| 3 min
The market seemed surprised that Amazon announced its intention to acquire PillPack last week. The real surprise isn’t that Amazon acquired PIllPack, it’s that Walmart did not.
It was reported back in April that Walmart was considering purchasing the online pharmacy start-up. By not acquiring PillPack, Walmart missed the opportunity to become a leader in driving better medication adherence with the Medicare population.
So what might have went wrong for Walmart?
In a dynamic market it can be difficult to identify the competitors that may disrupt your industry. In this instance, Walmart should have known that PillPack would have been a target for Amazon. Amazon entered the healthcare space when they partnered with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan to form a nonprofit health initiative earlier this year. Amazon has stated their intention to expand into areas where they feel a focus on technology and supply chain can save customers time and simplify the purchasing experience. The acquisition of PillPack gives Amazon the deep pharmacy experience they lack which makes them a perfect fit.
Really “knowing” your competitor takes time and effort. It starts with developing a deep understanding of a company’s drivers, past history, strategy, tactics, customers, products, markets, management, expansion plans, financials, intellectual property, etc., while also keeping abreast of the many start-ups that enter the market each year. All told, this can be pretty challenging. Technology solutions like Cipher’s Knowledge360® automate the collection process thereby saving time and effort and allowing CI teams to focus their efforts on predicting their competitors' next move.
Another possible reason for PillPack being acquired by Amazon is that Amazon moved more quickly toward a decision than Walmart did. Amazon is known for their nimbleness and rapid response to opportunities. If Walmart was considering this acquisition in early April, as was reported, with the knowledge that one move by Amazon could be a game-changer, one has to wonder why they did not move more quickly.
The ability to reach decisions quickly is essential to succeeding in a dynamic environment. Knowledge360® facilitates access to critical intelligence on your market to enable teams to make quick but well-informed go or no-go decisions.
“He who hesitates is lost,” seems to apply in this situation. I am certain Walmart will acquire a company with a similar offering in the near future to match Amazon, but they lost their chance to lead in this space.
I look forward to the next round in this battle.
Dawn helps companies in the Life Sciences space map their competitive environment, develop intelligence strategies which identify risks, and position them for future growth. Prior to joining Cipher, Dawn worked for many years in the Healthcare space in leadership roles at Cigna, Schering-Plough, Pharmacia (now Pfizer) and Johnson & Johnson companies Ortho Biotech and Ortho-McNeil, and in the Management Consulting space for Right Management.