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Rite Aid Foundation awards $15,000 for Ala. vision-screening program

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s philanthropic arm has donated $15,000 to an organization that works with universities to develop social justice projects.

The Rite Aid Foundation announced the donation of the grant to Impact Alabama, based in Birmingham, Ala., which plans to use the grant to expand FocusFirst, a vision-screening program for children in Head Start classrooms and lower-income daycares across the state. The foundation previously awarded the group $15,000 in 2010.

"Poor vision adversely affects tens of thousands of children in our state each year, largely due to poor public awareness about the importance of eye care in young children and the inability of children to recognize their own vision problems," Impact America spokesman Stephen Black said. "These problems are heightened in families from facing financial hardships and a lack of access to appropriate medical care."

 

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Harris Teeter launches donation card campaign to support JDRF

BY Michael Johnsen

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Harris Teeter on Thursday launched a donation card campaign to support JDRF, a charitable funder of research toward curing, treating and preventing Type 1 diabetes and its complications.

“Harris Teeter wants to play a positive role in the communities in which it is located and is proud to host a donation card campaign on behalf of JDRF,” stated Catherine Becker, communication manager for Harris Teeter. “Our customers also are extremely generous, and our goal during this campaign is to not only raise money for the research programs JDRF funds, but also to increase awareness of the nonprofit’s role in improving lives and curing Type 1 diabetes.”

During the month of March, Harris Teeter customers at every Harris Teeter location will be able to make $1, $3 or $5 donations to JDRF at checkout. Similar community-based donation card campaigns hosted by Harris Teeter have raised more than $500,000 in a given month, the grocer reported.

Harris Teeter posted a short video message about JDRF and the donation card campaign on its site. 

 

 

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The top seven ‘hidden retailer insights’

BY Dan Mack

During last December’s Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit, our panel of retail executives discussed how to optimize consumer white spaces, creating new trips and value. If you were not there, you missed some great discussions by many of the top thinkers in our industry.

I believe everyone attending gained valuable feedback on how to uncover and fill currently unmet consumer white spaces. Two key themes were discussed:

First theme:  We all must continually engage in rapid learning and discussion with our retail partners, suppliers and competitors to evaluate assumptions, business models and emerging marketplace shifts if we all want to achieve success. Great innovations are birthed at the intersection of the consumer, the retailer and manufacturer. That is the magic of co-creation.

Second theme:  Oftentimes the criticism of the industry is that the innovation process seems like a “perpetual game of tag.”  Once a company innovates, everyone else attempts to copy the idea, creating  a sea of sameness, and the consumer is left confused. The real goal should be to go in another direction and invent something that is truly different.  “But as we all know, that is easier said than done.”

As I walked away from moderating this industry event, it hit me that there were a number of subtle “hidden insights” shared that may have slipped through the cracks.  Here are the hidden gems:

  1. Category role:  Each retailer emphasized, “Help me understand how my consumer defines the category within my store and what they expect of me?”  Vendors must help the retailer define the role of the category considering the changing mind-set of their consumer. Insight:  National consumer trends are not enough. The retailer wants to better understand how their consumer sees the category, and what their consumer wants from the category in their store. The consumers’ category expectation is different depending on the retailer.
  2. Localized assortment:  The trend toward localized assortments helps optimize regional or cultural needs. Retailers are looking for assortment insights that address community, neighborhood and household needs to create the optimal assortment by store. Insight: Who within your operation is thinking about this insight, and how do you bring new knowledge to your top retailers relative to deeper consumer, regional or market segmentation?  The goal is to optimize your revenue by optimizing the stores that better align with your product offering. In the new economy, it is about value creation on a store-level basis.
  3. Emerging insights:  Many of the retailers shared that they want their partners to provide emerging and international insights that help them understand “what’s next?”  This includes harnessing or uncovering new insight that assists them in creating solutions that address future demands coming around the corner.  They also are looking for in-store ideas that create a stronger experience for their consumers, helping them brand the store. Insight:  Provide them with something they do not know, helping them understand “what’s next” and how to create attachment with their most valuable core consumer.
  4. One voice:  Often time’s manufacturers think about the retailers business as two separate enterprises: brick-and-mortar and the .com digital business.  The panel made it very clear that you must think about this as an integrated blended business. If you are not, you are not in alignment.  Insight: Both arms of the business should not be thought of as a separate business — but one integrated voice. (Programs, imagery, positioning and solutions must align, and manufacturing teams should think of this one comprehensive business.)
  5. Self-treatment solutions: Since 38% of consumers self-treat at home, there are always opportunities to create products and services for this core consumer group.  Retailers are looking for companies that create brands that address unmet needs or offer health-and-wellness products currently only available through medical professionals.  Insight: Develop and facilitate co-creation meetings exploring products that address self-treatment items within the category or adjacencies.  This is a ripe opportunity.
  6. Critical thinking:  The new skills expected of tomorrow’s manufacturers are “critical thinking” and the ability to “synthesize” information and get down to the best actionable insights that truly matter to the consumer.  Insight:  the more your sales and marketing organizations share global insights, think critically about the retailers business, partner with the right alliances, co-create and invent in-store experiences  — the stronger your odds of success.  The top retailers are looking for sales and marketing executives who think like general managers.
  7. Ethnographic insights:  Our panel wants their partners to gather ethnographic insights with their core consumer. Ethnographic insights are gathered by researchers who study the habits and lifestyles of consumer within their home.  The research is deeper and more objective than focus groups, because it is reality based. Insight:  “Go deeper with your knowledge and bring hidden insights that transform your product development, based on how the consumer lives. The behavior of a dollar or mass channel customer is very different than the behavior of a high-end food retailer.  Retailers are looking for insights based on the behavior — and hidden needs — of their own customers. Go the extra mile, understand the retailer’s core consumer.

Thanks once again to our panel of leaders.  We all received an education on how to create more value in our business engagements. 


Dan Mack is founder of Mack Elevation Forum and a partner in The Swanson Group. To learn more go to www.mackelevationforum.com.

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