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Kmart debuts new check-cashing program

BY Ryan Chavis

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart has announced a new perk for its Shop Your Way program. Members can now cash payroll and government checks up to $2,000 and personal checks up to $500 for $1 or less per check.

The retailer recognized the need for customers who seek the convenience of check cashing where they shop or do not have access to a traditional bank account.

"At Kmart, we know that every dollar counts," said Jai Holtz, VP financial services, Sears Holdings. "We're giving our members more savings so they can keep more in their pockets. We know our members will love only having to pay $1 or less to cash their checks."

Shop Your Way is a free social shopping and rewards program. Members can shop, compare, purchase items and earn points on future purchases. Members also have the opportunity to take advantage of special pricing, as well as exclusive sales and events. The Shop Your Way app is available from iTunes and Google Play.

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Q&A: Michelle Gilliam on local marketing support

BY Antoinette Alexander

DSN had the opportunity at McKesson ideaShare 2014 to talk to Michelle Gilliam, director of Health Mart marketing, about how the Local Marketing Support program is helping its members stay competitive by attracting new customers and showing value to existing customers.

DSN: At last year’s McKesson ideaShare meeting, Health Mart previewed the Local Marketing Support program. Tell us about this program and its importance.

Michelle Gilliam: With more than 3,400 stores nationwide, Health Mart has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years. Owners are attracted to Health Mart’s strong network and flexible offering that enable our members to run their pharmacy their way, while getting the support they need to compete on a more level playing field.  

Health Mart’s comprehensive Local Marketing Support program is designed to give owners the flexibility to promote their specific service offerings and distinct strengths, attract new patients, and reinforce their value to existing patients — all of which can result in increased revenues.  Members have access to the Marketing Hub, a comprehensive marketing portal with more than 200 traditional, digital and social media marketing tools. With access to flexible monthly matching funds, Health Mart pharmacies have the ability to do more marketing at a lower cost. And lastly, there’s help when stores need it from local marketing coordinators to assist with Marketing Hub resources and questions.

While our pharmacies excel at local, personalized service, many owners don’t have the time, resources or experience to consistently and effectively market their capabilities to consumers. We help Health Mart owners market their way, whether they want to customize and place campaigns themselves or have us “do-it-for-them.”

DSN: What has the response been so far to the program? Can you give us some results?

Gilliam: We have had tremendous response to the program with Health Mart stores around the country utilizing our Local Marketing Support tools in their communities.  Ranging from simple bag stuffers or newspaper ads to complete marketing campaigns or even Facebook post feeds, Health Mart owners are taking full advantage of this program.  Here are a few recent testimonials we’ve gathered from Health Mart stores:

  • “With the Local Marketing Support program, I was able to better spend my marketing dollars. In fact, I’m going to increase my marketing budget because I now know what’s going to work,” said Brent Dance, Hereford Health Mart, Hereford, Texas.
  • “Previously, I couldn’t be certain what marketing tactics were working — or even keep track of all of them — but Local Marketing Support really keeps me on track and in control of all my marketing,” said Greg Seay, Medical Center Pharmacy, Durant, Okla.

DSN: How do Health Mart’s national activities support stores locally?

Gilliam: We know independent pharmacists want to practice pharmacy their way — putting the patient first. Health Mart gives owners the ability to join thousands of other best-in-class independent pharmacy owners and leverage a national brand widely recognized for superior customer service.

While the Local Marketing Support program focuses on helping Health Mart owners differentiate themselves in their community, they also can build on the national brand and regional advertising activities, like the Health Mart Healthy Living Tour and the Local Hero Advertising campaign, featuring radio, TV and outdoor advertisements that championed Health Mart pharmacists as local unsung heroes.

As part of our comprehensive marketing effort, we also have invested heavily in other marketing solutions for both prescribers and consumer digital marketing.  Health Mart helps our pharmacies build stronger prescriber relationships and improve efficiency with the Physician Outreach Program. On the digital side, we continue to expand the Your Pharmacy Online web site and mobile app, providing cost-effective tools to support patient medication adherence and drive positive health outcomes, while driving prescription refills.  

DSN: What’s new with the LMS program this year?

Gilliam: Health Mart continues to invest in regional advertising and provide a strong marketing offering to support independent pharmacies. We know that Health Mart pharmacies wanted even more flexibility for matching funds, additional templates in more sizes with deeper customization options, as well as more support, education and training. As a result, at McKesson ideaShare 2014, Health Mart delivered a series of new marketing tools and even more flexible options for matching funds, including:

  • Vehicle wraps;
  • Event rental kits;
  • Promotional items;
  • Outdoor advertising;
  • New campaigns focused on key pharmacy opportunities, such as flu shot services, compliance packaging, preferred network inclusion and more; and
  • More than 100 new flexible templates in a variety of sizes.

In response to our customers’ requests to get help becoming savvier marketers and get ideas around what works for their peers, we’re offering education, ideas for effective tactics and more how-to help through the new Marketing ideaExchange. In addition, members can participate in an active exchange of ideas through McKesson Connect Community.

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Walmart rolls out rebate program for teachers

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. —  Walmart has introduced a 10% rebate program for teachers across the country, the retailer announced.

Walmart said it is offering teachers across the country 10% savings on classroom supplies and described the process for doing so as simple. First, teachers need to shop at Walmart stores during Teacher Appreciation Week, which runs from July 25 to 31, and make purchases from nearly 15,000 items. Online purchases are not eligible. They then have until August 15 to visit Walmart.com/teachers to register their receipts by entering school information and receipt transaction codes. At that point, Walmart will tabulate the 10% saving total, which will be refunded on a Walmart eGift card delivered via email within 14 days of submitting the receipts online.

The company has created some hoops to jump through, as opposed to simply offering an immediate 10% price reduction at the point of sales, but the effort could be worth it for many educators.

“On average, teachers around the country spend about $1,000 readying their classrooms, and half of that comes from reaching into their own wallets to make sure students have what they need,” said Steve Bratspies, Walmart’s EVP of general merchandise. “We’ve had a commitment to supporting teachers in the communities we serve for many years. This program is one more way we’re helping lessen the cost, increase support and set teachers up for success.”

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