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Walgreens provides answers to variety of healthcare questions

BY Michael Johnsen

Everybody’s got questions. Walgreens has answers. With topics covering everything from cold and flu to women’s health, Walgreens has coupled comprehensive health information into a pocket-size pamphlet packed with coupons.

"Information is a place where we can play a critical role in terms of [a] solution set," noted Robert Tompkins, Walgreens GMM health and wellness, front-end services and general merchandise in an interview with DSN last year. "With our store footprint [and] our multichannel platform, we know that customers and patients are looking for healthcare information both from a prevention and treatment standpoint. [And] we think with our 100-year-plus history with our trusted pharmacists, we actually can be a great force for that."

Beyond an endcap of informational brochures headed into the pharmacy space, as seen here, Walgreens offers a deeper health information dive at Walgreens.com. "And at the end of the continuum, we have our trusted pharmacists; in many of our Well Experience [stores], our health guides; and even in 700-plus stores, our Take Care nurse practitioners" Tompkins added. "We offer a full spectrum of healthcare information from the simple to the complex in ways that do really allow [the customer], in a convenient way, to get information where, how and when she wants it."

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Walmart partners with Humana to encourage healthier eating

BY Michael Johnsen

Walmart last fall partnered with HumanaVitality on the Vitality Healthy Food program, where members earn Vitality Points for getting active, losing weight and eating healthier. Those Vitality Points can be redeemed on more than 600,000 rewards, including movie tickets and merchandise.

As part of that, HumanaVitality members have been given a card that collects 5% in savings for select products featuring Walmart’s "Great for You" icon. The savings can be applied to a future Walmart visit.

This is one example of how healthcare payers will partner with retailers on "healthier" purchases going forward. It’s the proverbial carrot incentivizing those healthier purchases. And while this program focuses primarily on food items, vitamins and other value-inducing OTC items can’t be too far behind on what characterizes "Great for You."

"Ultimately we believe that the role will be to make the healthier choice the much more frequently chosen option, and therefore we’re helping Mom fight for the health of her family," stated John Agwunobi, president of health and wellness of Walmart U.S.

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Rite Aid embraces omnichannel retail with vision care center

BY Michael Johnsen

Rite Aid’s latest Wellness store concept features a new interactive Vision Center kiosk that allows customers to try new frames in the store and order prescription glasses and contact lenses for home delivery. It’s not only an example of flowing self-diagnostic solutions into the self-care aisles, but it also keeps those customers in the store longer. And because it’s positioned opposite the pharmacy, it can make that quick wait for the prescription that was just dropped off that much faster.

And it’s a step toward omnichannel retailing. Prescription glasses also can be found at RiteAidVisionCareCenter.com, where shoppers can shop virtual frames using a photo of themselves. Shoppers who still need to feel the frames can go to the Vision Center kiosk, or Rite Aid will send up to four frames to a consumer’s home for trial.

"The next generation of Wellness stores will continue to focus on wellness empowerment, as more consumers seek information and advice on how to manage their health and pursue wellness," the company stated in a communication to suppliers. "We now have 570 wellness stores and expect to have a total of 780 completed by the end of our fiscal year in February 2013."

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