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Walgreen’s E-commerce Initiatives Pay Off

Walgreens has launched several mobile initiatives in recent months. The most far reaching has been a push to link its brick-and-mortar inventory with its e-commerce operations.

The goal, according to an interview Ron Kelly, vice president of customer and pharmacy service, e-commerce, gave Internet Retailer, was to target customers that would go online to see what the drug store chain carried and then run out to the local outlet to purchase it immediately.

In the year since the store linked its inventory to its e-commerce site, customers have responded positively, he said, and foot traffic in its stores has measurably increased.

A Mobile Play

Walgreens has been enhancing its digital bona fides in many areas, not just the complex field of back-end-front end integration. Last month it rolled out several mobile features including a Pill Reminder and Transfer by Scan for customers to better manage their prescription needs and foster greater medication adherence.

Pill Reminder allows Walgreens iPhone mobile app users to track medication schedules and receive alerts through nine different reminder options, such as daily, hourly, weekly and other customizable selections. Transfer by Scan enables iPhone and Android users to transfer a prescription from another pharmacy to Walgreens.

A 500% Increase in Mobile Apps Use

Walgreens' mobile pharmacy features, the retailer said, have helped increase use of its mobile apps by nearly 500% last year. For instance, Refill by Scan, which launched in November 2010 and allows patients to order refills by scanning a prescription barcode with their smartphone, now generates more than 40% of all Walgreens online refills and accounts for more transactions than any other feature within the application.

The refill reminder and prescription ready text alerts are used by more than 2 million Walgreens pharmacy customers.

Marketing Initiatives

Walgreens has also focused on mobile marketing initiatives, teaming up with Foursquare to offer shoppers mobile coupons in a first for both companies.

Walgreens billed the offering as a one-step, one-click process. "No text to get a coupon. No print out an offer. No show the check in deal to the cashier…just check in, scan and pay," wrote Adam Kmiec, head of social media at Walgreens, when the product launched last month.

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