The latest digital initiative from Duane Reade aims to give New Yorkers a heads-up on the weather.

Duane Reade, Poncho, personalized weather forecasting service, digital initiative, mobile devices, New York drug chain, Walgreen, Calvin Peters, coupons, allergies, pollen count, Kuan Huang

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Duane Reade pilots weather report service

March 20th, 2014

NEW YORK – The latest digital initiative from Duane Reade aims to give New Yorkers a heads-up on the weather.

The metropolitan New York drug chain, part of Walgreen Co., said Thursday that it's piloting Poncho, a personalized weather forecasting service that sends users of mobile devices, as well as personal computers, weather updates via text or e-mail.

Those signing up for Poncho will get regular weather reports with select alerts featuring coupons for Duane Reade products "that will help them battle the elements," according to the retailer, which has more than 250 stores.

In addition, the personalized weather alerts include messages for sufferers of seasonal allergies, with special notifications when the pollen count is high. On those days, Poncho users will receive exclusive discounts that can be used for specified allergy relief products at Duane Reade stores. The initiative aligns with the weeks in which allergy season has shown the sharpest spikes, basd on Gallup tracking.

"At Duane Reade, we constantly strive to offer our customers what they need now, with one-stop-shop convenience and localized relevance to their everyday lives," Calvin Peters, public relations and digital communications manager at Duane Reade, said in a statement. "Weather is a perfect example of something that impacts people's daily decisions, which is why collaborating with a personalized tool like Poncho affords us another way to provide our customers with products and services that are intrinsic to their individual lifestyle."

Duane Reade customers subscribing to Poncho take a brief survey to indicate what time they wake up, how they commute to work and whether they have allergies. They then immediately begin receiving twice-daily weather updates, once in the morning when they awake and once in the evening before they leave work. Poncho noted that it "puts confusing meteorologist terminology into an easy-to-understand message and delivers it before users have to even ask for it."

"Poncho's ultimate goal is to continue being a trusted resource in helping our community of users plan their daily routines in the same way a weather forecaster would on their favorite news channel," stated Kuan Huang, founder of Poncho. "Partnering with Duane Reade allows us to provide a destination for relief to our users instead of simply notifying them that the day ahead will be a rough one. We're looking forward to helping Duane Reade customers during this allergy season and welcoming more users to the Poncho community."

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