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The Rx Factor

in Retail Loyalty


services are differentiating



Strength Seekers

Bouncy and shiny are nice, but consumers want stronger tresses and healthy scalps

Tech Deck Beauty brands turn to technology in leveling up basic tools


In Sync

Automation and technology companies are creating efficiencies for pharmacies and pharmacists in a post-COVID environment


High Tech Help Managing diabetes has gotten much easier and less invasive thanks to cutting-edge technology


Tough Times Call for Candy

As people crave sweet treats, manufacturers are innovating with nostalgia and novelty

DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $125 one year; $230 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $150 one year; $270 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $170 one year; $325 two year; $16 single issue copy. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Vol. 44 No. 10, October 2022. Copyright © 2022 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved. Vol. 44 No. 10 DEPARTMENTS 8 EDITOR’S NOTE 10 INDUSTRY NEWS 14 CBD NEWS 18 PRODUCTS TO WATCH 22 WOMEN IN THE NEWS COLUMNS Facebook.com/DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/DrugStoreNews FEATURES 54
initiatives 20 GUEST COLUMN By
This Holiday Season 62

What’s Your Story?

Recently, I was having dinner with some people when one of our dinner companions started recounting a harrowing story he went through during his daughter’s illness. Amid the insurance rigamarole, tests, surgeries, waiting and crying, there was a surprising bright spot: the patience and support from his local retail pharmacy.

The diner had us rapt with stories of the dedication and knowledge of the pharmacy employees as well as their support during the entire ordeal. It was a moving moment. His daughter has recovered nicely, and the man is eternally grateful.

I remembered that story when we were planning this month’s cover story on the community impact of retail pharmacies. Sure, pharmacies provide scripts, flu shots and other important services, but the industry as a whole does a lot more for the communities they serve. Many have programs built around service to the community, including supporting local charities, creating educational programs, setting up scholarships and doing free health screenings in underserved neighborhoods.

This month, we are looking at other initiatives that are on the table. “Increasingly, those efforts have focused on diversity, equity and access to healthcare resources as retailers seek to play a role in improving health outcomes in disadvantaged communities,” our contributor writes. “Sustainability also has become more and more important, as many consumers — especially millennials and Gen Zers — now expect companies to take aggressive steps to minimize their impact on the environment.”

Battling on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the approach that retailers have taken toward their community-focused initiatives, the story says. As a result, retailers are thinking about the makeup of their staff as well as the effects of their environmental footprint and social justice stance.

But our cover story merely scratches the surface. We would need more pages and more time to tell you all the ways. And we plan to do just that, but we need your help. We want you to send us personalized stories of individuals or stores that went above and beyond, or even initiatives that made a difference for customers and society in general. We know you have stories, and we want to hear them. dsn

An EnsembleIQ Publication

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John Beckner, NCPA

Becky Dant, Costco

J. Jeremy Faulks, Thrifty White Pharmacy Doug M. Long, IQVIA

Nancy Lyons, Health Mart Pharmacy Katie Scanlon, Publix Super Markets

Heidi Snyder, Drug World Pharmacies


Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Litterick

Chief Financial Officer, Jane Volland

Chief People Officer, Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Operations, Derek Estey

Executive Vice President, Content & Communications, Joe Territo

Retail pharmacies go beyond the basics with initiatives that impact their communities

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InPen™ The InPen™ is a home-use reusable pen injector for single-patient use by people with diabetes under the supervision of an adult caregiver, or by a patient age 7 and older for the self-injection of a desired dose of insulin and for calculating an insulin dose or carbohydrate intake based on user entered data. A healthcare professional must assist in dosage programming of the device prior to use, based on various patient-specific criteria and targets. The InPen™ requires a prescription. For additional product and safety information, please consult the Instructions for Use and bit.ly/InPenSafety. © 2022
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Blue Echo Care, Hisamitsu Impress at ECRM’s Health Care Session

Blue Echo Care won the Drug Store News Buyers’ Choice Award for its Cleanse Right At-Home Ear Wax Removal Spiral during ECRM’s Health Care session in August. Hisamitsu was a finalist for its Salonpas Lidocaine Flex Patch.

