Technology and the Human Touch

Walgreens CMO previews her November keynote address at P2PX in Chicago

P2PX Keynote

Walgreens: Combining Technology and the Human Touch to Improve the Customer Experience

  • When: 8:30 a.m., Nov. 13
  • Where: Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 East Wacker Drive
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In this digital age, a world where consumers are conjoined to their mobile phones, find inspiration over social media, play with VR and interact with AI, what remains most important in marketing is a personal experience and a touch of humanity.

“Data and technology are the enablers and help amplify everything we do, but it’s still in service of meeting consumers’ basic human wants and needs,” says Alyssa Raine, acting CMO of Walgreens. “At the end of the day, it’s about people – their stories, their experiences and their lives. We hope to have the privilege of being a part of their lives, to enrich their lives through good health and happiness.”

Raine will address these ideas about technology and the consumer during her Nov. 13 keynote presentation at the Path to Purchase Expo in Chicago. She specifically will discuss how Walgreens uses digital to enhance the shopper experience and the company’s broader goal to be everything a shopper needs in health and beauty.

Elaborating more on this long-term vision, Raine says Walgreens is aiming for personalization at scale. “This means combining all of our rich customer data sets into a single, unified view of the customer – powered by technology – that allows us to deliver consistent, personalized customer experiences across all touchpoints and channels.”

Alyssa Raine

For Walgreens, health and beauty are the most personal categories for its shoppers and their families, so the marketing must be personal and relevant, she says. Walgreens’ purpose is to champion the health and wellbeing of every community in America; it’s the guiding principle of the organization, she adds.

“We’re transforming WBA (Walgreens Boots Alliance) into a customer-obsessed, fully digitalized organization that delivers extraordinary retail and healthcare experiences for patients and customers and lowers the cost of care while improving outcomes for patients,” she says. “We can do this by combining our extraordinary physical footprint – our team members and our pharmacists – with our digital channels and data to provide consumers rich experiences in and outside of our store.”

Raine points to Walgreens’ recently expanded Find Care Now digital platform as a program she’s excited about. Launched last year, Find Care Now is a mobile and online marketplace for consumers to visit and connect with health care services offered at Walgreens as well as providers in their area. Walgreens is working with 17 providers on the effort.

Another digital wellness program is the Balance Rewards for healthy choices loyalty initiative, which gives consumers points to be used with their Balance Rewards card and to save on purchases when they meet health goals, such as how many steps taken in a day, or for self-monitoring glucose levels and blood pressure.

In a study conducted in 2014 that looked at more than 100,000 participants in the program, Walgreens found that nearly half tracked activities, all lost at least 3 pounds, and more than 16% lost 10 pounds or more over a 180-day span.

Raine assumed the role of Walgreens’ interim chief marketing officer in May, replacing Adam Holyk. She’s learning quickly the importance of marrying the creativity and storytelling that Walgreens does with data and new technology.

She says forums such as the Path to Purchase Expo provide a rich opportunity to come together as a community of practitioners to learn, connect and share. “I’m excited to share with this group what we’ve learned at Walgreens – across our more than 9,000 stores – and to hear from others on similar journeys.”

The Path to Purchase Expo takes place Nov. 13-14 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. A second keynote address on Nov. 14 will come from Rainn Wilson, co-founder of the content studio SoulPancake and comedic actor who’s most known for his role on the TV show “The Office.” He will be joined by SoulPancake general manager Shabnam Mogharabi.