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How Walgreens and CVS can fend off Amazon

Stop and imagine for a moment that you could no longer dart over to the drugstore to choose the right kind of bandage for that fresh cut on your hand. Suppose you had to order online, and maybe you could get one-hour delivery but what if that bandage didn't fit... 

We don't think that allowing Amazon to close down all the neighborhood drugstores is a good idea. We hope those drugstores can crank up the in-store experience and keep contributing to healthier neighborhoods for a long, long time. 

The Wise Marketer: How does CVS ExtraCare stack up against Walgreens Balance Rewards? The Tale of two Tapes, 2018-Jul-6 by Bill Hanifin

[The CVS] pharmacy keeps the value of ExtraCare squarely in front of its members at the point-of-sale and actively serves up a large volume of manufacturer coupons. It also delivers twice the rebate at a base level, while Walgreens is allowing its differentiating set of lifestyle rewards to slip further into the fine print of its program benefits.

The bigger question is whether either program packs the punch to serve as an Amazon/Pillpack vaccine. In both cases, the communication of program benefits could be sharpened to heighten the perceived value of the program to its members. Points could be offered more extensively in the aisles to give the daily shopping experience a “treasure hunt” feel, something that is difficult to replicate online. And, the role of the neighborhood pharmacy as vital to our ongoing health is something that can be communicated and supported through the rewards program.

On this note, much more could be done by both programs to make the reward program a more vital part of the daily shopping experience and remind customers the unique value of a brick and mortar pharmacy. Adding this aspect of value to both programs could prove to be the treatment needed to stave off customer defection to the newest online competitor. 

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