The products were selected from dozens of entries submitted by participating suppliers. Buyers were able to evaluate each entry and cast their votes based on product packaging and innovation via the Drug Store News-branded Buyers’ Choice Awards section of the ECRM Connect platform.

“Addressing unique consumer needs is the hallmark of innovative brands, and both Buyers’ Choice Award winners accomplish this,” said Craig Chmielowicz, senior vice president of health and beauty care at ECRM. “One provides a safe alternative for removing ear wax while the other developed a pain patch that stays put regardless of how much you move. Congratulations to both winners.”

Blue Echo Care, the creators of the Cleanse Right brand of ear wax removers, specializes in affordable, American-made, at-home healthcare products. With 12 million Americans visiting the hospital every year to remove ear wax blockages, it’s the mission of Blue Echo Care to normalize the conversation around at-home health care, particularly when it comes to ear wax.

The brand’s Cleanse Right At-Home Ear Wax Removal Spiral is for daily use in removing ear wax and is a safe alternative to cotton swabs. Users simply insert the soft, spiral silicone tip into the ear and turn clockwise.

The products are sold as a part of two different kits that include carbamide peroxide ear drops and irrigation devices, both of which have proven efficacy in removing ear wax blockages, according to the company.

The Salonpas brand of topical pain medication is sold in the United States by Hisamitsu America, a Japanese pharmaceutical company that was founded in 1847 and began operations in the U.S. market in 1987. The Salonpas brand is recognized by Euromonitor as the “World’s No. 1 OTC Topical Analgesic Patch Brand” and the “No. 1 Doctor Recommended OTC Pain Relief Patches,” based on IQVIA Pro Voice survey data.

The Salonpas Lidocaine Flex Patch was developed to address the need for a lidocaine patch that was designed to move, bend and flex with the contours of the body and not fall off.

The product provides the maximum OTC strength of lidocaine 4% in a stretchable, thin fabric.

Wegmans to Drop SCAN App

Wegmans discontinued its SCAN app on Sept. 18, according to a company spokesperson.

company spokesperson.

The app allows shoppers to scan items, pay and bag purchases as they move through the store.

The spokesperson provided a statement to Drug Store

, which said, “Early in the pandemic, we quickly rolled out our SCAN app to provide a contactless in-store shopping option. SCAN users have told us they love the app and convenience it offers. Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state.”

The statement continued, “We’ve made the decision to turn off the app until we can make improvements that will meet the needs of our customers and business. We’ve learned a lot, and we will continue to introduce new digital solutions to streamline the shopping experience for the future.”

Wegmans did not comment on whether the retailer was offering some app users a gift certificate or some type of “reward.”

the pandemic, we quickly have told us they love the app Unfortunately, the losses we are or some type of “reward.”


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Be Smart Get Prepared Launches Diabetic Wound Care Kit

Total Resources International, or TRI, has launched a wound care kit as part of its flagship Be Smart Get Prepared brand to treat wounds associated with diabetes, specifically foot and leg ulcers.

Developed with the supervision of a wound care doctor, the Be Smart Get Prepared Tender Lovin’ Diabetic Wound Care Kit is a 70-piece kit that accommodates five or more wound dressing changes. It features Silvex Wound Gel, silicone foam pads, sterile gauzes, bandages, tapes, scissors, a wound care guide and more.

Walmart, UnitedHealth Group Partner on Health Services

Walmart and UnitedHealth Group announced the beginning of an initial 10-year, wide-ranging collaboration. Together, the companies will work to bring together the collective expertise of serving millions with affordable health services that improve health outcomes and the patient experience.

Slated to begin in 2023 with 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia, the companies will expand their collaboration to additional locations over time. The end goal, the companies said, is serving seniors and Medicare beneficiaries in value-based arrangements through multiple Medicare Advantage plans.

“We’re on a journey to transform health care, connecting more people to the right care at the right time — at a cost that makes sense,” said Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart. “This collaboration puts the patient at the center of health care by leveraging the strength and complementary skill sets of our two companies to accelerate access to quality care.”

