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Retailers connect through giving

BY Michael Johnsen

 

CVS Health president and CEO Larry Merlo and CFO Dave Denton

Every day retailers leverage their strong neighborhood bonds to feed some mighty and noble causes. Here are some — but not all — of our current favorites.

(To view the full Special Report, click here.)

Walgreens: Red Nose Day

Walgreens Boots Alliance, in partnership with NBC, brought over a U.K. tradition in 2015 with Red Nose Day, which supports nonprofit organizations that help lift children out of poverty. Walgreens sold red noses for $1 in the weeks leading up to NBC’s televised fundraising event. The three-hour benefit helped raise more than $21 million for the cause, more than one-third of which came out of the Walgreens partnership. “We really exceeded all of the goals that we put forth for the organization,” said Linn Jordan, Walgreens Boots Alliance director marketing, strategy and planning. “We want to carry forward the momentum that we’ve accomplished with Red Nose Day into other initiatives … that we celebrate and support as a part of our overall purpose.”

CVS Health: Stand Up To Cancer

CVS Health supports Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program founded by the Entertainment Industry Foundation that supports innovative cancer research. In September, CVS Health and SU2C introduced the public service campaign, “It’s Impossible to Beat Cancer Alone,” to raise awareness on the importance of collaboration. That awareness effort was followed by CVS Health’s second annual in-store fundraising campaign, which is part of a three-year, $10 million commitment. “We’re so proud to collaborate with Stand Up To Cancer to positively impact people living with cancer,” said Helena Foulkes, president, CVS/pharmacy. “Join- ing our colleagues and customers in supporting this groundbreaking research is a great extension of CVS Health’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

Rite Aid: KidCents

The biggest outreach of Rite Aid’s philanthropic arm is KidCents, which supports nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children. Rite Aid loyalty card holders have the ability to designate specific charities to give their change to on Kidcents.com. Most recently, the Rite Aid Foundation donated $1.3 million to Folds of Honor, an organization dedicated to providing educational scholarships to children of fallen or disabled veterans. “KidCents is really the umbrella that we’re hanging everything on,” said Ken Martindale, CEO Rite Aid Stores and president Rite Aid Corp. “Everything we’re doing, we’re trying to bring it down to the local community that we operate in.”

Walmart: Greenlight a Vet

Walmart most recently launched Greenlight a Vet, which includes a promise by Walmart to hire 250,000 veterans by 2020. In addition, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have pledged $20 million in grants to organizations that provide veteran job training, education and community-based collaboration. “Through continued, collaborative work with our nonprofit partners, we greenlight innovative public and private community-based initiatives that address the navigation challenges many of our veterans face when returning to the civilian workforce and their communities,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation was established in 1993 in honor of co-founder J.L. Turner, who was functionally illiterate. Since then, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and schools that have helped more than 6 million individuals learn to read, prepare for the high school equivalency test or learn the English language.

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Top 10 disruptive retail trends for 2016

BY Dan Berthiaume

NEW YORK — Enterprise technology provider Software AG is expecting retail to become an increasingly seamless and store-centric proposition in 2016.
 
“The worlds of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail are now seamlessly merging with retailers evolving towards an omnichannel approach to their businesses,” said Oliver Guy, retail industry director, Software AG. “Mobile, cloud, analytics and social media will be fully integrated into a unified merchandising system designed to vastly improve customer engagement. The notion that ‘the store is dead’ is not, in our opinion, the future – rather, stores will become highly technology-enabled to deliver a super-personalized customer experience and become the hub of omnichannel customer-centricity. These new predictions highlight our view of the retail industry in the coming year.”
 
Here are Software AG’s top 10 disruptive digital trends it is predicting for 2016:
 
1. Brick-and-mortar stores will add fewer new outlets as they take a “hub and spoke” approach, acting as pick up and fulfillment centers with the “endless aisle” concept extending shelf space to the brand’s full catalogue of products and accessible content.
 
2. Customer-centric personalization will be the must-have differentiator for retailers and will become much more targeted as retailers tap into internal information, known preferences, and social media data to better understand and delight their customers.
 
3. Differentiation by price will be much more dynamic in nature, with real-time electronic shelf pricing replicating customers’ online experiences.
 
4. The complexity of omnichannel processes and how these interact with multiple systems will need further control; a kind of “mission control” center where retailers can see and control every activity across all channels.
 
5. Predictive analytics in retail will enable stores to know, with a great deal of certainty, what customers are going to want and when.
 
6. The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to revolutionize the store of the future, with its sensor-oriented devices enabling the most detailed and targeted customer centricity.
 
7. Futuristic technology, such as augmented reality, beacons, and anonymous analytical face detectors, will immerse customers in the shopping experience.
 
8. Real-time monitoring capability will be critical for the store of the future, in order to sense, correlate and automate processes from staffing to inventory.
 
9. Retailers will further customize and personalize instant gratification “buy buttons”, with the expectation that these will translate into higher earnings. But they will need to make strategic technology investments to ensure real-time inventory is understood and the complex processes involved in new channels are orchestrated correctly.
 
10. Real-time inventory visibility will dominate as retailers strive to keep the customers informed of stocks at all times. Retailers will control inventories by applying technology that shows inventory levels across all channels.
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