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Raley’s hires Revionics to offer social media rewards program

BY Alaric DeArment

AUSTIN, Texas — Supermarket chain Raley’s Family of Fine Stores has hired an Austin, Texas-based company to help it launch a new social media rewards program.

Revionics said Monday that the West Sacramento, Calif.-based chain would use its social commerce software system to power the Extra Friendzy social media rewards program. The program allows the chain to inform customers about time-sensitive and limited-quantity offers through social media channels like Facebook, as well as strengthening customer engagement, driving in-store traffic and persuading customers to join the Something Extra rewards program. Raley’s operates 128 stores in northern California and Nevada under the Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source banners.

"We are continually evaluating and adopting innovative ways to improve our marketing and customer loyalty efforts," Raley’s director of marketing, customer relationship management and analytics Tom Hutchison said, adding that the program would help keep customers engaged and ready to shop, in addition to growing advocacy for the company through social media.

 

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Walgreens’ December same-store sales up 6.1%

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday reported December sales of $7.2 billion, an increase of 7.2%. Sales in comparable stores increased by 6.1% in December. Calendar day shifts positively impacted total comparable sales by 170 basis points, while generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 70 basis points. December 2013 had one additional Tuesday and one fewer Saturday compared with December 2012. 

Total front-end sales increased 4% compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while comparable store front-end sales increased 2.5%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 1.3% while basket size increased 3.8%.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 5.3% in December and increased 2.4% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. These calendar shifts positively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 290 basis points.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores were negatively impacted by 40 basis points due to fewer flu shots in the month versus last year and were negatively impacted by 80 basis points due to the lower incidence of flu in December 2013.

December pharmacy sales increased by 10.2%, while comparable store pharmacy sales increased 9% and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 6.1%. 

Pharmacy sales accounted for 58.3% of total sales for the month.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season to date were more than 6.7 million versus nearly 5.5 million last year.

Calendar 2013 sales totaled $73.7 billion, an increase of 4.5%. Fiscal 2014 year-to-date sales for the first four months were $25.5 billion, up 6.3% as compared to the comparable period in fiscal 2013.

Walgreens opened five stores during December, including one relocation, acquired three stores and closed six.

 

 

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5 Big Ideas from the 2013 Industry Issues Summit

BY Dan Mack

“How do we develop and maintain higher level strategic partnerships?”
 
That was the theme of the recent Drug Store Industry Issues Summit in New York in December. Once a year, senior retail and manufacturing leaders get together to review the ever changing dynamics around how we create value for each other while satisfying the needs of the shopper. The summit focused on strategies for elevating retailer and manufacturer relationships, and the three stumbling blocks that hinder growth including:   

–    Almost half of all retailers and manufacturers don’t believe their partnerships are as deep as they would like.

–    Only 1/3 of all manufacturers believe risk is being jointly shared with their retail partners.  And half of retailers believe their manufacturing partners are assuming enough risk.  

–    Only 1/3 of both retailers and manufacturers believe they are being as transparent as they could be?  

If the goals are truly aligned, why is there seemingly too much lack of alignment vs. being focused on achieving mutual outcomes?   

Makes me wonder if we all truly understand each other’s interests, and are we aligned.   

The following are five big ideas that came out loud and clear during the panel discussion.   Let‘s see how you are doing.

Idea #1:  Launch Real Innovation:  To quote one senior retail executive “most new item launches have supposedly earned 2-box consumer acceptance based on prelaunch testing, but very few ever deliver on the promise.”  Real innovation fills a whitespace and is supported by your unique intellectual properties and validated with real insights that minimize risk. Setting the right financial expectations, supported with a robust 2-year marketing plan and an upfront exit strategy is the best practice in designing a new item launch plan. Do you dare being that committed?

Idea #2:   Relevant Insights:  Top retail executives are looking for new knowledge that helps them optimize their category, support changing consumer needs and brand their store.  Some of the best and most valuable “cutting edge” insights include emerging international trends or ethnographic knowledge on how their consumer utilizes products within the home. The ethnographer lives among the people (in their home), studying their habits, lifestyles, challenges while remaining objective.  This research allows you to go deeper, becoming more valuable in the eyes of the retailer.

Idea #3:   What’s Next?  All retailers shared that they want their partners to help them understand and design products which support the shopper’s changing needs.  In other words, they are looking to better understand “what’s next?”  Top retail executives want to partner with manufacturers that harness the knowledge within their broader company, and uncover new ideas bubbling up on the fringe of the market on in other countries.  It was clear that the panel is tired of hearing the same ole generic insights.  The best practice is to only share information or trends they are currently not aware of, allowing them to create the future. Retail executives are also hungry for insights on how to build stronger relationships with their core customers, Hispanics and the growing Millennial Consumer.

Idea #4:   Joint Business Planning (JBP):  The most important Joint Business Planning philosophy is to align the planning process around vision and values, while centering on shared expectations and goals.  When retailer & manufacturer think like one company, they drive mutual accountability, facilitate disruptive innovation and all departments (sales – marketing – supply chain – merchandising) are involved in the development and score carding of the business.

Transactional business planning is a waste of everyone’s time.  The best planning engagements are about solving unique category problems or creating a best in class shopping experience with the retailer’s core consumer.  It is time to think different!

Idea #5:  Ruthless Trust:  Always look to seek the ruthless truth about how you are perceived and valued by your retail partners.  The key message from our retail panel was to “have the guts to share what your expectations are and to honestly push back if you believe you are not in a win/win partnership.”

Philosophically, retailers are looking for manufacturers who are objective and category agnostic, who partner on research, uncover unmet needs while looking for gaps with the guest.  

When relationships, new item launches or promotional events breakdown, both retailer and manufacturer must ask two questions:

–     “Why didn’t our plan work?”

–    “How was the shopper negatively affected?”

Our esteemed retail panel was very clear about expectations. They are looking for real innovation, emerging insights, a peak around the corner (or what’s next?), higher level joint business planning addressing new ideas and ruthless trust from their manufacturer partners.

Let the seller beware!


Dan Mack is founder of the Mack Elevation Forum and a partner in The Swanson Group. For more insights on Dan Mack and the Elevation Forum go to www.mackelevationforum.com. To learn about his first book Dark Horse: How Challenger Companies Rise to Prominence visit www.darkhorsebook.com

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