Walgreens Flaunts New Loyalty Program

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Walgreens Flaunts New Loyalty Program

By Tim Binder - 12/01/2020

After more than a month of promotional buildup, Walgreens in mid-November launched myWalgreens, uniting the loyalty program’s debut with the rollout of a 30-minute “Pickup” service and an update to the retailer’s mobile application.

The new loyalty program, which replaces the 8-year-old Balance Rewards program, allows members to earn Walgreens Cash on eligible purchases — 5% on Walgreens-branded items and 1% on all other purchases, including pharmacy prescriptions. (Balance Rewards had only offered the equivalent of the latter.) As with Balance Rewards, using myWalgreens also automatically unlocks sale prices, both in stores and online.

Shoppers can sign up for myWalgreens online, via the mobile app or in stores at checkout. Balance Rewards members are able to transfer their membership (and rewards points) to the new program — and must do it by Jan. 31, 2021, to roll over any point balance. Membership will not be transferred automatically.

“What we’ve done, really, is create a free personalized digital platform for customers — a program for ‘the one and only you’ that transitions away from Balance Rewards while adding several new supporting features that you can use in your own way to give you a unique Walgreens experience,” said Janna Gray, senior manager for Walgreens’ customer engagement strategy and platform, in a Walgreens News post.

While Balance Rewards provided but did not require use of a physical rewards card, the myWalgreens program does not feature physical cards. Members use their accounts in stores by scanning their Walgreens mobile app at checkout or providing their email address or phone number.

Additional features of myWalgreens allow members to:

  • Earn bonus Walgreens Cash for achieving physical activity and lifestyle goals via health challenges that last four weeks.
  • Donate their Walgreens Cash to a rotating eligible charity, beginning with the Full Plate Project, a program of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, and to be followed by Vitamin Angels sometime this winter.

To complement the launch of myWalgreens, the retailer on Nov. 10 updated its mobile app. In addition to accessing the features described above, the app lets members opt in to use a digital Wallet to pay in-store (the app can store up to 10 credit cards) and to receive digital receipts for contactless checkout.

The app additionally provides real-time local health and environmental forecasts.

“Once you’re enrolled in myWalgreens, the new features and functionality will be front and center on the home screen of the app in a carousel of tiles,” Gray told Walgreens News. “This includes personalized digital offers just for you. There’s also a dashboard where you can manage your preferences, update information, see your Walgreens Cash rewards and more.

“For most customers, the mobile app is your myWalgreens experience. Meanwhile, all the existing functionality of the app remains intact in a navigation menu at the bottom of your home screen. So you can still do all the things you could do before, like manage your prescriptions and refills, submit photo orders, shop for products or search Find Care to locate nearby healthcare services.”

The Walgreens Pickup service, while not exclusive to myWalgreens members, promises but does not guarantee the availability of online orders for pickup in “as little as 30 minutes.” Orders must be placed at least one hour prior to store closing in order to be eligible, and customers will be notified via email when they are ready for pickup.

“We began offering drive-thru pickup for a small selection of front-of-store items when COVID-19 first hit,” Gray told Walgreens News. “The Pickup program builds on this by making the selection of items much broader. While you’re driving through to get a prescription, you can also be picking up many other items you need from your neighborhood Walgreens.”

According to the retailer, myWalgreens’ debut marks just another milestone in the company’s digital transformation as it works to deliver a highly personalized experience through technology and customer-insight partners Microsoft, Adobe and Epsilon.

Walgreens has promoted the launch of myWalgreens and Walgreens Pickup with a flurry of digital activity via email, social media and its website. In stores, a variety of signage recruits shoppers to join the loyalty program.

Given the advance planning required to execute in-store displays, the loyalty program isn't expected to be fully represented in stores until late winter or early spring 2021. New requirements are viewable in the latest version of Walgreens' Vendor Display Style Guide released in September.