The goal for the wound kit is “infection prevention,” according to the company. For most diabetic patients, wounds often take longer to heal or do not heal properly. It is common for poorly treated wounds to develop infections, which can lead to life-threatening complications.

The Tender Lovin’ Diabetic Wound Care Kit will be available at major retailers in 2023.

Optum, a UnitedHealth Group business, will help Walmart Health clinicians with analytics and decision support tools to deliver comprehensive value-based care that can help drive positive health outcomes for seniors and Medicare beneficiaries. These capabilities will enhance the care already provided at Walmart Health centers, which deliver quality, accessible care through a collaborative, teambased delivery model, and will help accelerate the transition to value-based care by enabling clinicians to focus on patient outcomes, the company said.

Beginning in January 2023, the collaboration will include a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan in Georgia, UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Walmart Flex (HMO-POS). Also in January, Walmart Health Virtual Care will be in network for commercial members in UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus PPO plan, giving consumers another option to access care when and where they want it.

Eventually, the collaboration aims to serve even more people, including those across commercial and Medicaid plans, by providing access to fresh food and enhancing current initiatives to address social determinants of health, overthe-counter and prescription medications, and dental and vision services, Walmart noted.



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NuLeaf Naturals Intros New Line of Gummies

NuLeaf Naturals has introduced two new plant-based gummy products for consumers seeking wellness solutions.

The gummies, made from 100% plant-based ingredients, offer a full-spectrum CBD and a 3:1 full-spectrum CBD:CBN ratio, which contributes “to the brand’s goal of offering

LumiZen Wellness Debuts Pumpkin Spice Full Spectrum CBD Oil

One of the fall season’s most popular flavors, pumpkin spice, is now available as a scent in a new CBD oil from LumiZen Wellness.

“We all see the pumpkin spice craze happen every year, and within the CBD community there’s been a recent demand for pumpkin spice products,” said a spokesperson for LumiZen Wellness. “So, we took one of our best sellers and did the research and development needed to offer a full spectrum pumpkin spice tincture that can be enjoyed safely.”

Pumpkin spice products are popular during the fall months and can be found in such items as pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice ice cream and pumpkinflavored pet food.

The growing popularity of the CBD market is on a similar track, experiencing flourishing growth in recent years, the company said, which is why the brand has adopted the pumpkin spice craze with a special edition line of Pumpkin Spice 1,000 mg Full Spectrum CBD Tincture, which features the allure of pumpkin spice aroma and taste.

a wider range of products to both new and existing consumers,” according to the brand.

“We are excited to add gummies to our current portfolio of products,” said CEO Ian Kelly. “At NuLeaf Naturals, we are committed to creating safe, consistent and effective products, using third-party testing to ensure purity and potency in every bottle. We are confident that our two latest offerings will meet the rigorous standards we’ve set for ourselves and that our customers have come to expect.”

The full-spectrum CBD hemp supplement offers 30 mg per serving and comes in blueberry, lemon, strawberry and orange flavors, while the full-spectrum CBD:CBN is a 3:1 CBD to CBN ratio with 40 mg per serving in mixed berry and goji berry flavors and can be used as a natural sleep remedy.

“Desperate for a good night’s rest, more and more consumers have been turning to CBD and CBN gummies for their sleep problems — especially as natural wellness trends have increased since the pandemic,” the company said. “NuLeaf Naturals’ full-spectrum CBD:CBN gummies are some of the most potent gummies on the market, with each gummy containing 15 mg of CBD and 5 mg of CBN to help consumers snag some well-earned z’s.”

Cannabinoids Industry to Grow 20% Between 2022 and 2030

Market research and consulting firm Global Market Insights said in a new report that the cannabinoids market value is projected to exceed $63 billion by 2030.

The company said the rise in the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease, muscle disorders, seizures, anxiety and more will drive the market demand. In addition, rising government initiatives to provide better health care, as well as consistent efforts by industry participants to harness innovative production technologies, will also help increase the product penetration of cannabinoids.

