Chemist Warehouse Review – The Cheapest Pharmacy?

Chemist Warehouse is a large pharmacy chain in Australia with an online service, that boasts having the cheapest prices. So are they actually cheaper, are they profitable and what are the pros and cons of shopping here?

The Good

  • Chemist Warehouse offers 10% off any competitor’s price
  • Online store accepts prescriptions.
  • Regularly offers discounts and half price specials
  • Offers Free Click & Collect or Free Delivery (orders over $50)
  • Online customers have Option of using Afterpay
  • Chemist Warehouse often features on Cash Back Apps such as ShopBack and Cashrewards, meaning even further discounts.

The Bad

  • May be understaffed – you may have to wait a long time to consult with a pharmacist or staff member.
  • The Pharmacy Guild has criticised Chemist Warehouse as they believe that the business model adopted by Chemist Warehouse threatens health care standards.
  • In the past, complaints have been made to the Fair Work Ombudsman regarding underpayment of staff.
  • Many review sites such as Product Review have published reports of poor customer service.
  • Customers who do not do price checks may actually be paying more for their items.
  • Not all products are found online, and prices online can vary slightly compared to instore prices

Verdict: Some poor customer reviews and issues of understaffing at times, however, prices really do seem to be the cheapest and I’ll keep shopping here.

Introduction

Jack Gance and his brother Sam began their business in 1972 with the creation of one pharmacy, and in 2000 they joined forces with Mario Verrocchi to create the Chemist Warehouse Group. Today, Chemist Warehouse calls itself the cheapest pharmacy in Australia, and the company has more than 400 stores along with an online pharmacy service that regularly offers discounts. It is controlled by his nephew, Damien Gance. Although its customers appreciate making huge savings on pharmaceuticals, there have been quite a few criticisms of poor service, both in its stores and online. For customers who are willing to look for promotion codes and other discounts, they will be almost certain to get their products for the lowest possible prices at Chemist Warehouse.

chemist warehouse

How many Chemist Warehouse stores are in Australia?

 Chemist Warehouse is one of the largest chains of pharmacies in Australia with more than 350 Chemist Warehouse retailers and with the company controlling more than 400 stores.

You can find a retailer near you by using their Store Locator HERE.

Who owns Chemist Warehouse Australia?

 Chemist Warehouse Australia was started by pharmacist Jack Gance and his business associate, Mario Verrocchi. The company is now controlled by Gance’s nephew, Damien Gance. It is an Australian company and uses a franchise structure. Last year the company made an announcement that it would make an initial public offering (IPO), but as yet it has not happened.

Is Chemist Warehouse the biggest chemist chain in Australia?

 With about 500 retail outlets, Terry White Chemmart has a larger number of pharmacies, but its annual sales are much lower than those of Chemist Warehouse Australia and it has a much smaller market share. Chemist Warehouse Australia also has a large online pharmacy business, and because of this, it has 50% market share, and has been labelled Australia’s largest pharmacy retailer.

Is Chemist Warehouse genuine?

 Chemist Warehouse retail stores are definitely genuine. Chemist Warehouse is often described as the Bunnings of pharmaciesbecause of the way the stores look. They are large and everything about them makes them look like cheap warehouses, similar to the way that Bunnings or Costco organise their stores. Because they look inexpensive, customers tend to think that the products are also cheap. The use of the word “warehouse” in their name is intentional and gives the customer an impression of a space that sells cheap, bulk products. Chemist Warehouse doesn’t just look cheap. In fact, the products that it sells are often cheaper than the listed sale price of their competitors.

chemist warehouse
You can shop for a wide range of products in-store and online. Don’t forget to check the Clearance section!

Is Chemist Warehouse actually cheaper?

Chemist Warehouse products can be cheaper than at other pharmacies. They have regular sales on products and they also offer 10% off if you find cheaper prices displayed elsewhere. By making this offer, it is possible to have a different pricing structure for different people. When customers shop around to find lower prices, they will definitely find that Chemist Warehouse is cheaper. It might not work out that way for people who just walk into a store and hope to get the lowest price. For online shoppers, it is important to search for promotion codes because with those codes you can get discounts of up to 80% on some products. You won’t be offered those discounts if you don’t have the code, and you won’t make any savings.

How can Chemist Warehouse offer cheaper prices?

 Chemist Warehouse is able to offer cheaper prices because of the number of stores they own. They are able to get significant discounts from their suppliers which they pass on to their customers. The Chemist Warehouse Group makes sales of $4 billion worth of medicines, vitamin and mineral supplements, and beauty products every year through its Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist and My Beauty Spot brands.

Is Chemist Warehouse profitable?

Chemist Warehouse Australia has a complicated ownership structure which makes it difficult to determine the company’s actual size. It is known, however, that Chemist Warehouse has annual sales of more than $4 billion and it has more than 50% market share of pharmaceutical retailers. Company profits seem to have been falling in the last few years, but it is believed that the company is still very profitable. The Chemist Warehouse group has announced that it is planning an initial public offering (IPO) on the ASX, so the company must be very successful.

