where it doesn't have brick-and-mortar stores.

What's more, London Drugs said the chain it has seen an increase in the amount of orders placed in markets where it doesn't have brick-and-mortar stores.

"We're reaching new customers well beyond our regional stores," Clint Mahlman, senior vice president and chief operating officer at London Drugs, said in a statement.

"Online sales and delivery in British Columbia and Alberta are high, with Ontario and Quebec our next two biggest markets and Saskatchewan and Manitoba close behind," he explained. "Our product mix, competitive pricing and commitment to service beyond the online transaction is proving to be a significant advantage for London Drugs online customers."

To meet the demand, London Drugs has added two additional fulfillment centers. The retailer said the facilities also help it better serve the northern Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime markets, as well as reduce shipping times and delivery charges for customers across Canada.

London Drugs said it has had an e-commerce presence since 2002. That capability is especially important to the retailer. Though the chain offers the full range of drug store merchandise, and pharmacy is at the center of its operations, most of its stores have a footprint enabling them to offer a mix of products that's among the most diverse in the industry — particularly a large electronics department, which has been a key shopper destination. Computers and computer supplies, software, televisions and home entertainment equipment, mobile phones and devices, household appliances, and a wide selection of cameras and photo equipment are found in almost every London Drugs outlet.

The new and improved, the product of 18 months of planning and investment, enhances shopper convenience via such features as customized shopping "finder" tools that take customers through a series of questions about what they are seeking for, resulting in a personalized product roundup in beauty, cameras and computers, which the retailer said are now top-selling categories on the site.

"One interesting development has been the growth of our baby supplies category, which is up over 200%," stated Josh Johnston, London Drugs' e-commerce manager. "This speaks to the growing influence busy parents have in the e-commerce space. They are researching products and solutions to parenting challenges online and are making their purchases from home."

The retailer has also added an online software library that enables customers to pay for and then immediately download their purchases.

Another key convenience: Customers now can pick up their online order at any London Drugs store, within two hours of ordering. The chain said the service caters to consumers who prefer the convenience of browsing online but require their purchases in a short amount of time.

"We realize immediacy is key for many consumers. In-store pickup orders accounted for a sizable percent of the total online orders over the past two months, so it's definitely an area we will continue to focus on," according to Johnston. "We also have multiple technological initiatives under way that will allow our customers to receive offers that cater specifically to their interests. It's the ultimate, personalized window-shopping experience,"

London Drugs added that it also has continued to see sharp growth in its online PhotoLab store. Customers can order photo prints and create photo gifts from home, and their orders can be produced, delivered or picked up by family and others in locations across the country. They also can view the images online via PhotoLab's photo sharing service.

And last week London Drugs' e-commerce store launched Interac Online, which enables Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto-Dominion (TD) and Bank of Montreal (BMO) banking customers to use Interac to pay for online purchases. The drug chain's site also accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Visa Debit and PayPal.