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Customer loyalty is healthy at Walgreens

Walgreens’ new loyalty program is proving to be a healthy business decision. As Direct Marketing News reported in “Walgreen’s loyalty program debut intensifies drugstore loyalty battle,” the drugstore chain has garnered the attention of customers and competitors alike with its Balance Reward loyalty program. 

Since launching the program on September 16, the chain is reportedly surpassing its expectations for registrations. Direct Marketing News spoke with Walgreen’s Divisional VP of Loyalty and Consumer Insights Adam Holyk to learn more about the program.

How does Balance Rewards differ from the programs previously offered at Walgreen’s and Duane Reade?

Balance Rewards is Walgreens first-ever loyalty program and offers customers easy enrollment, exclusive savings, instant points, and [various] rewards, as well as ways to get, stay, and live well at Walgreens. Duane Reade stores are also participating in Balance Rewards. Duane Reade Flex Rewards program points have been converted to Balance Rewards and become available when customers join in the new program.

What’s Walgreens’ chief motivation for launching what your press materials call one of the largest programs in company history?

We’re always looking for ways to better serve our customers and expand on our legacy of innovation. The program also strengthens Walgreens’ ability to better understand our customers, meet their changing needs, and treat our best customers even better. We’re hopeful that the program better enables our customers to interact with us on their terms in their preferred channels–online, via mobile, at the register, even at photo kiosks. Ultimately, we want to learn enough about our customers so we’re building engagement, not just pushing offers.

Balance Rewards has a pretty simple structure at its outset. Will that change?

Balance Rewards members get to enjoy special savings while earning points on thousands of items in store and online. Members can also earn points for making healthy choices, such as filling a prescription or participating in Walk with Walgreens. Members can then choose how and when to redeem their points.

Once we learn more about our customers and their spending and preferences, we’ll look to introduce new features, to treat our best customers even better. 

What’s the company’s investment in the program?

As this is one of the largest and most important programs in company history, Walgreens has invested significantly in Balance Rewards, especially when it comes to technology. One of Balance Rewards greatest attributes is that it’s multichannel and easy to use. Customers can join and manage their Balance Rewards account in-stores, online, and through our mobile app. All stores have been updated with more modern registers that support Balance Rewards. Our marketing team is also executing the largest integrated marketing campaign in company history.

Membership goals for the first year?

I don’t want to give specific numbers, but I will say we believe that Balance Rewards can be the largest consumer loyalty program in the country.

How did the card design come about? Is that an infinity sign?

The word “balance” captures our customers’ desire for harmony in their lives. Being truly well is all about finding the balance between happy and healthy, which is where you will find Walgreens: at the intersection of happy and healthy.

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