“The presence of a supportive regulatory landscape will play a key role in augmenting the cannabinoids market revenue, given the substantial increase in the number of cannabinoid product approvals in the last few years,” the company said in the report, Cannabinoids Market Analysis by Type, By Application, Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook, Growth Potential, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2022 – 2030.

The company estimates that the Cannabigerol, or CBG, segment may register a CAGR of over 25% through 2030. This is credited to the product’s increasing availability and the rising number of new product variations introduced in the market.

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Be Smart Get Prepared’s Diabetic Wound Care line will be available later this year on Amazon and other major retail stores in 2023.

New & Noteworthy

Product introductions continued their see-saw pattern in 2022 — up one month and down the next. The introductions increased again in September, as job growth remained strong and consumer spending continued to drive retail sales data. For the month, suppliers unveiled 90 new products, which is a jump from the 59 they offered in August. Waukesha, Wis.-based HRG reviewed 37 products in the health category, 33 in the wellness sector and 20 beauty items to see which ones stood out as Products to Watch. Here is what they found:

1. Delsym No Mess Vapor Roll-on Ointment

The Delsym No Mess Vapor Roll-on from Reckitt includes 100% natural active ingredients, including camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol. Featuring a roll-on applicator that keeps hands clean during use, the cough suppressant/topical analgesic is safe for consumers as young as 2 years old, the brand said. The ointment comes in a 1.76-oz. size.

2. O’Keeffe’s For Healthy Feet Pain

O’Keeffe’s said its new For Healthy Feet Pain Relief Cream is podiatrist-approved and designed to relieve, soothe and hydrate feet instantly. Formulated with 4% lidocaine and cooling peppermint oil, the skin protectant is designed to offer relief from pain, itching, irritation and dryness. It comes in a 3-oz. tube.

3. Carmex Daily Care Minis Lip Balm

Carma Labs has introduced Carmex Daily Care Minis moisturizing lip balms in an on-the-go size. The lip balms offer SPF 15 and are designed to be water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Each pack has four different flavors.

4. Olay Regenerist Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Duo Pack

Procter & Gamble’s new Olay Regenerist Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Duo Pack includes a face wash and a gel face moisturizer that the company said is formulated to hydrate skin for 24 hours. The fragrance-free cleanser is designed to deep clean to remove dirt, oil and impurities, while the gel face moisturizer includes hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and peptides. It’s also made without synthetic dyes, fragrances, parabens, mineral oils or phthalates. The Face Wash comes in a 5-oz. size and the Gel Face Moisturizer comes in 1.7 oz.

5. POGO Automatic Blood Glucose Monitor

The POGO Automatic Blood Glucose Monitor from Intuity Medical is an FDA-cleared automatic blood glucose monitoring system with 10-test cartridge technology, the manufacturer said. The all-in-one design means users do not need to handle or dispose of individual lancets or tests. Moreover, the monitor can sync, track and manage results with the free Patterns app. dsn

HRG’s five notable products from September 2022
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Participation Push

How retail pharmacies can innovate clinical trials

What is CTS Doing Differently?

In addition to expanding access, CTS leverages CVS Health resources to advance clinical research in two key areas.

Clinical trials are vital to evaluating the safety and efficacy of new medicines and devices. Traditionally, these trials are conducted through large academic medical centers or dedicated research clinics. However, the traditional model can create challenges for recruitment and trial conduct. Locations are far from patients’ homes and generally difficult to fit into their busy lives.

As a trusted national brand with a local community presence, CVS Health is well positioned to address these challenges. In 2021, we launched CVS Health Clinical Trial Services, or CTS, with the goal of developing and executing a community-centric model for clinical trials.

National Brand, Community-Centric Trials

Clinical trials need to enroll a target number of patients to be successful, yet the No. 1 challenge we have in clinical research is access to patients. Despite internal research that shows the majority of patients want to participate in clinical studies, less than 5% do.

Historically, the only option for patients was to travel to an academic site, but time needed for travel and expense limit participation. In contrast, 56% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a CVS Health MinuteClinic location. By utilizing these existing healthcare facilities, CVS Health can make participation in clinical trials more convenient and accessible. Furthermore, we have the capabilities in place to better meet the needs of how participants want to engage in trials — in person, at home and virtually.

