May 2, 2012, 1:03 PM

CVS’s updated mobile app lets smartphones double as loyalty cards

The app enables users to store their loyalty card data in their smartphones.

Lead Photo

With the slew of loyalty programs offered by retailers today, it can be easy for consumers to lose track of the little plastic cards that are often paired with such programs and scanned at checkout for discounts and coupons. One thing that most consumers always have on hand, however, is their mobile phone.

A new feature in CVS/pharmacy’s mobile app lets shoppers leave their loyalty cards at home and store their card data in their smartphones. Consumers can use the bar code scanning functionality in the updated app to scan the bar code on the back of their CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare loyalty card or manually enter their account number to store a card in their smartphones. CVS/pharmacy registers are equipped with optical scanners that can scan from a mobile device; the beams from conventional laser scanners, far more common in retail today, bounce off the screen of a smartphone. The clerk at the register scans the loyalty account bar code as it appears on the opened application with the optical scanners.

The app, available for free via the Apple App Store for the iPhone or via Google Play for smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system, also lets consumers manage their prescriptions, shop, locate stores and access the drugstore chain’s weekly circular.

"During the past few months, we've significantly expanded the mobile options available to our digitally minded customers with the goal of creating the most personalized and accessible shopping experience," says Rob Price, senior vice president of marketing and chief marketing officer for CVS/pharmacy. "ExtraCare members can use the new CVS mobile app to easily store their ExtraCare cards and can also have full access to their ExtraCare accounts right from their smartphones, making it even easier to view their personalized offers.”

CVS Caremark Corp., No. 92 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300, also offers a commerce-enabled mobile site created by mobile commerce technology vendor Usablenet Inc., as well as a text message program that alerts consumers when their prescriptions are ready to be picked up. In November, CVS/pharmacy updated its iPhone and Android apps to enable consumers to hold a smartphone’s camera above the bar code on a prescription bottle to send a refill notification to their preferred CVS/pharmacy store.

The CVS/pharmacy loyalty program has more than 69 million active cardholders, CVS says.

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