Walgreens’ Shannon Curtin: ‘Exclusivity 
of experience is large differentiator’

Shannon Curtin, Walgreens divisional VP and GMM for beauty, personal care and seasonal, addresses attendees of the Mack Elevation Forum on Oct. 17 in Wheeling, Ill.

WHEELING, Ill. — “When you create something for [our various retail concepts], you are creating a new experience and environment that makes us different than our competitive set. Exclusivity of the experience is a large differentiator.” That was a key message that keynote retail speaker Shannon Curtin, Walgreens divisional VP and GMM for beauty, personal care and seasonal, had for attendees of the Oct. 17 Mack Elevation Forum, held here at the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel. More than 20 suppliers gathered to attend the all-day event, founded by Dan Mack, managing director of Mack Elevation Forum and strategy leader of The Swanson Group.

Curtin attended the event to offer critical insights into how to successfully and strategically align with Walgreens.

When looking to work with Walgreens, suppliers need to be aware of the various formats under the retailer’s banner, including flagship locations and Well Experience stores, she said. They must also determine the best fit for the community they will mutually serve by thinking about how to create a unique experience within that respective format and passing what Curtin referred to as a “gut check.” 

“Within each of these stores, make a proposal to us that the customer always has to win first. Then assure the proposal aligns with our mission and strategy. For example, in a flagship store, the world is open to you to co-create whatever you would like to propose, and we are happy to entertain those new ideas,” said Curtin, who also stressed that the proposed product/solution must be exclusive to Walgreens and unique to the market. “In these flagship stores, it is for us to showcase the best of the best.”

Curtin also discussed the future of private brands and told attendees that while Walgreens will continue to support private brand, it is eager to entertain potential partnerships between noncompeting private and national brands. “If you have an idea to partner with one of our private brands, we think that’s a great solution,” she said.

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