Advantages of using Chemist Warehouse

  • Chemist Warehouse offers 10% off any competitor’s price which means that if you shop around, you will be able to get the best possible price for the items you buy.
  • Chemist Warehouse online store accepts prescriptions. You can easily get your prescriptions delivered instead of going to the pharmacy.
  • Chemist Warehouse regularly offers discounts on its products. Its weekly online catalogue publishes shows the sale items for that week. If you use promotion codes you can get discounts of up to 80% depending on the product. Inside the store, you will also find discounts.
  • As well as delivering prescriptions, Chemist Warehouse also has a click and collect service where you can order your prescriptions ahead of time and quickly pick them up at the store.
  • When you do online shopping at Chemist Warehouse, you will get free shipping for orders over $50
  • Online customers have the option of using Afterpay for their orders, allowing them to pay for their items in installments over a period of 6 weeks.
  • Chemist Warehouse often features on Cash Back Apps such as ShopBack and Cashrewards, meaning even further discounts.

“Medicine delivery requires your local Chemist Warehouse pharmacy to have a copy of your prescription. The easiest way is to leave your prescriptions on file at the Pharmacy.”

Chemist Warehouse – FAQs (Medicine delivery)

 Disadvantages of using Chemist Warehouse

  • Many stores are understaffed and you may have to wait a long time to consult with a pharmacist. You may have to wait at the counter for someone to serve you and it is very rare to find staff who are able to serve you in the aisles of the store.
  • The Pharmacy Guild has criticised Chemist Warehouse as they believe that the business model adopted by Chemist Warehouse threatens health care standards. If you’re concerned, you should always consult your own healthcare professional.
  • In the past, complaints have been made to the Fair Work Ombudsman regarding underpayment of staff. However, this was resolved in 2020. Despite this, there are still many complaints by staff regarding individual retailers being understaffed and overworked while still receiving low wages. For more information go to Indeed Chemist Warehouse reviews.
  • Many review sites such as Product Review have published reports of poor customer service. Some customers have complained of rude staff inside individual retail stores while others have complained that the online service does not deal with problems quickly and do not reply to complaints.
  • Because Chemist Warehouse offers a 10% discount for those who find a lower price, it means that the prices will be different for different customers. Customers who do not do price checks may actually be paying more for their items.
  • Not all products are found online, and prices online can vary slightly compared to instore prices

FAQs about Chemist Warehouse

Is My Chemist the same as Chemist Warehouse?

 According to their website, My Chemist is a group of independent pharmacies working together. However, it appears that there is an affiliation between My Chemist and Chemist Warehouse. It is believed that the Chemist Warehouse brand is actually part of the My Chemist Retail Group. It controls many Chemist Warehouse stores as well as My Beauty Sport and ePharmacy. It also has a franchise agreement with Chemist Warehouse, Malaysia.

Is Chemist Warehouse a franchise?

The founders of Chemist Warehouse use a franchise structure which allows them to avoid the strict limits on how many pharmacies an operator can own in an area. The official limit is 6 in any state or territory, but there are more than 400 Chemist Warehouse stores in Australia, a number that is more than 10 times that limit. It is believed that the two company founders have directorships of more than 100 stores across the country.

Who founded Chemist Warehouse?

 The Chemist Warehouse Group was founded by Jack Gance and Mario Verrocchi in 2000. Jack Gance opened a pharmacy with his bother Sam in 1972. From this one pharmacy, they went on to open a small chain of pharmacies. They also created a number of brands such as Le Tan sunscreen, Le Specs sunglasses, Australis Fragrance, and Colours of Australis cosmetics. It was later that they created the Chemist Warehouse Group.

chemist warehouse
You have the option of Click & Collect (Free), or Free Delivery with orders over $50.

Do they offer online shopping?

Chemist Warehouse calls itself Australia’s cheapest online pharmacy and as well as selling over the counter medications, it also accepts e-prescriptions. In addition, there is a click and collect service where you can order online and pick up your items in the store. It also delivers and offers free delivery on orders of more than $50. They do however state that actual products and product packaging delivered may vary slightly from the product image that was shown online. This is probably the cause of several negative online reviews.

“(For Click & Collect) you can expect for the order to be ready for pick up within 4 hours. If your order is placed within 4 hours of the store’s closing time, you can expect your order to be ready by 11am the next day.”

Chemist warehouse – FAQs (click & Collect)

Conclusion

Chemist Warehouse is a franchise with more than 400 stores and is known for its large retail stores that look like cheap warehouses. Through its massive purchasing power, Chemist Warehouse can offer much cheaper prices than many other pharmacies in Australia. It offers discounts through promotion codes online (check websites such as Finder), regular discounts in-store as well as through offering 10% off a competitor’s lowest price. Although some customers have made complaints about both their in-store shopping experiences and online customer service, it is never short of customers because the prices are so low. Chemist Warehouse continues to promote hot offers, savings comparisons and regular specials. Don’t forget to check the clearance section!

eBusiness Institute
Pearler
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Pearler
eBusiness Institute
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