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Walgreens stresses simplicity with mobile app

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RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. — When it redesigned its mobile app about a year ago, one of Walgreens’ priorities was to keep the customer experience as simple as possible.

“It’s about taking friction out of the experience,” said Deepika Pandey, group vice president of digital marketing, product and innovation at Walgreens.

Pandey and Ray Kim, senior manager of user experience for mobile, discussed Walgreens’ efforts in the space at the recent Shop.org Digital Experience Workshop, which was held July 18 to 20.

Walgreens launched its first iPhone app in November 2009, and since then the company’s mobile strategy has evolved rapidly. By mid 2013 mobile accounted for just over 50% of the company’s web traffic, and in 2014 and 2015 Walgreens redesigned its web site to work better on all kinds of mobile devices. Walgreens launched its QuickPrints service in February 2012, launched a pilot program to test in-store beacons in Duane Reade stores in May 2014, and became the first retailer to integrate Apple Pay with its own loyalty program in November 2015.

Pandey noted that by taking advantage of the capabilities of today’s mobile devices, Walgreens has been able to add an element of fun, as well as greater convenience, to chores like getting prescription refills.

“Refill by Scan allows the customer to take advantage of the camera on their device,” she said. “They just open the app, scan a barcode on their prescription bottle, and they’re done. We like to call this ‘refills in 17 seconds or less.’ Since then, again continuing to focus on the experience, we’ve launched Refill by Text, which takes refilling a prescription from 17 seconds to less than 3 seconds. We send you a text message and all you have to do is reply back refill.”

Walgreens has taken a mobile-first approach to web design, Pandey points out, seeing its app as a tool for reaching its best customers. (Not everyone is willing to download a company’s app, which takes up precious memory and screen real estate.) The regular web experience, by contrast, represents a mass offering that is designed to reach all customers.






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