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Pokémon? Go figure … Gamifying engagement

BY Rob Eder

It probably won’t surprise anyone that I was NOT one of the hundreds of millions of people who got swept away in the whole Pokémon Go thing last summer. If you would have told me a year ago that you were looking for Pikachu, I probably would have said, “God bless you.… Now what are you looking for?”

But with some 600 million downloads in all, and roughly 25 million active daily users at its peak, Pokémon Go might as well be a Harvard Business School case study of how augmented reality, virtual reality and game-ification are changing the way brands engage with consumers. If retailers and CPG companies pay close attention, Pokémon Go offers some fresh ideas on how to drive consumers to their stores and to their brands, including:

  • Retail-tainment. As brick and mortar continues to struggle to find its place in a post-omnichannel world, the experience of shopping the store has to change. Retailers must find a way to make it fun. Hunting for Pikachu could drive an awful lot of traffic into an awful lot of stores — particularly, millennials who tend to favor online and mobile over in-store.
  • Health-and-wellness engagement. According to Mashable, Pokémon Go players had, collectively, walked 5.4 billion miles by December — that’s roughly 200,000 trips around the world. During the first week of Pokémon Go usage, “activity increase was significant — a boost of 955 steps, or an estimated 11 minutes of additional walking a day,” according to a December 13 Scientific American article, citing a recent study published in the British Medical Journal. While that study concluded that the increased activity was short-lived, it is important to note that although the game requires users to physically move around to collect points, fitness was not necessarily the endgame — but it could have been.

On a completely separate note, this issue of DSN features a fresh new look for 2017, designed to be easier to read and navigate, and to deliver more insight in every page. New features include The Takeaway — a candid, one-on-one discussion each month with an executive in our industry.

Why? We often say retailing is a “people business,” but what do we really know about the people in it?

The Takeaway is NOT about business; it’s about the people behind the business. It’s about life, leadership and the people, places and things that inspire the very best in all of us everyday.

This month, we feature NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson — just one month shy of his 10th anniversary in chain pharmacy.

Got someone we should feature? Drop me an email at [email protected] — I want to know what you think.

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Walgreens pilots vision care offering at Chicago flagship

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Walgreens Boots Alliance is piloting a retail vision care center at one Walgreens location within its flagship Magnificent Mile store in the Wrigley Building here, the company recently revealed, taking what has been a successful page out of its U.K.-based Boots Pharmacy division and applying that strategy to the U.S. market.

"Walgreens believes vision care, combining health and fashion, has potential as an expanded offering as it strives to be America’s most-loved pharmacy-led health, well-being and beauty retailer," Walgreens spokesman Jim Graham shared with Drug Store News.  "At present we are piloting just one store and will use that experience to determine the timing and location of any similar, potential future store enhancements."

In the United Kingdom, Boots actually is one of the leaders in the optical market with 636 practices, Walgreens Boots Alliance reported, of which 182 operate on a franchise basis.  Approximately 30% of these optical practices are located in Boots stores with the balance being standalone optical practices.

Walgreens may be taking a similar approach in Chicago, as the services at Walgreens Optical are being provided by an independently owned company whose licensed healthcare professionals are not employed by Walgreens.

The new Walgreens Optical offers comprehensive eye exams from fully-licensed optometrists and opticians, advanced lenses from leading companies and a full selection of frames and price points.

 

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First at-home pet urine test available at all Meijer locations

BY Brian Berk

LOS ANGELES — Petnostics, manufacturer of the first at-home urine test for pets, announced its product line is available at all 230 Meijer locations throughout the country.

The company’s smart urine test kits, test strips and accessories allow pet owners to check their dog or cat’s health instantly via their iPhone or Android phone.

According to Los Angeles-based Petnostics, its technology, the same diagnostic technology used by veterinarians in clinics, also allows pet owners to access potential health issues for their pet. Pet owners can monitor chronic conditions such as diabetes, bladder stones and urinary tract infections by purchasing disease-specific test strips at Meijer, the company stated.

“We are excited to partner with an innovative retailer like Meijer to bring pet parents in the Midwest a new way to check their dog or cat’s health instantly,” said Stephen Chen, CEO of Petnostics. “Meijer has always been about family, and now, pet parents can be better informed about the health of the pet in their family by knowing that a lifetime of love is only a scan away.”

Petnostics was previously featured on the ABC television show “Shark Tank.”

Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 230 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

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