Our story begins like the mornings of many Americans with a tasty bowl of breakfast cereal Throw it in
Breakfast cereal is going uptown
Gary and Alan Keery
What changed?How did breakfast cereal become too much work?
Not necessarily a bad thing. We expect good service. We expect brands to understand us. We have no patience when brands fail to use data that we know they have and could use to tailor their messaging and experice to us.
We believe that there needs to be a shift from putting the channels at the heart of everything a brand does, to the consumer.
To clarify what we mean: A traditional approach looks at the data first, before developing the message and then the channel, with consumer considerations coming last.
In a consumer-first approach, we flip the whole foundational idea on its head. The consumer is the delicate and precious resource on which everything depends. And a huge amount of integrity, empathy and relevance is the foundation for the consumer.
Sometimes eCommerce can feel a lot like this…. -throwing every dart we can find at the dartboard -hoping something evetually sticks
-We like to call these “trends” -And we act like every retailer is “doing it wrong” if they’re not doing every single one of these -…like we’re somehow inadequate as a business if we haven’t figured out how to juggle every ecommerce trend of the last decade, all simultaneously
-But what ends up happening is something like this… -A lot of misses (which is normal) -but every once in a while something sticks… …so we ask ourselves…
WHY? Why do so many seemingly brilliant ideas fail in my business, while others stick?
The answer that, you have to understand your why…why you exist as a business, and why your customers believe in your business and do business with you
So to help bring that to life, let’s talk about the Walgreens “why” -Why we exist -Our purpose
You can sum up our “why” in three words TRUST CAREACCESS
TRUST is how we use our expertise and our knowledge, particularly as it relates to healthcare, and build long term relationships with our customers. It comes from making strong ethical decisions every step of the way in those relationships so that our customers know we’re looking out for their best interest.
CARE is central to our mission. It’s about the prescriptions we dispense, and the products we sell. But it’s also about the advice and instructions we give. Every touchpoint either in store, or in digital, is an opportunity to provide some level of care.
ACCESS is all about being accessible to our customers, and providing such a high level of convenience that we give customers back time in their day. Customers lead increasingly stressful and busy lives, and there’s nothing more important to them than their time
So…. Understanding the why, the purpose, here is critical. It gives us a way to think about all those eCommerce and digital trends in a new light. The reality is that what we call trends are really just tools. -And it’s our job to pick the right tool to support our WHY. -When this goes out of sync, and we start to use the wrong tools to support our why, that’s when the darts go flying off the board -We waste time, we waste resources, we confuse our customers and our employees and our purpose becomes fuzzy and unclear
-You need to be asking WHY it is your business exists in the first place, and then and only then assessing all the great digital tools available to you to advance your mission
-With that in mind… I want to walk you through a few examples of digital solutions that we’ve built at Walgreens, and how they all directly ladder up to our WHY, and how that is ultimately what has made each of them successful
Starting with Pill Reminder…
-so we built pill reminder -deepens our relationship with the customer after they leave the store -that’s the power of digital -extends the brand and the store outside the four walls -more important, it aligns to our purpose and why we exist (building trust and providing care) -the fact that it also improves patient adherence and drives incremental prescription fills a side effect of building on our purpose. -We didn’t start with “drive revenue” we started with “convenient care and trust” -Revenue (and profit) is the effect, never the cause
This next example is one of my personal favorites… -when we completely redesigned our app 2 years ago, we did something blasphemous… -Our industry loves to talk about “engagement” in terms of times spent….assuming that more time = better engagement -Well, when we think about our brand purpose and that 3rd point about “access” we think very different about engagement -We believe that solving the customers’ needs in the shortest amount of time possible is the ultimate form of engagement… -So we built a platform we call “Homescreen Widgets” which are these targeted, personalized messages you see right here. -Their purpose is to anticipate the customers need instantly, on launch, so that there’s no need to dig through menus and look for the right information -They respond to time, location, and other unique factors that relate to each individual user and their relationship with Walgreens -We have more than a dozen widgets, each with their own dynamic presentation -and more than a million possible variations of our homescreen -to us, and our users, this is about convenience
And Apple Pay… -We were among the first retailers to deploy Apple Pay in our stores, and the first to integrate our Loyalty Program with Apple Pay -But it wasn’t just to be first -It was because we saw Apple Pay as a useful tool to enhance access…a way to speed up checkout and give our customers back even more time
