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Shoppers Drug Mart, RBC Insurance launch co-branded travel insurance offering

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Canadian pharmacy retailer Shoppers Drug Mart and RBC Insurance have announced the launch of co-branded travel insurance product offerings to be sold exclusively online through the Shoppers Drug Mart website beginning Feb. 16.

"Many Canadians already turn to Shoppers Drug Mart for their travel needs, including passport photos, travel accessories and immunizations," stated Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. "With the introduction of this co-branded travel insurance, with a trusted provider like RBC Insurance, we are strengthening our total travel offering and improving access and choice for our customers."

The travel insurance lineup is the latest addition to the suite of co-branded products available since RBC and Shoppers Drug Mart announced an alliance in early 2012. The RBC Shoppers Optimum banking account was launched at that time and the co-branded MasterCard made its debut in the fall of 2012.

When Canadians visit the Shoppers Drug Mart Web site to purchase travel insurance and enter their Shoppers Optimum card number, they will earn 10 Shoppers Optimum Points per $1 of insurance premium. Shoppers Optimum Points will automatically be credited to their account. If the RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCard is used to purchase travel insurance online, another five points per $1 will be earned, through the credit card.

Travel insurance products available through the Shoppers Drug Mart Web site will include emergency travel medical, as well as trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
 

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Walgreens extends Way to Well Health Tour with AARP through 2013

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced that the Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP will continue through 2013. The program is dedicated to providing free preventive and early detection health services to some of the nation’s most underserved communities. Now through December, the tour will provide free tests, assessments, education and consulting services to communities located predominantly in cities with the highest prevalence for leading diseases and highest uninsured and unemployed populations.

"Our Way to Well Health Tour is one of the ways we can deliver valuable wellness services directly to underserved communities — those most in need," stated Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO. "We’re glad to continue our long-standing relationship with AARP to provide these screenings and help detect existing problems that may need further medical attention. And we’re very grateful to all the Walgreens customers whose purchases of our brands are helping support this program."

The Way to Well Health Tour is partially funded by customers who support the Walgreens wellness services mission by purchasing Walgreens-brand health-and-wellness products. From Feb. 1 through Dec., 1 cent from the purchase of every Walgreens-brand health-and-wellness product, up to $3 million annually, will support bringing preventive wellness services to local communities through the Walgreens Way to Well Fund, Walgreens stated.

The health tour is comprised of a fleet of four customized vehicles that will simultaneously tour separate regions of the United States and Puerto Rico. The 2013 tour marks the fifth year Walgreens and AARP have provided this community outreach program. Since its inception, the tour has delivered nearly 3.5 million health tests valued at more than $70 million.

The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP is one of the charitable programs that is part of the Walgreens Way to Well Commitment, which began in 2011 as a four-year, $100 million initiative to improve the everyday health of Americans nationwide. The initiative also is dedicated to providing accessible, affordable resources for prevention and early detection of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Tests include total cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, body composition, skeletal muscle, resting metabolism, visceral fat, real body age and body weight.

All participants will receive a free, one-year AARP membership. Participants younger than 50 years can pass the free AARP membership on to an eligible adult, and existing members will receive a one-year extension on their current membership. Also available with the tour are educational health-and-wellness resources provided by AARP, as well as other Walgreens Way to Well nonprofit partners.

Visitors also will be able to sign up for Walgreens Balance Rewards program at tour stop locations.  

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Survey: Showrooming may not be driving as many consumers to Amazon as everyone thinks

BY Michael Johnsen

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — In a survey of more than 6,200 consumers collected during the peak holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Amazon scored highest among 25 of the top mobile commerce companies in terms of customer satisfaction, according to a report released Tuesday by ForeSee. 

"The mobile platform is maturing much faster than the PC platform. We see it in the rate of consumer adoption, and fortunately we are seeing it in how well the top retailers are adapting to multichannel consumers who are embracing yet another powerful tool," stated Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. "But retailers shouldn’t get too comfortable because change is just about the only thing you can count on. Consumers expect retailers to provide a consistent and seamless experience, regardless of the channel."

The study also investigated the role and impact of mobile on "showrooming" — the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store only to shop online for the same item, often at a lower price. The results are surprising, Freed noted. While nearly 70% of survey respondents reported using a mobile phone while in a retail store during the 2012 holiday season, most of those consumers (62%) accessed that store’s site or app. But the competitive threat of showrooming still exists, as 37% reported accessing a competitor’s site or app.

"Customers are using their mobile phones as integrated parts of their shopping experience," noted Eric Feinberg, senior director mobile at ForeSee. "Mobile is the ultimate companion channel, making showrooming as much of an opportunity as it is a threat. Retailers need to engage their customers equally well through all channels, especially through mobile sites and apps, or risk losing customers and sales to competitors that do a better job of meeting their needs."

Overall, the report — titled the "ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index: Holiday Retail Edition" — found that consumer satisfaction with the mobile retail experience is improving, as the index climbed two points since last holiday season to 78 on a 100-point scale.

Amazon tops the list at 85, with Apple (83), and QVC (83) close behind. Rounding out the top five are NewEgg (80) and Victoria’s Secret (80). The retailers with the biggest improvements over time include Target (+5), Victoria’s Secret (+5) and Barnes & Noble (+4).

Other key findings included that at the aggregate level, customers rate their traditional Web experiences (79) very similarly to their mobile experiences (78). But at the individual company level, satisfaction varies between retailers’ websites and mobile sites. And while only 6% reported visiting the company’s website, mobile site or app via mobile phone as their first step while shopping, they are a very satisfied group (80).

  

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