Walgreens’ Shannon Curtin: ‘Exclusivity of experience is large differentiator’
WHEELING, Ill. — “When you create something for [our various retail concepts], you are creating a new experience and environment that makes us different than our competitive set. Exclusivity of the experience is a large differentiator.” That was a key message that keynote retail speaker Shannon Curtin, Walgreens divisional VP and GMM for beauty, personal care and seasonal, had for attendees of the Oct. 17 Mack Elevation Forum, held here at the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel. More than 20 suppliers gathered to attend the all-day event, founded by Dan Mack, managing director of Mack Elevation Forum and strategy leader of The Swanson Group.
Curtin attended the event to offer critical insights into how to successfully and strategically align with Walgreens.
When looking to work with Walgreens, suppliers need to be aware of the various formats under the retailer’s banner, including flagship locations and Well Experience stores, she said. They must also determine the best fit for the community they will mutually serve by thinking about how to create a unique experience within that respective format and passing what Curtin referred to as a “gut check.”
“Within each of these stores, make a proposal to us that the customer always has to win first. Then assure the proposal aligns with our mission and strategy. For example, in a flagship store, the world is open to you to co-create whatever you would like to propose, and we are happy to entertain those new ideas,” said Curtin, who also stressed that the proposed product/solution must be exclusive to Walgreens and unique to the market. “In these flagship stores, it is for us to showcase the best of the best.”
Curtin also discussed the future of private brands and told attendees that while Walgreens will continue to support private brand, it is eager to entertain potential partnerships between noncompeting private and national brands. “If you have an idea to partner with one of our private brands, we think that’s a great solution,” she said.
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Hurricane Sandy and friends of friends
It’s been several weeks now since Hurricane Sandy, virtually erased neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and New Jersey. For those of us who live and grew up here, the stories of loss and devastation are all around us.
As many as 100 Rockaway boys from Xavier High School — my alma mater — lost their homes and everything in them.
It’s times like these when you really understand what it means to be a part of this great city and its indomitable spirit.
You can see it playing out all across the city as strangers pour out to help in relief efforts. It is kind of remarkable, really, how in times like these, everyone’s circles seem to expand a little bit; your friends’ friends become your friends, too.
The efforts of our industry have been truly amazing. At press time, our coverage of Hurricane Sandy relief was the No. 3 most highly viewed story on DrugStoreNews.com for the week of Nov. 12.
That’s why I wanted to share a special letter to the editor we received via DrugStoreNews.com. Jamee Schleifer is a teacher at Public School 253, which is located in Brighton Beach, one of many areas in Brooklyn that was hit hard by Sandy. Schleifer wanted to do something for the moms of PS 253, and she saw one need that wasn’t being addressed. So she began collecting makeup. “I am reaching out to pharmacies and cosmetics companies who can offer immediate help,” Schleifer wrote to DSN. “I believe, ‘look good, feel good,’” she said.
Schleifer’s goal is to create 800 “beauty kits” for the children of PS 253 to bring home to their moms.
Our goal at DSN is to help connect good people — most often for business, but also because in this industry, we have so many opportunities to do good while doing good business. This is one of those times.
Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News, DSN Collaborative Care, and Specialty Pharmacy magazines. You can contact him at [email protected].
Thanks to Rob for this great article. I'm sort of disappointed I haven't heard from ANYONE concerning this much needed project. I'm hoping for some of the folks out there to step up and help. Look Good...Feel Good is something the folks here are in business for. I will keep my fingers crossed. Sincerely, Jamee Schleifer
Kimberly-Clark announces executive changes
DALLAS — Kimberly-Clark has announced the appointment of former Kraft Foods executive Michael Hsu as president of North America consumer products, succeeding Robert Abernathy, who announced his intent to retire after more than 30 years with the company.
Abernathy will remain with K-C through 2013 to oversee the European strategic changes announced last month in K-C’s earnings call. Abernathy and Hsu will report to chairman and CEO Thomas Falk.
"We have a great team in place to continue our growth momentum across our consumer categories and drive our business plan strategies across the globe," Falk stated. "Robert leaves a strong legacy in our personal care and family care businesses in North America and Europe. Michael brings proven strategic, operational and innovation experience to build upon our strong consumer business. I’m thrilled to have someone with Mike’s track record of delivering results and deep consumer products background join our team."
Hsu joins K-C from Kraft Foods, where he most recently served as EVP and chief commercial officer. In his four-year tenure at Kraft, he also served as president of their grocery business unit and president of sales, customer marketing and logistics. Prior to joining Kraft, he spent six years in senior executive positions at H.J. Heinz. He also had a 10-year career as a consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton, rising from associate to partner.
Abernathy joined Kimberly-Clark in 1982 as a research scientist and later held management positions in the company’s diaper and tissue operations. He served in plant manager positions at Beech Island, S.C., and Jenks, Okla., before being named VP diaper operations in 1992. He was elected managing director for Kimberly-Clark Australia the following year. In 1996, he was elected group president of Kimberly-Clark, appointed group president of business-to-business in 1998, named president of developing and emerging markets in 2004 and named group president of North Atlantic consumer products in 2008.
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