We are creating a network of clinical research sites by equipping certain HealthHUB locations with the resources needed to conduct complex trial protocols. These trial-ready sites are often located in areas with higher population density and social vulnerability index, a measurement created by the CDC to determine the preparedness of a community for external stresses on human health. CTS has hired research-experienced nurses, clinical research coordinators, principal investigators and project managers to conduct clinical trials across many therapeutic areas. Having this robust network in place makes our model increasingly scalable.

The first is diversity. It is essential for clinical trials to be inclusive. CTS maintains a strong commitment to diversity in clinical trial participation. By lowering the barrier for patients to participate, we have the unique opportunity to recruit individuals from underserved communities. Also, we are committed to hiring people with diverse backgrounds into our clinical research network. By focusing on the importance of diversity during outreach and hiring, CVS Health can build greater connection and trust with the people it serves.

The second is that CVS Health owns what we believe to be the largest de-identified patient database in the United States. By analyzing these records, we can conduct targeted recruitment to match the right patient to the right trial. We can also use this database to collect real-world data (RWD). When our pharma partners approach us to better understand a drug’s safety profile or how it compares to another drug, we can collect RWD in a noninvasive way that contributes to health care outside of a controlled study. This gives CVS Health the power to analyze patient disease burden

and patterns relative to cost, treatment effectiveness and outcomes.

Our community-centric trial model is transformative; we are moving clinical research, quickly, toward better care. CVS Health can mitigate some of the risks associated with clinical research by offering a more flexible and convenient system. In doing so, we work toward our goal of advancing healthcare innovation and accessibility, regardless of ethnicity and socioeconomic status. In the last year and a half, CTS has made considerable progress toward this end and is only continuing to grow. dsn

Have something to say? Drug Store News accepts guest columns on a rolling basis. Please send all contributions to nmaynard@ensembleiq.com.

Josh Rose, vice president, head of decentralized clinical trials, site solutions and strategy, CVS Health Clinical Trial Services
“Despite internal research that shows the majority of patients want to participate in clinical studies, less than 5% do.”

October is American Pharmacists Month so it’s time to recognize your contributions to health care and share the positive impact of your work on the front lines in our communities.

Cardinal Health is grateful for your contributions to the profession and the health of your patients. We recognize all the hard work you do to contribute to healthcare within our communities. You play a vital role in educating patients, promoting safe and effective use of medication.

By always putting patient care rst, you make a real difference in so many lives.

Pursue better with Cardinal Health CardinalHealth.com/EvenBetter © 2022 Cardinal Health. All Rights Reserved. CARDINAL HEALTH, the Cardinal Health LOGO and ESSENTIAL TO CARE are trademarks of Cardinal Health and may be registered in the US and/or in other countries. Lit. No. 1PD22-2117410 (09/2022)
Thank you for being essential to care!

A Stepping Stone

Sam’s Club pharmacy manager Melanie Loftus opened a charitable pharmacy last year to help those in need

Sometimes, life’s agenda goes differently than you expect. Melanie Loftus knew she wanted to open a charitable pharmacy someday — perhaps in retirement. She didn’t anticipate how short that road would actually be.

In 2018, Loftus signed up to become a volunteer at the Hope Clinic of Ross County, a free faith-based clinic that provides medical and dental services to uninsured patients. At the time, she was living nearby, in Chillicothe, Ohio, working as a pharmacy manager at Sam’s Club.

During the onboarding process for Hope Clinic, Loftus mentioned that she’d always wanted to open a charitable pharmacy. “I did a rotation at one in pharmacy school and just fell in love with it,” she said. “This is what I want to do. It’ll probably be a long time from now,” she told them.

The clinic, which was completely run by volunteers, didn’t quite have a pharmacy at the time. “The doctors would just come after seeing the patients and be like, ‘Do you have this?’ Then we’d have to give it to the doctor, and then the doctor had to give it to the patient.”

