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Walgreens Boots Alliance names new communications VP

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens Boots Alliance on Monday named Gulden Mesara-Dogan vice president communications USA.

“We are thrilled that Gulden is joining the Walgreens Boots Alliance communications team to lead many of our critical functions,” Chuck Greener, senior vice president for global communications and corporate affairs, Walgreens Boots Alliance, said. “Her experience and expertise across the spectrum of communications operations, especially in the health care industry, will help to take our organization and impact to an even higher level as Walgreens Boots Alliance begins its fourth year as a global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.”

In her new role at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Mesara-Dogan will oversee a number of communications areas serving the enterprise and U.S. businesses and operations. These include the Walgreens communications division, Walgreens external communications and the Walgreens Boots Alliance internal communications and corporate events groups. She will report to Greener.

Mesara-Dogan will serve alongside Laura Vergani, vice president, international and divisional communications, who also will continue to report to Greener in her role overseeing international communications.

Mesara-Dogan was most recently vice president of global commercial and health communications at AbbVie. At AbbVie, she led communications and patient relations for all of AbbVie’s marketed products, pipeline assets and regional business priorities.

Prior to that Mesara-Dogan was 13 years at Pfizer, where she held positions in marketing, communications and public affairs, including as regional head of communications across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and top emerging markets across the world.

Earlier in her career Gulden worked for Ketchum and Noonan/Russo Communications, both based in New York City.

 

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Sobeys, Ocado bring online grocery services to Canadians

BY DSN STAFF

Sobeys a food retailer based in Stellarton, Canada has announced plans to partner with the Ocado Group, a Hatfield, United Kingdom-based online supermarket. Together both companies are aiming towards building an online grocery platform that will serve Canadians. The joint venture will include online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery services.

“Sobeys intends to play to win in Canadian online grocery shopping. We are very excited to bring this best-in-the-world grocery e-commerce experience to Canadian customers,” Michael Medline, president and CEO of Sobeys said. “This unique and innovative Sobeys and Ocado experience will offer consumers the biggest selection, freshest products and most reliable delivery available anywhere on the planet. Our end-to-end e-commerce solution will allow Sobeys to build an online offer in a manner that is profitable and creates exceptional value for our customers, investors and supplier partners.”

The business will be built on the Ocado Smart Platform and will include:

  • best-in-class, front-end website functionality, supported by its proprietary ‘webshop’ and mobile grocery ordering applications;
  • construction of Ocado’s latest generation, state-of-the-art automated warehouse designed specifically for grocery e-commerce; and
  • last-mile routing management technology to optimize delivery truck efficiency, customer service excellence and punctuality.

Both companies also are developing their first Customer Fulfillment Centre in the greater Toronto area, which is expected to take approximately two years.

“We are delighted to be working with one of the leaders in North American grocery retailing. Sobeys is a highly successful and much admired Canadian business and we are proud that they have chosen Ocado Solutions to partner with to build their online grocery business,” CEO of Ocado Group, Tim Steiner said.

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Amazon’s no-cashier store opens its doors

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

After more than a year of fits and starts, Amazon opened the doors of its cashier-less Amazon Go store to the public on Jan. 22.

The 1,800 sq.-ft. store, located in an Amazon office building in downtown Seattle, touts advanced shopping technology that supports what Amazon calls a “just walk out shopping experience” — one that doesn’t require cashiers or any type of formal checkout. The format combines computer vision, sensor fusion, and machine-learning algorithms, along with a dedicated app.

Amazon Go opened its doors in a test mode in December 2016, open exclusively to Amazon employees. The company’s website teased that it would open to the public in early 2017, but glitches with the technology pushed back its public debut.

The format features fresh ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options, grocery essentials —from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates — as well as Amazon Meal Kits.

Here’s how it works: Shoppers launch the Amazon Go app as they enter the store, and take the products they want off of store shelves. The “walk out” technology automatically detects when products are taken off (or returned) to the shelves, and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When customers are done shopping, they just leave the store. Shortly after, they receive a digital receipt and their Amazon account is also charged for the order, according to the website.

The online giant has not yet announced any expansion plans for Amazon Go. It also said it has no plans to add the technology to its Whole Foods Market stores, according to Reuters.

Amazon Go is part of Amazon’s ongoing push into brick-and-mortar retail, which includes Amazon Books stores, Amazon Fresh Pickup locations for online groceries, and its 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods.

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