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Duane Reade app sets in-store agenda to match Walgreens’ innovations

Walgreens’ Duane Reade drugstore chain has updated its iPhone application with a focus on enhancing the in-store experience via digital and social content, including a 10-store iBeacon test and instant Instagram prints.

The 2.0 update, the first in a series of app announcements planned for Duane Reade in 2014, adds other new features such as auto-refill by scan for prescriptions and the inclusion of weekly ads and coupons. This first wave of planned app updates brings the app up-to-par with the features of parent company Walgreens’ iPhone app.

“By utilizing the iBeacon features through the Duane Reade iOS mobile app, the customer in-store user experience is improved,” said Calvin Peters, public relations and digital communications manager at Duane Reade, New York. “It provides for shopping aides customers may need and/or appreciate when shopping at one of our stores that has the iBeacon installed.

“This will include weekly ads and coupons, preferred store features, pill reminder, shopping list, product locator and scanning options for detailed item information/ordering, etc.,” he said. “Via iBeacon, the in-store mode screen gives the user access to key aides a shopper can utilize when in the store.

“From there, users will have the choice to use any of these features like browsing store items from the ‘shop’ icon and adding them to a shopping list. There’s also a floor map that displays an overhead view of the specific store location, in addition, iBeacon has a product locator that will allow a user to search for an item and then plot that item on the in-store map.”

Bird’s-eye view
With mobile at the core of Duane Reade’s social media strategy, the app update is designed to provide users with tools, programs and category-specific, consumer-generated media for greater relevancy and convenience.

Through the app’s in-store mode, customers will have quick access to their Balance Rewards loyalty program bar code as well as a paperless coupons scorecard indicating the specific number of coupons clipped and the savings associated with each. Additionally, shoppers can browse the weekly ad, clip mobile coupons straight to their loyalty card and immediately redeem them at the point-of-sale.

Users will also see a floor map displaying a bird’s-eye view of the store location and can access a product locator to search for items and plot their location via the in-store map.

There is also a scanner for accessing detailed item information and users can instantly send Instagram four-by-four prints directly to a Duane Reade location.

Omni-channel engagements
Other new features include the ability to browse the weekly ad and clip coupons straight to a shopper’s loyalty card; Pill Reminder, to remind users when it is time to take their medication, and Steps with Balance Rewards, enabling users to earn loyalty points by logging activities and setting goals.

The iBeacon test leverages Bluetooth Low Energy technology and geo-fencing for hyperlocal engagements with customers when they are nearby or inside a Duane Reade store. IBeacon is a technology introduced by Apple with the release of iOS 7.

The integration with the app enables Duane Reade to send offers that appear on the lock screen and which are based on historical data as well as product reviews to reach shoppers with relevant information at the point-of-decision.
Duane Reade is testing the iBeacon strategy in 10 Manhattan stores to determine if a broader rollout is viable.

“The Duane Reade app for iOS plays an integral role in our omni-channel customer engagement strategy,” Mr. Peters said. “We are a digital-forward organization, and we realize mobile and social are intrinsically linked.

“We know our busy, on-the-go customers have so much to take care of when shopping,” he said. “The iBeacon experience will facilitate them executing what they need to accomplish on any particular stop to one of our Duane Reade locations in a matter of minutes.”

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