Refill Reminders are a powerful way we combine care AND convenience -We predict when customers are running low on medications and they’re likely to forget to refill -We use multiple convenient channels, including email, Text messaging, and Push notifications to reach out to the customer and alert her -But rather than just delivering the information, and asking her to log-in and place the order herself, we make things as simple as possible to start the refill -From the text message, it’s as simple as typing back the word “REFILL” -From the email, it’s just one click, and you’re done -From the app, you can 3D Touch on the notification and then tap “Refill” and that’s it -This kind of digital experience is so core to our brand, and customers respond really well to it -It’s a massive part of our business, and really shows the power of digital to grow the business while remaining true to the business
So let’s recap -First, you need to ask yourself why your business exists in the first place. Sometimes that’s very clear and obvious – sometimes this isn’t so clear, and really requires so introspection and reflection -Once you’ve really begun to understand that first question, now you have a great lens through which to assess all the trends and opportunities within digital. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can look at any given technology and know right off the bat whether it truly makes sense for your brand, or not (and it’s okay to rule some things out, in fact you should rule out most!) -Next, it’s time to get the teams to work and build great experiences. We could spend days talking about just this one phase, but the critical piece here I want you to takeway is to treat everything like a test. Just because you built it, don’t get so invested in it that you can’t let it go. Not everything you build will work. Some things will be losses, and that’s perfectly okay. Other things may need more iteration to really realize their potential, but the worst thing you can do is build it and let it linger indefinitely. -To that point, you need to measure. Once you’re seriously measuring your experiences, you’ll know what to continue investing in and what areas you can cut to redeploy funds and strengthen your product and your brand -And last… great software is never done... You need to put this cycle on repeat FOREVER! Yes, forever. You’re in this for the long haul, not just for any one project. Too many brands make the mistake of thinking that software is like building a store….once the walls are up, and it’s finished inside, you’re done. Software just doesn’t work that way, and neither do the best digital retailers. -As you repeat this cycle enough, you’ll naturally find that you come up with enhancements and improvements that compete with our outright replace existing experiences you might have built in the past. Some people get very uncomfortable about this and move to protect their base. Resist that temptation. Cannibalize yourself first (before someone else does it to you). I’m sure everyone has heard the Steve Jobs quote before, but it’s really quite amazing how few brands can truly understand what it means, and act on it when their time comes.
They Want It All: The Empowered Consumer
They want it all: The empowered consumer
Benjamin Weiss, Senior Product Manager, Mobile, Walgreen Co.
Nick Worth, Chief Marketing Officer, Selligent
Rick Ton, Director, Membership & Product Marketing, Sam’s Club
• 90% of customers expect
real-time customer service
• 74% expect websites to be
personalized for them
• 53% expect retailers to learn their
tastes and make suggestions
• 53% expect retailers to know who
they are when they enter a store with
• 48% expect that there will be a
service that ships products before
they order them
• Only 34% of companies are able to
identify a consumer at the moment of
Millennials and Gen Z are hard
coded to demand more
• Expect brands to know them not
as a segment but as a specific
• Less concerned about privacy
• Want brands to provide an
EMPOWERED CONSUMER HARD TRUTHS
Consumer-First Marketing inverts the traditional
approach to marketing.
It focuses first on consumers to identify opportunities
for filling an unmet need, entertaining, or solving a
WE BELIEVE VALUE IS ACHIEVED WHEN INSIGHTS & ENGAGEMENT
Data and execution are interconnected. There
is no lag between a consumer action and a
brand’s ability to respond with relevance.
Data and engagement are also
interdependent. When the data profile
changes, so does the consumer experience.
As the consumer reacts, the brand learns
more, deepening the value that it is able to
All images courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios.
All images courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios.
Image Credit: Ryan McGuire
I LOVE THIS
Pill Reminder is a digital way to build on our brand
Extends our relationship with
customers and patients outside of
our stores, giving us a platform for
daily engagement, and a tool that not
only builds trust with customers, but
is also good business by improving
patient adherence and delivering
Homescreen Widgets give customers back time in the day
Apple Pay helps us remove friction and save time
Refill Reminders combine care and convenience
Predict when customers are likely to
forget to refill a medication. Using
SMS, Email, and Push Notifications,
we make it simple (one tap, one
reply) to get the refill process started.