They needed something better, so Loftus was put in touch with a doctor at the clinic who she was told was interested in opening a charitable pharmacy but needed a pharmacist to make it happen. Loftus was that person.

After checking with her employer, Loftus returned to college to obtain a business degree. She used the skills she learned in school, which Walmart funded, to create a business plan for the new pharmacy. “The grant writing stuff was so intimidating to me,” she said. “But that really gave me the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone because I could work on the stuff that I would need in real life for school.”

Loftus presented her plan to the board at Hope Clinic and received a unanimous vote to open the pharmacy. The next step would

be to receive grants to make the dream a reality. “Because everything is volunteer-based and all grants and donations, I was thinking it would be many, many years before this was a real thing,” she said. “We got the funding in six months or something. It was insane.”

Just a year and a half after the idea for the pharmacy was formed, the Hope Pharmacy at the Hope Clinic opened in November 2021. They filled 37 prescriptions on its first night. Not too long ago, they filled 126. The pharmacy serves those making less than 300% of the federal poverty line or those who are uninsured or underinsured. Currently, the pharmacy is only open on Monday evenings.

Loftus said the Hope Pharmacy helps a lot of people who are in between jobs or who’ve recently lost their insurance coverage, similar to the charitable pharmacy where she did a rotation during pharmacy school. People would use the program for two or three months, until they had another job and new insurance, she said. “It was really a stepping stone, just getting them back up to where they were good again.”

Loftus, who has a 4-year-old son, said the road to opening the pharmacy was time-consuming but added that she’s getting better at time management. Overall, the experience has been rewarding.

“We’re only open one day a week, but people can call and leave messages,” she said. “Sometimes the messages aren’t like, ‘Hey, I need this refilled,’ or ‘Do you have this drug?’ They’re like, ‘I just wanted to call and tell you guys how helpful this has been.’ Just the stories that people tell you. It’s just amazing to be able to be there for people in that time of need, even if it’s just for a short time.” dsn

“It’s just amazing to be able to be there for people in that time of need, even if it’s just for a short time.”
— Melanie Loftus



Drug store retailers have long had strong programs built around service to the community, from support for local charities to educational programs, health screenings and other initiatives.

Increasingly, those efforts have focused on diversity, equity and access to healthcare resources as retailers seek to play a role in improving health outcomes in disadvantaged communities. Sustainability also has become more and more important, as many

consumers — especially millennials and Gen Zers — now expect companies to take aggressive steps to minimize their impact on the environment.

Battling on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the approach that retailers have taken toward their community-focused initiatives. The pandemic forced retailers to rethink how they protected the health and safety of their workers while, at the same time, ensuring that they were providing

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Walgreens Eyes Success of Boots’ Recycling Eff rt

Walgreens is keeping an eye on a container recycling program that performed well at its Boots banner in the United Kingdom.

After a 50-store test that began in 2020, Boots last year rolled out the Recycle at Boots program to an additional 650 stores, allowing customers to return hard-torecycle HBC items, such as toothpaste tubes and mascara containers. Customers are rewarded with 250 Boots Advantage Card Points for every five containers returned.

During the trial period, consumers dropped off more than 500,000 used HBC containers, the company said. “The reaction from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Lucy Reynolds, director of communications and CSR at Boots UK, in a post on the company’s website.

Boots sends the used containers to its recycling partner, MYGroup, which sorts them, shreds them and forms them into plastic boards, which are then used to create new items, such as chairs and reusable storage containers, some of which are now being used at Boots warehouses.

Lauren Stone, director of corporate social responsibility at Walgreens, said the pharmacy retail chain’s U.S. division is watching the results from its sister banner carefully, although she said it’s not yet clear if a similar program could work in the United States.

“We’re definitely taking learnings from the work they’re doing over at Boots,” she said. “It’s something we would love to do if we can operationalize it here in the U.S.”

the services that their communities needed, from testing and providing information to administering vaccines and boosters.

The pandemic brought to light some of the inequities in the healthcare system, said Lauren Stone, director of corporate social responsibility at Walgreens. “COVID amplified how systemic racism has led to health disparities in communities of color,” she said. “It’s not that people weren’t aware of that before, but COVID just made it so apparent. As a pharmacy retailer that’s in communities across the U.S., we saw what an incredible role we had to play.”

