CVS/pharmacy's New Circular Reasoning

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CVS dishes deals based on club members' behavior.
CVS dishes deals based on club members' behavior.

Supermarkets' e-commerce sites often feature a button titled “Your Weekly Ad” to lead visitors to digital versions of printed store circulars pegged to their regions. Now CVS/pharmacy has made the term its own, to provide personalized offers online for individual customers based on their buying behaviors.

Introduced in late September, CVS's myWeekly Ad platform can be accessed by Extra Care cardholders who have accounts on their desktops or mobile devices. Those members can also add offers to digital shopping lists that will guide them to featured products in the proper aisles of the store where they most regularly shop. It's a radical departure from the idea of a circular, which product marketers use hoping that shoppers will discover their deal while leafing through the entire publication.

But one CVS executive maintains that the paper circular will live on, augmented with digitally delivered relevancy. “We know that one of the most popular and longstanding ways CVS/pharmacy delivers value to customers is through the weekly sales circular. In the past we had one [paper] circular that was distributed to 45 million people,” says CVS spokesperson Erin Pensa. “CVS has been personalizing offers to our customers for more than 15 years through our ExtraCare program, and now with myWeeky ad, we've extended that personalized experience to [an online] circular.”

CVS owns a robust store of data with its Extra Care program. It is the oldest (over a decade) and largest (70 million-plus members) loyalty program in the drugstore business, and CVS marketers have already made use of it to curate “Your Deals” offers  for individual visitors to its website.  The new myWeekly Ad platform now adds behavioral analysis to the mix to suggest “Recommended Deals” from among 300-plus items in the online circular.

“For example, with ‘Your Deals,' if a customer purchases Gold Emblem Pretzel Nuggets regularly, then the weekly deal of ‘Spend $30 on CVS Brand products and get $10 ExtraBucks Rewards' would be highlighted in the myWeekly deal display,” Pensa says. “MyWeekly Ad also makes product suggestions based off those products or categories customers have purchased in the past. For example, if you frequently buy paper towels, we might suggest an offer on toilet paper or Kleenex.”

CVS is alerting current subscribers to the program with a video on the company's homepage. To draw in nonsubscribers and nonmembers of Extra Care, it's running a “What's Your Deal” ad campaign online, in print, on TV, and via social media.  TV spots feature celebrities Nick Cannon, George Hamilton, and Joan Rivers.

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