Business Challenge

Whether it’s remembering to take medication or hit a daily exercise goal, looking after your personal wellbeing can sometimes be stressful. What if there was an easier way to manage your health?


Working with Relatech, Apoteca Natura harnessed the power of IBM Cloud™ and IBM Watson solutions to design an integrated healthcare app that can transform customers’ approach to personal wellbeing.


Fills the gap

between patients and healthcare professionals, providing customized advice

5,000 therapy reminders

shared via the app since launch, with more added every day

100,000s of users

supported thanks to flexible and scalable cloud solution

Business challenge story

Seeking a holistic approach to healthcare

What do training for a marathon and managing a loved-one’s health have in common? Both require keeping to a schedule, setting goals and recording progress—information that can be easy to lose track of, especially if you’re trying to fit the activities around a busy daily life. What if you could manage your wellbeing—and much more—with a few taps on your smartphone screen?

Apoteca Natura’s pharmacists are highly qualified to provide advisory services for most non-urgent health concerns. The company realized that by creating an interactive, personalized wellbeing service, it could build much closer relationships with its customers than other health retail stores.

Alessia Scarpocchi, Market and Digital Strategies Director at Aboca Group, explains: “We were confident that if we could create a digital service for customers to manage their health and wellbeing, we could empower them to make better-informed lifestyle decisions. For more complex issues, the aim was to direct customers to our pharmacists for expert guidance and support.

“Providing this service had the potential to nurture the loyalty of our customers and drive our business growth. Our goal was to integrate information about therapies, products and services into a single, user-friendly platform that enabled customers to set reminders to take medication or perform exercise. To realize our vision, we looked for a way to develop, test and launch the new service online and on mobile.”

Deploying our Health & Loyalty System in the IBM Cloud has already helped us to onboard hundreds of thousands of users.

Alessia Scarpocchi, Marketing Director, Apoteca Natura

Transformation story

Putting healthy knowledge in people’s pockets

Apoteca Natura reached out to IBM and IBM Business Partner Relatech to help design its innovative Health & Loyalty System. Through the MyApotecaNatura application—available online and on mobile devices—customers can monitor their health data, count their steps, set therapy reminders and receive personal healthcare updates. The service is also linked to Apoteca Natura’s MyCard customer loyalty program, and enables customers to make purchases and collect and redeem loyalty points.

Apoteca Natura predicts that its Health & Loyalty System will also provide invaluable data such as customer purchasing habits and frequently asked healthcare questions, which could enable the company to tailor its offerings to serve customers more effectively.

To create the solution, Relatech selected key IBM technologies that would enable a start-small grow-fast approach, as well as ensuring high levels of security. Relatech built the MyApotecaNatura application on IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service, a pure cloud offering that removes the need for capital investment in infrastructure. Additionally, applications within IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service can be scaled easily and quickly to allow for growth, with automated services such as load balancing that eliminate the need for manual work.

Silvio Cosoleto, Sales Director at Relatech, comments: “IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service is a true time-saver for DevOps. We can deploy and extend our apps on a weekly basis, with almost limitless scalability and flexibility.”

Alessia Scarpocchi adds: “Deploying our Health & Loyalty System in the IBM Cloud has already helped us to onboard hundreds of thousands of users. So far, our users have tracked more than 150,000 health assessment metrics and set more than 5,000 therapy reminders via the app.”

Relatech selected IBM Db2® on Cloud to provide enterprise levels of data security and integrity, ensure reliable, robust management of customer details, and enable the customer loyalty analytics that would shape Apoteca Natura’s business decisions.

Closely integrated with data management, Relatech deployed IBM Watson™ Campaign Automation, a digital marketing automation platform designed to put the power of data in the hands of the marketer. IBM Watson Campaign Automation analyses the customer behavioral data to help Apoteca Natura create focused marketing campaigns through multiple channels, such as email, web, mobile apps, SMS, social and more.

While the MyApotecaNatura application is at the heart of the new solution, the Health & Loyalty System also includes dashboards tailored for Apoteca Natura’s pharmacists and business users. The pharmacy dashboard enables pharmacists to visualize customers’ health profiles during consultations, while the business dashboard displays key-performance indicators across the retail and pharmacy businesses.

Alessia Scarpocchi says: “We can leverage IBM Watson Campaign Automation to identify customers whose habits have changed—for example, if they stop tracking their exercise in the app—and send customized notifications to reignite their interest and perhaps enhance their wellbeing.”

We look forward to having IBM and Relatech by our side throughout this exciting journey towards better healthcare for all.

Alessia Scarpocchi, Marketing Director, Apoteca Natura

Results story

Improving healthcare, boosting loyalty

Hundreds of thousands of users have signed up to MyApotecaNatura, and the service is already extending the role of the company’s pharmacists by connecting them directly to customers. For the first time, Apoteca Natura can identify individual customer’s healthcare needs and consumer preferences in fine-grained detail.

Using MyApotecaNatura, customers gain a real-time, up-to-date, and user-friendly view of their health and fitness. The app helps users put themselves at the center of their own personal journeys to better, smarter health, and gives them access to expert help at the touch of a button.

Alessia Scarpocchi concludes, “While at the moment we are solely focused on ramping up our current version of the system, we are confident that our relationship with IBM and Relatech offers enormous potential to grow in the future. We chose IBM Cloud because it will enable us to scale up our environment seamlessly and easily, and add analytics, marketing and additional business capabilities to meet our needs.

“For example, we are considering adding a virtual assistant to MyApotecaNatura, and rolling it out to customers beyond Italy and Spain. The IBM Cloud really gives us the ability to grow the business and open up new markets; we look forward to having IBM and Relatech by our side throughout this exciting journey towards better healthcare for all.”

Apoteca Natura

Established in 2000 and part of the Aboca Group, Apoteca Natura is a network consisting of 950 pharmacies—620 located in Italy, and 330 in Spain. Specializing in “health through awareness”, Apoteca Natura promotes high levels of customer engagement through digital tools, expert and personalized advice and a holistic approach to healthcare that includes natural healthcare products.

Take the next step

Founded in 2001 and headquartered near Milan, Relatech Group is an Italian technology partner and digital and system integrator provider. Its team of 200 highly-skilled technology experts works across locations in Milan, Naples and Cosenza. 

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