Why UK’s Leading Online Pharmacy, Echo, Paused Growth at Height of Pandemic

“Ultimately, what it meant was we had to figure out ways we could resonate with an older audience . . . Stop talking to 18-year-olds and start talking to 50-year-olds!" 


This turned out to be a key, data-driven learning for Bradley Fehler, Echo’s Head of Growth, and fortunately, he and his team started to figure this out before 2020 brought unexpected and explosive growth.


Brad joins Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr on this week’s episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast to share Echo’s story of growing into England’s leading online pharmacy. The journey began when the company’s two co-founders faced different health problems and saw an opportunity to create a mobile app to meet an unsatisfied need. For many, a trip to the pharmacy is just one of life’s minor inconveniences, but for some getting their medication is a matter of life and death.


Before Covid, the business was growing well. The company had found ways to help consumers solve problems of adherence by creating a simple three-step process to get users to their first prescription delivery and then by optimizing notifications and reminders to ensure those same users were taking their doses and ordering refills as needed. But then Covid hit, and the company’s patient-base doubled in just three weeks.  


Brad explains the operational challenges of meeting that demand, and the mission-driven decisions the company made to ensure successful patient experiences.  At one point the company actually paused acquisition efforts just so everyone in the organization could focus on helping customers get their medications. Echo is a business that depends on patient trust, and one late delivery could shatter that relationship.  The company takes this responsibility very seriously.


So dive in with Sean and Ethan as The Breakout Growth Podcast looks to uncover key growth learnings with Bradley Fehler, Echo’s Head of Growth. 

We discussed:


* A mission to deliver the medications people need to get better or stay well (3:21)



* Anxiety and Asthma, the co-founder’s journey that led to Echo (4:51)



* Why Brad was excited to join a company with a patient-led approach (8:40)



* Growth to nearly 400,000 patients, accelerated by the pandemic (12:01)



* McKesson’s acquisition of Echo in June 2019 and its impact (16:34)



* Driving profitability by talking to the right audiences (17:50)



* Organizing for growth and using a North Star Metric (25:29)



* Word of Mouth Growth efforts with regulatory challenges (36:03)



And much, much, more . . . 


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