With more than 100 million loyalty program members, and myriad ways to access coupons ? both online and offline ? drug chain Walgreens needed a means of simplifying the process of selecting, redeeming and tracking all of the offers available for its shoppers.
?Our customers needed an easier way to access coupons,? says Rich Lesperance, senior director of personalization and CRM at Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen Co. ?Coupons are a very fragmented business. There are manufacturers? coupons, offers from the retailer, and they are delivered to the consumer in many different ways. We wanted to develop a platform that would enable any offer to be clippable, redeemable and accessible from any device, anywhere and anytime.?
The drug chain found the answer to that challenge with a new solution from Coupons.com Inc. Retailer iQ is a targeting and analytics platform that combines several components into a cohesive, omni-channel platform designed to drive engagement, activation and shopping behavior for retailers and their consumer packaged goods (CPG) clients.
The components include digital e-receipts via SMS and e-mail, personalized recommendations for products and coupons, integrated shopping lists, extensive targeting capabilities, real-time analytics, and a wide range of integrated digital media experiences. The platform integrates into the retailer point-of-sale system to manage the entire flow of digital couponing, including creation, issuance, activation, redemption, validation and clearing.
Walgreens began rolling out Retailer iQ early this year, and the technology is now running in more than 8,000 stores. Its mobile app has been nominated for a Webby Award for excellence in an integrated mobile experience.
According to Lesperance, the Coupons.com platform makes all of Walgreens? offers accessible from any connected device, anywhere, anytime. ?When customers open up the mobile app and click on the weekly ad, for example, the digital offers are automatically loaded into their balance rewards accounts,? he says. ?Everything is geared toward being simplified and automatic. We want to make it easy for our customers to interact with us across channels, and we don?t want them to have to remember to bring another thing into the store.?
According to Steven Boal, CEO and founder of Mountain View, Calif.-based Coupons.com, the technology ditches crumpled, indecipherable receipts and irrelevant coupons with digital ease. ?It?s an incredibly powerful tool,? he says. ?We spent three years building it.?
The power of Retailer iQ, notes Boal, lies in its replacement of paper receipts and promotions with an integrated digital experience that keeps the shopper and retailer connected beyond the register. At checkout, shoppers have the option to receive an e-receipt delivered by text message or e-mail. In addition to listing items purchased, the e-receipt also includes highly relevant digital coupons that can be added directly to the shopper?s account, loyalty card or rewards program for paperless savings. Shopping lists can be created and managed, incorporating personalized offers based on purchase history. An online dashboard shows the shopper?s potential savings available and which coupons he or she has yet to use.
To make things so effortless on the consumer-facing side of the system takes a lot of effort on the back end. ?There are multiple systems involved, and to tie them all together is very complicated,? admits Lesperance. ?You have the digital coupons, the POS system, loyalty system, and integration with partners like Coupons.com Inc. The goal is to make it a seamless process from end to end, from coupon discovery through to redemption.?
Helping to make it seamless is the solution?s direct integration to the retailer?s point-of-sale system, which means that retailers without loyalty card programs in place can also benefit from using it, says Boal. ?Because of this direct integration, Coupons.com Inc. can process an enormous amount of data instantaneously, applying a shopper?s offers to the transaction and emailing them with a receipt,? he adds. ?A shopper can clip coupons while waiting in line, and it?s available for them when they get to the POS.?
Coupons.com also leverages its Big Data analysis capabilities to create dynamic, relevant offers on the fly. ?For example, data may show that the pollen count in an area is up, so we may want to give shoppers an offer on antihistamines,? says Boal. ?We analyze a variety of outside data that can impact Walgreens? shoppers, such as online behavior, mobile behavior, geography, flu tracking and weather.?
This robust platform, combined with an award-winning app that can deliver the functions noted above ? as well as refill prescriptions, find products in the store and customize a family photo to use as a holiday greeting card ? shows that the drug chain has found a way to develop a digital solution that?s relevant to both young and old shoppers alike.
?Everything is geared toward being simplified and automatic. We want to make it easy for our customers to interact with us across channels, and we don?t want them to have to remember to bring another thing into the store.?
?Rich Lesperance, Walgreens