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Oracle CEO interviews Walgreens around its IT capabilities

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — In order to reach the corner of "Happy and Healthy," Walgreens' IT department has had to design a back-end engine that is not only able to seamlessly feed a robust retailer/customer relationship and the supply chain underlying that relationship, but also develop a comprehensive portal through which Walgreens' healthcare practitioners can effectively communicate with both patients and practitioners. 
 
"We're moving to a personal relationship with our customers, which in retail has never been seen before," Tim Theriault, Walgreens SVP and chief information, innovation and improvement officer, told Mark Hurd, CEO of Oracle, here during an on-stage interview before attendees of Oracle's OpenWorld conference. (Click here for the full Mark Hurd presentation.) "We rolled out a loyalty card program and that's given us new data and insights about our customers that we can use to work with our suppliers and our vendors," Theriault said. "We can also use it to make sure that we have an understanding as to what the local stores should have – like lobster in Boston [or] pictures of Elvis in Las Vegas," he said. "We can take all the social mobile analytics and then really through the mobile app engage with our customers in ways that we've never been able to before. And that's just in our retail part of the business."
 
In addition to that, Walgreens is establishing a healthcare conduit between patient and doctor. "Around healthcare, we all know we have a crisis in this country and everyone in healthcare wants to reduce cost, improve outcomes and at the same time create a better customer experience," he said. "We've rolled out Walgreens HealthCloud, which is basically our cloud application to allow our people to perform clinical services in the stores. … And with that information, we can share with doctors [and] hospital systems. We're really on the early stage of this, but for us it's fundamentally important to provide that new healthcare experience for customers."
 
Along with molding a unique customer experience and enabling convenience-oriented healthcare, Walgreens is about to elevate those core functions to a global platform with its acquisition of Alliance Boots, Theriault said. "The combined company will be the largest purchaser of drugs in the world," he said. "We'll have 370 distribution centers around the world servicing 180,000 pharmacies and doing that in 20 countries."
 

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Scanbuy survey: Most app users seeking deals, new product info on regular basis

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — More than half of consumers use coupon apps once or twice a month, with food and beverage being the most popular category, according to new data from Scanbuy, a provider of mobile engagement solutions.

“Our survey of ScanLife users demonstrates the ever-increasing influence of smartphones on consumer shopping behavior and attitudes,” said Maryann Moschides, VP of marketing at Scanbuy. “Marketers should take note that the majority of mobile consumers are hungry for personalized deals and promotions from their favorite brands to help them save money and discover new products and services.”  
 
Highlights from the survey of its ScanLife app users include:
•    More than half of respondents (51%) said they use coupon apps once or twice a month while 20% use them daily;
•    Nearly half of respondents (47%) said they will sometimes try a new product by receiving a coupon/discount offer while 23% said they “almost always” will;
•    Food and beverage was the top product category for using coupons and discount offers (55%), followed by apparel (15%) and electronics (13%);
•    One in four survey respondents said they use mobile discount coupons every day while another 38% said they use coupons weekly;
•    When interested in a new product, most respondents (56%) said they conduct online search, followed by scanning a product barcode (20%) or visiting a store (15%); and
•    Receiving product discounts and coupons was the information survey respondents wanted most from scanning (75%), while receiving new product information was the second most popular reason.

More than 15,000 people responded to survey questions inside the ScanLife app over a 30-day period in June 2014.

Through the refreshed ScanLife app, users can receive personalized deals and promotions based on their preferences and interests. The ScanLife app is available for free on Android and iOS.

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Farouk Systems’ new site features CHI, BioSilk brands

BY Antoinette Alexander

HOUSTON — Hair care company Farouk Systems has announced the launch of its newly designed website featuring both the CHI and BioSilk brands.

The site, lFarouk.com, is optimized for both mobile devices and desktop computers.

The company noted that, for 2015 and beyond, many development projects are in the works from upcoming product launches to the dawning of new product partnerships with several TV and film productions in Hollywood.
 

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