Technology and the Human Touch at P2PX

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Technology and the Human Touch at P2PX

By Dan Ochwat - 11/05/2019
Technology and the Human Touch at P2PX

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,” said Alyssa Raine, acting CMO of Deerfield, Ill.-based 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.

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The Path to Purchase Expo in Chicago is hosted by the Path to Purchase Institute, part of EnsembleIQ, parent company of Progressive Grocer. 

The event will take place Nov. 13-14 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago. 

For more information and to register for P2PX, visit

Elaborating more on this long-term vision, Raine said that 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.”

Retail healthy and beauty programs

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

“We’re transforming WBA [Walgreens Boots Alliance] into a customer-obsessed, fully digitalized organization that delivers extraordinary retail and health care experiences for patients and customers, and lowers the cost of care while improving outcomes for patients,” she said. “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 pointed to Walgreens’ recently expanded Find Care Now digital platform as an exciting program. 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 blood 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.

According to Raine, 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,” she noted.

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 a 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.