Walgreens to Relaunch Loyalty Program as Part of Technology Transformation

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Walgreens to Relaunch Loyalty Program as Part of Technology Transformation

By Jamie Grill-Goodman - 10/16/2020

Walgreens said it will relaunch its customer loyalty program as myWalgreens in November, as part of its mass personalization efforts.

Walgreens’ mass personalization program boosted Walgreens retail sales by 140 basis points in its fourth quarter 2020, a significant increase from the 95 basis points impact in the last quarter. Walgreens.com sales grew 39% in the quarter.

The retailer has accelerated the pace of its technology transformation converting a further 1,145 stores to retail SAP in the quarter, taking the total to over 3,500 stores, according to Alex Gourlay, co-COO and president, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA).

“The rollout of SAP at a store level provides a wide range of benefits as a management and operational tool, giving us real-time information on store operations, stock levels and movement,” he explained. “It also gives us far greater detail and timely visibility on our business.

The technology’s implementation joins up WBA’s operations with a cloud platform, which will significantly enhance local fulfillment.

Through a partnership with Microsoft, the retailer moved its on-premises applications and IT resources in a heterogeneous Linux and Windows environment to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Then, working jointly with Microsoft and Adobe, the retailer has been working to build a mass personalization engine that accesses and enriches that existing data.

“The results of a mass personalization work have been driving a new and much more targeted interaction with our customers over recent months,” said Gourlay. “The nature of the personalization engine means that it learns more about our customer’s preferences and refines its output to adjust. So we're seeing it get better and more effective quarter-by-quarter.”

WBA is now beginning to rollout the next elements of this customer facing initiative, including relaunching its customer loyalty program as myWalgreens.

“This goes well beyond updating the look and feel of our app to create seamless retail and pharmacy experience,” noted Gourlay. “The new program will greatly simplify how customers accumulate and use their rewards and will create a much more engaging health-orientated relationship.”

With Walgreens’ personalization programs, myWalgreens will evolve and develop as loyalty members use it.

Members of the new loyalty rewards will earn 5% Walgreens cash on private label products and 1% on all other qualifying purchases. Walgreens cash can be applied to future transactions and the 100 million existing loyalty members will have opportunity to convert their current points balance to Walgreens cash, while switching to the new program. Members who don't enroll in myWalgreens by January 31, 2021 will lose their existing points balance. 

Walgreens will announce significant developments to the membership in the months ahead, but for now Gourlay said myWalgreens will be “heavily focused on health and wellbeing with content, service and offers specifically curated to each member.”

Additionally, Walgreens is now rolling out the ability for online or app orders to be ready for collection in as little as 30 minutes, through in-store, drive-through windows, or curbside pickup.

“This level of responsiveness is unprecedented in our sector and it redefines customer convenience, a real differentiator for us,” said Gourlay. “This demonstrated in a very practical ways some of the benefits of our work to update our infrastructure and to digitalize our business.