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Walgreens enhances photo creation capabilities on mobile app

BY Jason Owen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday announced the latest updates to its iPhone mobile app that allows users to create photo cards with such special themes as thank you, holidays, announcements and invitations. Unique collages also can be created directly from an iPhone. Walgreens is the first retailer to provide the ability to create collage prints using a mobile device and pick them up in about an hour, the company stated. Photos for these creations easily can be uploaded from the user’s phone, Facebook or Instagram albums.

“We’re pleased to provide more creative capabilities to our users as we continue to enhance the photo functionality within our mobile app,” said Jasbir Patel, divisional VP daily living, photo and omnichannel for Walgreens. “Consumers are accustomed to using their mobile devices in nontraditional ways, and Walgreens gives them easy access to products and services, wherever and whenever they choose.”

For customers on the go, the updated app lets users easily search for Walgreens or Duane Reade stores based on offerings such as 24-hour locations, drive-thru pharmacies and Healthcare Clinics at select Walgreens. Additionally, the app provides improved virtual floor maps, allowing for easier access to products and better in-store experience.


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HRG exclusive workshop prepares manufacturers for successful buyer meetings

BY Jason Owen

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Hamacher Resource Group is offering an interactive workshop to help manufacturers prepare effective presentations for successful buyer meetings in food, drug and mass channels, including distributors, the company announced on Wednesday. The one-day session, It’s Their Meeting, Too! How to Build Effective Product Presentations for Wholesale and Retail Buyers, will be held at HRG, Nov. 7, 2013.

Key meetings with buyers are typically a once-a-year opportunity that manufacturers need to maximize. Understanding buyer expectations, knowing what information to arm themselves with, and putting together a presentation that hits all the right notes for the specific channel being presented to requires both art and science. HRG’s 30-plus years of industry knowledge and extensive experience helping manufacturers grow their business is the foundation for the workshop. HRG also has staff with hands-on selling experience to retail and wholesale channels to provide one-on-one insight and guidance to attendees.

“If you have ever walked out of a meeting with a buyer and wondered what went wrong, this is a great way to spend a day and leverage our expertise to help ensure that it doesn’t happen again," said chief presenter and HRG vice president, Dave Wendland. "Brand, sales and marketing managers, as well as sales representatives, will leave this workshop with a custom presentation template and the in-depth knowledge to conduct a successful meeting with buyers.”

The registration deadline is Oct. 10, 2013, and the workshop is limited to 10 attendees. HRG is offering an early-bird discount of $500 to anyone that signs up by Sept. 30. Those registering by the 30th will pay $1,295 per attendee. More information about the workshop and the agenda is on HRG’s website. To register, attendees can call (800) 888-0889 and ask to speak to the workshop registrar, or email [email protected].

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Premium pet food sustains category

BY Barbara White-Sax

Volume sales of pet foods have been flat, but a rash of premium brands have kept the category profitable for retailers. Dog owners spend an average of $239 annually, and cat owners spend $209 annually on pet food, according to American Pet Products Association.

While consumers are price sensitive, they won’t cut corners when it comes to what they feed their pets. A recent report by Mintel found that healthy eating trends are driving innovation and marketing strategies in the pet food market. The trend also is driven by the soaring obesity rates among cats and dogs.

“Manufacturers are specializing pet food to life stage, diet needs, health needs and beyond. Products with a natural, organic and health positioning continue to show the greatest growth,” said Mintel’s report.

Hill’s reformulated Science Diet, Nestlé Purina’s Purina One Beyond and Del Monte’s acquired Natural Balance all bear out that trend.

Private label’s share of the pet food market was 12.6% in 2012 product, down one percentage point. Walmart’s Pure Balance natural product is making inroads since the product is positioned in the growing healthier premium segment of the market.

Packaged Facts’ recent Pet Owner Survey found that 38% of pet owners believe that natural/organic brand pet products are better than standard national brand products, and 63% said they are very concerned about the safety of the pet products they buy.

As a result, U.S. retail sales of natural pet products totaled $4.1 billion in 2012, according to Packaged Facts estimates, representing a compound annual growth rate of 17% over the 2008-2012 period.

Dry pet foods are gaining market share as wet and moist pet foods are falling out of favor. A study soon to be published from the Global Market Development Center, or GMDC, in conjunction with Radian and Nielsen, found that dry dog food ranks second in terms of category dollar share in the drug channel. The drug pet food segment showed a 7% gain in dollar sales last year, according to the GMDC study.

While the drug channel commands only a 1% dollar market share of the pet food business, Mintel’s research shows the channel saw sales advance a significant 11.5% from 2010-2012. Dog treats command the largest share of sales in the drug channel, but that segment had a sales slide of 5% last year, according to GMDC.

Destination sets need to include healthy pet food choices. Drug store retailers in particular have an opportunity to tie in those better-for-your-pet choices with their overall health-and-wellness positioning.

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