It started as an obsession with Duane Reade in New York City. Strategically located on every corner where one might need an escape from the city (i.e. every high traffic corner), DR became the safe place to stop and meander if I was bored, upset, or caught in the rain. Somehow, a stroll through DR would always remind me of some essential item that I needed to buy.
After I enrolled in my Duane Reade FlexRewards, I was officially hooked – and DR became the first retail rewards card to earn a coveted place on my key chain. Now that the store is no longer local to me, my love has easily converted to Walgreens (DR’s national parent chain since 2010).
They say that brick and mortar retail is dying, and I’m not going to argue for or against that. All I know is that I’ll happily walk five minutes out of my way to visit my favorite drugstore. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. They make it easy for me to transition between brands and rewards
A couple years ago, my Duane Reade FlexRewards card was replaced with a DR/Walgreens Balance Rewards card. At the time I didn’t particularly think about the significance, but when I traveling outside the DR zone I began to automatically choose Walgreens over other drugstores in order to continue racking up points. When I moved to the West Coast, it was an easy switch from one to the other; I can go to Walgreens for a familiar experience and to reap the benefits of all the Duane Reade shopping I did in NYC. With the simple accessibility from one store to the other, Walgreens managed to keep my loyalty across brands.
2. They help me save on the things I want in a way that fits my lifestyle
When I make purchases at Walgreens, the coupons printed for me are for products I’ve actually bought in their stores. A coupon for a dollar off an herbal supplement would go straight in the trash and leave me feeling annoyed, but a coupon for my favorite brand of dry shampoo makes me feel pampered and excited to receive a personalized discount.
But who can keep track of paper coupons? Brilliantly, I can now go to my Walgreens app and “clip” coupons for products I want to buy. Those coupons go directly into my Balance Rewards, so they automatically apply when I use my card at the store. The only extra step I have to take is clipping coupons on the app, which becomes a fun pre-shopping game, and Walgreens has managed to get me actively involved with their media.
3. They take care of me before I remember to take care of myself
Walgreens sends me emails about my prescription when it’s ready to be refilled, before I even remember that I’m running low. I can opt to send my refill to a different location than where the prescription was filed, which is particularly useful when bouncing between home and office locations. Better yet, Walgreens allows patients to refill prescriptions through QR codes on the label. These kinds of refill services aren’t particularly unique anymore, but Walgreens was one of the first to implement them. This guarantees that I’ll keep coming back – no other pharmacy knows me like Walgreens.
4. They reward me for living my life according to my (and their!) values
The Balance Rewards program easily connects to my Fitbit, so I actually earn points for the healthy activity I would have done anyway. This visibly reinforces the idea that Walgreens rewards my healthy behaviors, and it makes me feel even more connected to the brand as one that supports me and shares my values.
In summary, what’s the big reason I love Walgreens? It’s that Walgreens, as a brand, retail business, and rewards program, kind of acts like it loves me too. As long as there are Walgreens around, I’m not going to be shopping at Soap.com anytime soon.