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With subway mural shopping experience, Jean Coutu Group helps blur lines between retail box and online retailing

BY Michael Johnsen

Canada’s Jean Coutu Group is helping to bolster holiday sales with the launch of its "e-store window" inside the Longueuil Metro Station. Commuters will be able to shop a wall of deals using their smartphones with delivery before Dec. 24. 

It’s not really an example of thinking outside the box, as much as it’s eliminating the concept of a box altogether. It’s an extension of the Jean Coutu brand name into a space typically associated with billboard-style advertising, only stoppers-by can shop the space as easily as they do in the store or online.  

It’s reminiscent of Peapod Markets, partnered with Ahold USA supermarket banners, the grocery retailer donning the walls of key public transit hubs across Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington and generally statewide in Connecticut and Rhode Island. That service routinely delivers packages to more than 350,000 customers per year with an average basket size of $157 and "trips," or shopping occasions, typically happening twice per month per regular shopper.  

Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pa., just last week launched its pickup service at five stores in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery and Bucks counties

But they’re not the only companies who recently have extended their brand names beyond the traditional retail box. 

L’Oréal Paris placed an "intelligent vending experience" within the Bryant Park subway station earlier in November. The smart kiosk first detects the colors in a woman’s outfit and picks out the most prominent and related color palettes, then recommends L’Oréal Paris products to match and allows women to purchase those products on the spot, quickly and easily. The pop-up kiosk will be available through Dec. 30. 

A few suppliers are even extending their brand names into complementary retail channels with pop-up shop locations. For example, Red Carpet Manicure, which makes an at-home LED gel manicure system, has set up a Holiday Pop-Up Shop at the trend-setting emporium of fashion, accessory and beauty brands, otherwise known as Henri Bendel’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. 

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Coram acquisition is in line with CVS Caremark’s strategy

BY Antoinette Alexander

CVS Caremark is looking to acquire Coram, the specialty infusion services and enteral nutrition business unit of Apria Healthcare Group, for roughly $2.1 billion. Coram provides infusion therapies and nutrition services to more than 20,000 patients each month.

The acquisition is a significant move for CVS Caremark given the growth of the home infusion business and specialty pharmacy. Furthermore, it enables CVS Caremark to further leverage its “integration sweet spots” and is in line with the company’s strategy of investing in core businesses that will help drive growth.

The infusion services market is estimated to be around $11 billion and the acquisition will undoubtedly enable CVS Caremark to compete in the growing market as specialty infusion drugs account for a significant portion of new drugs in the pipeline.

CVS Caremark executives have long expressed the company’s commitment to expanding its role in specialty pharmacy. Specialty currently represents about 20% of the total drug spend today, but that number is projected to rise to more to than 30% by the end of the decade.

As the company has stated, this move enables CVS Caremark to be a full-service specialty provider and helps the retailer bring new approaches to market that improve the management of specialty pharmacy costs that are covered through the medical or pharmacy benefit, depending on the site of care.

 

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Rememband announces Kickstarter launch for new bracelet

BY Ryan Chavis

MINNEAPOLIS — Rememband announced on Monday the launch of the Rememband silicon bracelet on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website.  

Rememband differs from other silicon bracelets because of its writeable insert, which unlocks two potential uses for consumers. It can serve as a memory aide that can be easily updated on the fly. Rememband owners also could use the insert to create a personalized design.

"From the initial response to Rememband, things are already looking good!" Bruce Allen, creator of Rememband, said. "I’m excited to hear back from Kickstarters about the project. The feedback we’ve gotten during development has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope we attain our Kickstarter goal so we can get a final version and get some more feedback from people."

Further developments for the product are planned to roll out over the next 12 months.

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