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Loyalty360 Q&A: Walgreens focused on growing share of its most valued customers

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK – Over the course of Walgreens Boots Alliance 2015 Analyst Day, Alex Gourlay EVP Walgreens Boots Alliance and president of Walgreens, promised analysts that the Walgreens Balanced Rewards loyalty program would be getting a makeover. Already the program boasts 80 million users to which Walgreens Boots Alliance had the capability to deliver as many as 30 million personalized offers. 
 
Part of Walgreens strategy is to build and retain its share of its most valued customers. More so, it turns out, than investing in attracting new customers to the business, according to a question-and-answer piece Loyalty360, the Loyalty Marketers' Association, published on Thursday
 
"The value that an existing high value customer brings to the business is much greater than that of the average new customer," Mindy Heintskill, senior director, loyalty and vendor collaboration for Walgreens, explained to Loyalty360. "As such, it makes more sense to focus on investing in the retention of high value customers."
 
But focusing on retention over acquisition can be a tough sell, Heintskill added. "Some people believe that retention-based programs focused on rewarding high value customers give money away to customers who would have purchased anyway. Contrary to this point of view we’ve realized incremental sales in each of the Balance Rewards 'thank you' campaigns when compared to a control group," she said. "Significantly, the majority of the incremental sales are generated from existing brand buyers. In addition to the short term benefits, the program has provided the long term benefit of improved retention/loyalty."
 
Heintskill, along with Lisa Zhao, senior manager of loyalty and vendor collaboration, Walgreens, and David Hess, head of analytics, emnos, will present a session titled, “Driving Customer Engagement and Sales Growth through Personalized Marketing” at the 8th annual Loyalty Expo, presented by Loyalty360, April 27-29, 2015, at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando in Orlando, Fla.
 
 
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Report: Proposed medical marijuana bill in Louisiana would facilitate creation of distribution system

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW IBERIA, La. — Medical marijuana may be legal in Louisiana but state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, has introduced legislation to help establish a legal distribution system, which, according to a local news report, the state currently lacks.

According to The Daily Iberian, Senate Bill 143 would name several parties, including the state Board of Pharmacy and the state District Attorneys Association, as parties to craft a system of “checks and balances.”

Mills, a pharmacist, has introduced similar legislation in previous legislative sessions. However, this version includes a line — at the request of law enforcement leaders — that bans smoked or inhaled forms of marijuana, according to the report.
 

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Walgreens doesn’t clown around with its new Red Nose charity campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

 

 
 
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens Boots Alliance, in partnership with NBC, is bringing a United Kingdom tradition across the Pond with Red Nose Day this May. In preparation Walgreens nationwide will begin exclusively selling red noses on Friday, April 17, in support of Red Nose Day on May 21.

Red Nose Day has been celebrated in the United Kingdom for more than 25 years and encourages people to don red noses and have a good laugh for a good cause. As the starting point for the first Red Nose Day in the United States, Walgreens is raising funds in support of the Red Nose Day Fund, which supports non-profit organizations that help lift children and young people out of poverty in the United States and overseas. 

 
“Happiness and health are at the heart of Walgreens mission and at the heart of what Red Nose Day is all about. Just the simple, silly act of putting on a red nose means that anyone can benefit children in poverty,” said Alex Gourlay, president of Walgreens. “We’re thrilled to join Red Nose Day as the exclusive red nose retailer in the U.S. and encourage our entire Walgreens family – our customers, employees, and vendor partners – to join us in having a good laugh for a good cause.”
 
As the exclusive retail partner for Red Nose Day, Walgreens makes getting involved in this fun-fueled campaign easy and convenient. From April 17 through May 30, Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide will sell red noses for $1 each, with proceeds contributed to the Red Nose Day Fund.
 
Walgreens kick-started red nose sales early today in its hometown of Chicago with a fun and surprising celebration to commemorate the first red nose sale. Disguised as Walgreens employees, members of the Chicago-based improvisation comedy troupe Second City broke into an unexpected comedic performance for shoppers after Audrey Bliss of Chicago officially purchased the country’s first red nose. The event was candidly captured on film and posted to Walgreens YouTube channel Thursday morning. 
 
"It was surprising to be one of the first to buy a red nose,” said Bliss, the first customer to purchase a red nose in America. “Giving $1 is easy enough to make a big impact. It feels so good to give back to charity."
 
Noses will be for sale at Walgreens stores nationwide beginning April 17 through May 30. Red Nose Day’s five-week campaign will culminate in NBC’s televised fundraising event in New York City on May 21 (8-11 p.m. ET).  The live three-hour benefit will feature popular comedians, top musicians and Hollywood stars, featuring an engaging mix of great comedy, live musical performances and short, compelling films shedding light on the cause.  
 
Proceeds benefit the Red Nose Day Fund, which supports the following pre-selected charity partners: Boys & Girls Clubs of America; charity: water; Children’s Health Fund; Feeding America; Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund; LIFT; National Council of La Raza; National Urban League; Oxfam America; Save the Children and United Way.
 
To encourage people to spread laughter and awareness of Red Nose Day, Walgreens invites everyone to join the fun by sharing their #RedNose photos in social media. Starting April 17th, by snapping a selfie wearing a red nose and uploading it to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #Walgreens, #RedNose and #promo, consumers will have the chance to win a trip to New York to attend the official Red Nose Day celebration event on May 21. Shoppers in select stores in 10 markets will even be able to capture their silliest red nose photos via in-store selfie stations, complete with props and backdrops.
 

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