September 10, 2012, 10:17 AM

Walgreens debuts a multi-channel loyalty program

Customers can access the program via the web and the chain’s mobile app.

Amy Dusto

Associate Editor

Lead Photo

Walgreen Co., No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is launching a new online and mobile loyalty program for customers of its Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, the company announced last week. Balance Rewards will go live on Sept. 16 but consumers who sign up for the program online before then will be entered in a sweepstakes for 10 million rewards points, Walgreen said. A mobile rewards card for the program will work through the retailer’s mobile app, eliminating the need for customers to carry around a plastic card, though they may request one in addition to the virtual version.

“The Balance Rewards program and its features build upon our efforts to give customers easy, multichannel access to health and daily living needs,” says Graham Atkinson, Walgreen’s senior vice president and chief experience officer. “We hope the 10 million point giveaway will not only encourage our customers to join Balance Rewards, but also share the unique combination of features of this loyalty program with their friends and family.” Customers earn an extra entry in the sweepstakes for each referral who signs up. At the end of the period Walgreen will pick 10 winners.

The mobile app, which is free, has been updated to include features specific to Balance Rewards. For one, customers can use the program’s mobile loyalty card through the app on their smartphones when checking out inside stores to redeem and earn points. The app also allows Balance Rewards members to check the status of their loyalty accounts, including all purchases, point activity and savings.

Additionally, customers may earn points in their Balance Rewards accounts if they are registered for the Walk with Walgreens program, in which members get points that can be redeemed for coupons and special offers based on the amount of walking or running they log online. Other health-based actions, like spending on immunizations and prescriptions at the store, also merit customer points. And starting on Sept. 16, anytime access to Walgreens’ online pharmacy chat service will become exclusive to Balance Rewards members, the retailer says.

Balance Rewards points translate to redemption dollars that can be put towards purchasing select store items (exclusions include liquor, tobacco and prescriptions) in five tiers, according Walgreen. They are:

• 5,000 points = $5

• 10,000 points = $10

• 18,000 points = $20

• 30,000 points = $35

• 40,000 points = $50

The announcement of the new program follows recent updates to the Walgreens mobile app including a function to print photos directly from Facebook or their mobile devices and an in-store maps feature that helps customers locate in which aisle and section particular items can be found inside any Walgreens location.

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