Meijer to sponsor pharmacy technician training program
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer on Thursday announced that it is sponsoring the pharmacy technician adult career training program at the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology in an effort to recruit well-trained graduates for placement in its pharmacies throughout West Michigan.
The investment also strengthens the retailer's commitment to continued education and partnership with WMCAT that offers fully-funded training in growing fields to under and unemployed adults, noted Karen Mankowski, VP pharmacy operations for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer.
"Our goal is to provide the best service to our Meijer pharmacy customers, which truly starts with having the right people in those roles," Mankowski said. "The need for pharmacy technicians is growing tremendously, and our partnership with WMCAT will enable us to bolster our pharmacy staff so they can build patient relationships to better manage their health care needs."
Although the retailer began its sponsorship of the technician program in the 2013-14 school year, Mankowski said, the retailer has hired several WMCAT graduates over the past few years due to the quality of training they've received. The latest group of WMCAT students will graduate today, including Kena Lee, who participated in an externship at Meijer as part of her training.
"I thought Meijer was amazing. Every experience was a learning experience and I never felt like I was just there," Lee said. "I like the [retail] business, because you always having something to do and I have the feeling that I'm helping someone at the same time."
Employment of pharmacy technicians, who help licensed pharmacists formulate and dispense prescription medication, is slated to increase 20% by 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Meijer anticipates the need for the positions to continue because the population of patients is growing older and relying on more prescriptions, Mankowski said. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act may increase the number of patients seeking care. A Meijer pharmacy team member also serves on WMCAT's advisory committee to ensure the program curriculum has a strong retail component, and to better prepare those graduates for job placement with the retailer.
Smuckers rolls out new fruit pouch
ORRVILLE, Ohio — Smuckers on Thursday announced the introduction of a new on-the-go snack that allows consumers to enjoy a variety of fruit on a daily basis.
The company's new Fruit-Fulls Pure Blended Fruit comes in a 4-oz. pouch and can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. Consumers can choose from Apple, Apple Cinnamon, Apple Strawberry and Apple Mixed Berry.
The snack is available at grocery stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $0.99 for an individual pouch; $4.49 for a 4-pack; and $7.99 for an 8-pack.
Aisle411 teams with Google’s Project Tango on creating 3-D maps of retail spaces for mobile app
SAN FRANCISCO — Aisle411 on Wednesday announced a new functionality that will allow retail shoppers using Google’s Project Tango to search and navigate to product locations while getting rewarded in retail environments in a revolutionary new way.
Fully unveiled at the Google I/O Developer Conference on June 25, Google’s Project Tango is a new technology used for creating 3D maps of indoor spaces with the ability to show a user’s precise location and orientation within centimeters of accuracy. Aisle411 is leveraging the Project Tango technology and integrating it with its inventory searchable indoor maps for retailers. The combined solutions from Project Tango and aisle411 allow users to search and navigate to specific products in a 3D augmented reality experience inside the store. Users of aisle411’s in-store mobile marketing platform can also simultaneously discover personalized coupons, offers and rewards that “pop out” of the shelf along their in-store route, along with collecting loyalty rewards just for walking down aisles.
“We are thrilled to be working with Google’s Project Tango team to continue deploying mobile technologies that enhance the in-store shopping experience for shoppers,” stated aisle411 CEO Nathan Pettyjohn. “Today’s shoppers are engaged with their mobile devices while in store. They are smart and digitally savvy and in this highly competitive retail ecosystem, it’s critical for retailers that their shoppers have the right tools to keep them engaged in the shopping experience. This new application is a fun way to shop and is sure to engage anyone using it.”
Project Tango is a multi-partner effort with universities, research institutions and over 40 industry partners that builds upon over a decade of research in robotics and computer vision, concentrating that technology into a mobile platform. The performance of mobile processors are now just getting powerful enough to put this into the hands of consumers. Just one of the engagement features in aisle411’s initial app experience includes the opportunity for loyalty points to be earned when the user “walks through a particular aisle and collects points,” similar to a video game. Augmented special offers on the shelf can also then be “clipped” to the loyalty card.
The new Project Tango technology is being piloted in multiple locations with major retailers, including Walgreens, over the coming months all with unique 3D augmented reality indoor maps and other engaging in-store experiences. These stores will join more than 12,500 retailers across the United States that benefit from aisle411’s comprehensive in-store mobile marketing platform technology, the company stated.