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WAG’s new site offers enhanced health options

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. —Walgreens’ top-to-bottom rejuvenation and rebranding campaign now extends to its much-visited Web site.

The chain unveiled a redesigned site Nov. 23, offering its customers a fresher image online and a broader, easier-to-access selection of healthy living and product resources. The new Walgreens.com also provides more shopping tools and services that the company said will make it easier for customers to shop online.

The relaunch of Walgreens.com has been a prime objective for the 7,105-store drug chain, in line with a top-to-bottom overhaul of its retail health mission, customer-centric merchandising presentation and go-to-market strategy. The new Web site is designed to make it easier for customers to manage their prescriptions online, and features “a selection of interactive tools to help consumers better understand and monitor their health,” the company said. The site also offers photo service enhancements and new mobile applications, Walgreens announced.

“We’ve integrated our content, products and services to offer customers a more holistic online solution,” explained Sona Chawla, SVP e-commerce. “We pride ourselves on having the most convenient locations throughout the United States, and now Walgreens is adding greater convenience for our growing numbers of customers who shop with us online.”

Among the enhancements:

Some new options under the pharmacy tab to make it easier for customers to order prescriptions and manage their prescription history. The system also can provide automatic e-mail refill reminders and refills. Under the expanded “Express Refills” feature, customers can enter a prescription number online for in-store pickup at their preferred Walgreens locations without logging in, and also can select a desired date and time for prescription pickup;

An online offering called “Walgreens Health Shops” that provides a wide selection of products, healthcare resources, care guides and calculators for heart risk and other symptoms. The interactive feature, part of the “Walgreens Healthy Living” marketing program, offers one-stop shopping for items, information and interactive tools covering allergy, blood pressure, diabetes, flu, heart health, pregnancy/new moms and weight loss;

A new tool that lets customers check the availability of products at local stores;

A Flash-based application, called Easy Image-Upload, which allows customers to add images to their online photo albums, making it easier to order prints, share photos and create personalized gifts. Photos and albums can be shared through e-mail and a wide variety of social media sites, including Facebook and MySpace; and

New mobile applications designed to bring the conveniences of Walgreens stores to any Webenabled mobile phone.

Walgreens.com now averages more than 13 million visits per month and is the most popular Web site among all drug store-based retailers, according to a study from Compete.com cited by the drug chain.

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Hy-Vee names new president

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A 28-year employee of Hy-Vee has become its new president, according to published reports.

The company appointed Randall Edeker as president of the supermarket chain Thursday at the company’s annual meeting, succeeding Ric Jurgens, who had served as president since 2001 and will maintain his position as chairman and CEO.

Edeker had previously served as EVP and COO.

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Tricare expands vaccination coverage to pharmacies, clinics

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Convenience and value. That’s what community pharmacy and their retail clinic partners deliver to their patients. And that’s what the Department of Defense is counting on in covering immunizations at local pharmacies and identifying convenient care clinics as network providers — two separate pieces of news issued within the past month that really underscore the importance of pharmacies and retail clinics in the delivery of health care today.

Prior to these announcements, military personnel interested in getting their flu shots had to schedule an appointment with their doctor, as Tricare only covered the cost of shots delivered in a doctor’s office.

“As a convenient and accessible healthcare provider, pharmacy is uniquely positioned to offer services for patients, such as vaccinations,” stated Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Anderson noted that as of earlier this year, pharmacists have the ability to immunize patients in all 50 states. “[This] presents an important opportunity for pharmacists to counsel patients during their visit, and an additional healthcare provider from which to obtain these vaccinations.”

It’s also quite a bit of opportunity for pharmacy — Tricare provides healthcare coverage for 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries pick up almost 2.3 million prescriptions every week, and 1.2 million of those at retail pharmacies, according to Tricare .

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