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Walgreens. There’s a way to stay well (by getting your flu shot here)

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — There are two crucial points to come out of the Walgreens Flu Impact Report. First is that Walgreens even has a Flu Impact Report. That’s reflective of just how fast retail pharmacy is becoming the place to go for a convenient-and-affordable influenza inoculation. Second is the correlation between flu season and holiday travel that includes Thanksgiving and the December season of gift-giving events. Because it doesn’t matter where over the hill toward grandmother’s house you go, there will be a Walgreens within 3 miles of where you’ll be, so your flu shot is covered.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens Flu Impact Report: Flu derailed 3 million travel plans. For the full story, click here.)

Just how much has retail pharmacy become ensconced in the administration of flu shots? "Walgreens … administered 6.4 million flu shots during the last flu season [2010-2011] as we continued to be the largest provider of flu shots in the country outside of the government," Walgreens president, CEO and director Greg Wasson told analysts in September.

And that’s just Walgreens. CVS Caremark, Rite Aid, Walmart and just about every other retail pharmacy out there has identified vaccine delivery as a new, lucrative revenue stream.

Better, flu shots are a gateway vaccine. Because more retail pharmacies also are administering back-to-school vaccines and travel vaccines for those making winter getaways overseas. In fact, the vaccine business at retail is fast evolving into a year-long offering. And with the seasonal spike that flu brings every year, that helps not only to drive foot traffic, but also to increase awareness that patients no longer have to schedule a doctor’s appointment in time for the first day of school or that flight out of town.

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Social media an indispensable tool for retailers

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Much as the late Steve Jobs likely did not foresee the iPhone when he and Steve Wozniak hammered away at the Apple I computer, it’s unlikely that Mark Zuckerberg saw the full potential of Facebook when he and a group of friends created it in a Harvard University dormitory.

(THE NEWS: Study: Online marketing drives 21% in-store sales lift. For the full story, click here.)

But as the recent study by ComScore and DunnhumbyUSA — and retailers’ own experience — show, social media quickly is becoming an indispensable tool for modern businesses, especially retailers.

The ComScore-DunnhumbyUSA study isn’t the first to show this. A survey of 1,500 adults released in June by the marketing and public relations firm Robin Leedy & Associates found that friends had as much ability to influence people’s purchases of OTC and health-and-beauty products as television did, and that digital media had more influence in many cases than traditional media did.

Many retailers already have gotten the message.

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NBA star Carmelo Anthony promotes Ultra Sheen Men via in-store appearance at Walmart

BY Antoinette Alexander

UNION CITY, Ga. — NBA star Carmelo Anthony, now the new corporate spokesman for ethnic hair care company Johnson Products Co., made a rare personal appearance on behalf of JPC’s new men’s grooming line, Ultra Sheen Men, at a Walmart supercenter in Union City, Ga., on Sept. 17.

During the debut of CarmeloLIVE, customers were able to meet Anthony in person and had the opportunity to win prizes and receive free haircuts at the Ultra Sheen Men Grooming Lounge.

CarmeloLIVE at Walmart featured local style, fashion and fun. Maria More, 107.9 radio personality, also did a live remote to complement the Grooming Lounge. In addition, there were six local barbers from the Atlanta area who provided free haircuts, based on the purchase of any two Ultra Sheen Men products.

“Adding Carmelo Anthony to the Johnson Products family, as well as having him represent the Ultra Sheen Men brand to the community, has brought some great excitement to our new brand,” stated JPC CEO Eric Brown. “Joining forces with Walmart and bringing Carmelo to Atlanta is how we thought we could ‘step up our game’ in bringing true value to our loyal customers in Atlanta.”

The Ultra Sheen Men grooming collection, which launched in fall 2010, includes Ultra Sheen Men super hold hair dress, Ultra Sheen Men wave conditioning pomade, Ultra Sheen Men lite crème moisturizer with shea butter and the Ultra Sheen Men grooming gel.

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