Takes Aim at Rivals with Offline Alliance

In what is fast becoming a major industry trend, online drugstore, Inc. announced today that it will become the exclusive e-commerce partner for discount brick-and-mortar pharmacy chain Phar-Mor, Inc.

The new partnership comes on the heels of similar arrangements between Healtheon/WebMD and CVS pharmacies, and and Rite Aid. In addition, brick-and-mortar pharmacies like Walgreens are operating online, which further cements the trend toward online ordering and physical pick-up.

Beginning this spring, Phar-Mor will begin shifting its online customers to’s e-commerce site, which will sell beauty, health, and wellness products. The online pharmacy will also feature specialty shops for contact lenses and same-day prescription services.

Win/Win Deal

By establishing a strong brick-and mortar presence through Phar-Mor’s 139 locations, plans to vigorously compete with and, Inc. by offering prescription pick-up at any of Phar-Mor’s locations.

“Phar-Mor customers will see a tremendous value in this relationship,” said Eric Budin, co-founder and vice president of corporate development of “By providing’s selection, convenience and savings to Phar-Mor customers, as well as greatly expanding’s universe of brick-and-mortar prescription pick-up options, this partnership is ultimately a consumer victory.”

A Lift for Phar-Mor

As part of the partnership, Phar-Mor will promote the e-commerce site throughout its retail store locations. The company will launch a print advertising campaign to generate maximum consumer awareness about the new online store, as well as feature the URL on prescription and shopping bags, receipts, in-store signage, circulars and other promotional material throughout its stores.

Rapidly Transforming Into Brick-and-Click has been actively attempting to transform itself into a formidable brick-and-click contender. Late last year, the e-tailer entered into an agreement with Begen Brunswig Co., which includes an alliance with 2,000 independent drugstores that are part of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy network.

About Phar-Mor

Phar-Mor (Nasdaq: PMOR) operates more than 139 drugstores in 24 states under under the Phar-Mor, Pharmhouse and The Rx Place banners. In its fiscal year ending June 1999, Phar-Mor lost $1.6 million (US$) on revenue of $1.2 billion.

The chain, which is concentrated mainly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia, also sells vitamins via its Web site. Phar-Mor promotes daily discounts of up to 50 percent, sells beer and wine, and rents videos. Its Super Phar-Mor stores also sell fresh and frozen food.


San Francisco, California-based was founded in November 1997. The host of heavy hitter venture firms that have invested in the startup include Boston Millennia Partners, Galen Partners, Health Business Partners, HealthCare Ventures, J&W Seligman & Co. Incorporated, Rho Management, Sculley Brothers, SOFTBANK Technology Ventures, Star Ventures, Swander Pace Capital and 21st Century Internet Venture Partners.

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