Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Walgreens introduces mobile coupons to encourage shopping via apps


Walgreens is bringing mobile coupons to smartphone users beginning the day after Thanksgiving as it looks to enhance the shopping experience via its mobile apps.

Walgreens is adding mobile coupons that can be scanned at point-of-sale to its existing mobile applications. The coupons, which will be available from Nov. 25 to Dec. 24, will range in value from 50 cents to $5 and will be good toward a variety of products including beauty items, gifts, consumables and diapers.

“This is another way in which we’re enhancing our mobile apps and creating greater value for our mobile customers who use the app,” said Rich Lesperance, director of marketing for e-commerce at Walgreens, Deerfield, IL.

“Today’s consumers are seeking value and convenience, and we’re entering the peak holiday shopping season,” he said.

“This feature makes it easier for our mobile users to redeem coupons – because there’s no clipping or printing required — it’s as easy as downloading the app, and you’re ready to shop and save.   And this now enables our mobile customers to use the app in our stores.”

Early success
Walgreens has free mobile apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices that enable consumers to refill prescriptions by scanning the bar code on a prescription bottle or by entering a prescription number.

The apps have proven very successful for the retailer, with over 25 percent of online prescription refills occurring via the apps.

In addition, more than 2 million people now use Walgreens prescription refill reminder and prescription-ready text alerts.

Mobile coupons are another way the retailer is enhancing its mobile strategy while also providing a way to take advantage of the expected surge in mobile shopping this holiday season.

Mobile coupons also enable Walgreens to provide customers with a feature they are looking for in mobile. Walgreens recently polled its Facebook fans, asking them what feature they would most like to see in the retailer’s mobile app and the most popular response was mobile coupons.

“Mobile is a key component of our multichannel offerings and this holiday season we expect more consumers to rely on their smartphones for shopping convenience,” Mr. Lesperance said. “So it’s another way we can deliver choice, control and convenience – as well as savings, through mobile and our other channels.

“As a wonderful prescription utility, our app has top-notch reviews from customers , and we now have an opportunity to move beyond that and offer more shopping features,” he said.

Can scan
Cashiers can scan the mobile coupon straight from a user’s smartphone so there is no need to clip or print coupons.

Walgreens has mobile scanning capabilities at all of the more than 7,700 Walgreens stores nationwide, making this the largest retail mobile coupon program in the United States, according to the company.

Walgreens has not yet released any details about any post-holiday mobile coupon programs.

Other shopping features in the Walgreens app include the ability to view weekly ads and the latest sales, to shop directly from any smartphone, browse products and check in-store availability and receive text alerts regarding special offers and exclusive deals.

“Our mobile apps give users on-the-go convenience wherever they are and whenever they need us,” Mr. Lesperance said.

“But in addition to the convenience, people are also looking for value,” he said.

“Through mobile, our customers can browse weekly ads, check in store availability, receive special offer text alerts and shop.  Adding mobile coupons give us another opportunity to deliver exclusive savings and optimal convenience to the growing numbers of consumers who are shopping through mobile and using mobile apps.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York