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Walgreens updates app for seamless experiences from Web search

Walgreens’ latest update to its iOS application includes 3D Touch and Touch ID integrations as well as the ability to search certain keywords from the Web to directly access specific in-app features.

Both Walgreens’ iOS and Android apps have been integrated with Web search, in a direct response to how customers are using and engaging with the apps. Bridging app and Web experiences is a big focus of mobile platforms such as Android and iOS this year.

“We know that our users have and use a lot of apps, and we know that sometimes it’s hard to remember where any one app is on the phone,” said Ben Weiss, mobile product manager for Walgreens. “Customers use solutions, like search, to find apps.

“With the latest version of our app, customers can search for keywords besides just ‘Walgreens’ to pull up the app – keywords like ‘refill,’ ‘medication,’ ‘shampoo’ and ‘photos’ automatically bring up the Walgreens app, and better yet, rather than simply opening the app, on tap, we bring the customer right into that feature,” he said.

“With these kinds of features, the Web and app worlds are beginning to blur, and for customers, it just means we can direct them to the best experience possible, regardless of where they started.”

Web, app integration
Walgreens’ latest update adds support for Apple’s three new search APIs. The retailer also added support for Google App Indexing in the release, extending that same seamless app experience to users coming via Web search.

On iOS, the update also includes a number of other new features designed to enhance the user experience by taking advantage of the operating system’s newest capabilities.

For example, Walgreens has added shortcuts to some of the frequently used features in its app using Apple’s 3D Touch technology.

“For users with an iPhone 6S or 6S+, they can ‘press hard’ on the Walgreens icon, and they’ll be presented with that list of shortcuts,” Mr. Weiss said. “It’s a really great way to remove that last bit of friction and give our users what they really want – more time back in their day.

“Walgreens is about convenience and giving customers flexibility on their terms,” he said. “As we make enhancements, we’re always looking to provide updates that give users back some ‘time’ because it’s valuable to our users and core to our brand.”

Omnichannel experiences
Walgreens also added support for Touch ID in a move to eliminate some of the friction around usernames and passwords while enhancing security and privacy.

When checking their prescription status and history in the app, users can now find their orders group to indicate whether refills are on track, delayed or attention is needed.

If attention is needed, users can leverage a one-tap method for getting in touch with the pharmacy to clear up any issues.

Walgreens also added pill images to the app to help customers better identify their medications in a list and simplify the way information is presented.

The store locator experience was also redesigned to provide a quick way to see if nearby stores and pharmacies are open and get directions.

“With a single tap, users can get turn by turn directions using Google Maps and Apple Maps – whichever the customers has installed, and prefers,” Mr. Weiss said.

“We also sped up the experience, again, shaving off every second we could,” he said.

“Our stores are the heart of our business, and having a best-in-class store locator experience is essential for any omnichannel retailer.”