Inside This Issue - News
Drug chains step up marketing efforts
November 23rd, 2009
NEW YORK – Drug chains across the country and in Canada are stepping up their promotional efforts this holiday season, offering everything from sophisticated catalogs and in-store flyers to money-saving programs.
CVS Caremark Corp., for example, recently mailed out an 84-page catalog offering deals on hundreds of products and ways to earn Extra Bucks from the company’s loyalty card program listing.
The products in the catalog — sent to 2 million customers who use the chain’s ExtraCare card — range from a wide variety of toys to a host of gift sets, beauty care items and seasonal products offered exclusively at CVS stores. There are also five pages of gift suggestions within price ranges of $5 to $25.
Similarly, Rite Aid Corp. has put out a 28-page “Holiday Gift Guide” that a spokesman says can help consumers with their holiday shopping. The guide features a broad array of products, including toys, electronics, fragrances and holiday-theme tins, as well as a host of last-minute gift ideas.
Rite Aid is also offering customers a unique “Gift of Savings” program. Running through December 24, the program gives shoppers free gift certificates worth $5, $10 and $20 with purchases of over $25. The larger the purchase, the larger the gift certificate, a company spokesman says.
Meanwhile, New York City-based Duane Reade Inc. recently released the first issue of The Duane Reader, a promotional vehicle that is expected to become a regular part of the chain’s marketing effort.
A 20-page flyer that resembles a tabloid newspaper, the publication includes news on new products as well as offers on consumables, seasonal and holiday gift items, and a variety of everyday drug store products. Each offer is structured to look like a separate story in a newspaper.
“The Duane Reader represents our most recent effort to strengthen our brand image in order to match the positive changes that we are making to our customer experience,” acting chief marketing officer Joe Jackman says. “It’s our hope that busy New Yorkers will find it to be a relevant, useful and entertaining companion for city-living during the holidays.”
North of the border, Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM) is also stepping up its use of printed media for the holidays, publishing a pair of holiday gift books that offer a variety of gift suggestions.
One of the books focuses solely on beauty products, and the other on more general merchandise, a spokeswoman says, noting that the publications have been sent via mail to SDM customers and are available in all of the chain’s stores across Canada.
In addition, SDM is using a tried-and-true approach to getting its name before consumers with a series of radio advertisements that focus on the convenience that the retailer offers shoppers with stores that stay open late or, in some cases, 24 hours a day.
Despite these novel approaches to holiday promotions, drug retailers say they are far from abandoning the traditional in-store circular.
“It is still a very effective tool to help drive traffic,” says a spokeswoman for Walgreen Co. “While interest may have slowed in past years, consumers are showing interest in circulars these days because many seem to be looking for ways to stretch their dollar in this economy.”