For example, Walgreens deployed a vaccine equity task force, which helped the company stage more than 1,200 vaccine events in medically underserved communities and locations, she said.

Similarly, Rite Aid identified the need to support underserved communities during the pandemic, said Jessica Kazmaier, chief human resources officer at the Camp Hill, Pa.-based chain. “We really rallied around the idea that this is why we’re here, and this is what we’re meant to do,” said Kazmaier, who also serves on the board of Rite Aid Healthy Futures. “We delivered over the course of the last couple of years 17 million COVID vaccines, a lot of those to communities that did not have easy access.”

Walgreens Focuses on Access, Equity Walgreens’ environmental, social and governance, or ESG, initiatives revolve around four pillars, which the company describes as Healthy Communities, Healthy Planet, Healthy and Inclusive Workplace, and Sustainable Marketplace.

In recent years, Walgreens has refined its focus on supporting local

Walgreens partnered with Greater Than Aids, a public information initiative of Kaiser Family Foundation, health departments and community organizations in more than 250 cities on June 27 to offer free HIV testing.

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communities, especially those that have been disadvantaged, Stone said. “We really have honed in on this idea of addressing access and equity around healthcare goods and services,” she said.

Walgreen’s sharpened focus on equity and inclusion is helping shape many of its initiatives, Stone said. For example, the company has a goal of providing 100 million immunizations through its “Get a Shot. Give a Shot” initiative by 2024. That program, a partnership with the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, is focused on getting vaccinations to people in developing countries who wouldn’t have access to them otherwise, with a focus on childhood vaccines.

Similarly, Walgreens’ partnership with the Vitamin Angels program provides vitamins and minerals to millions of expectant mothers and children both in the United States and abroad. The program seeks to address gaps in access to prenatal and postnatal nutrition.

The company is constantly looking at those and other charitable activities to maximize its impact in the local communities where it operates, Stone said. “We’ve seen a ton of progress in that space,” she said.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are of course closely intertwined with these efforts, and have been an area where Walgreens has shown strong progress, Stone said. The company has tied compensation to DEI initiatives, for example, in order to increase the representation of women and people of color in leadership roles.

Supplier diversity in particular has been a success, she said, citing purchases from diverseowned suppliers that have exceeded the company’s goals. Walgreens has committed to increasing sourcing from suppliers that are at least 51% owned, operated and managed by individuals who are disadvantaged, disabled, military veterans, LGBTQ+, minorities and/ or women. In fiscal year 2022, Walgreens has set a target to increase supplier diversity spending to $625 million, up from its 2021 spending of $521.5 million.

“Previously, we didn’t even have a goal around supplier diversity,” Stone said. “We’re seeing a lot of excitement and a lot of engagement in the supplier diversity space, and in the DEI space as a whole.”

She said Walgreens has committed to being transparent around its diversity efforts, pledging to report both its successes and its shortcomings.

With all of its ESG efforts, driving employee engagement is one of the most important keys to success, Stone said. The most successful initiatives tend to be those that have buy-in from workers, she said. “I think that’s what we all want,” Stone said. “We all want to work for a company that we feel shares our values.”

Rite Aid Focuses on Community, Diversity

Similarly, Rite Aid also has refined its efforts around support for the community in the wake of the pandemic, Kazmaier said.

Its four ESG pillars include Thriving Planet, Thriving Business, Thriving Workplace and Thriving Community. It meshes the broad sets of goals in those areas with its RxEvolution strategy, unveiled in 2020, that seeks to remake the company as a “whole health” destination for the communities where it operates.

Rite Aid also has revamped its diversity, equity and inclusion road map, Kazmaier said. Overall, the company has become more intentional and focused

on its community efforts.

For example, in its 2021 ESG report, Rite Aid said it had improved access to COVID19 vaccines in neighborhoods across the country, partnering with such organizations as the Newark Equitable Vaccine Initiative, the NAACP and the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO to set up clinics for vulnerable or underserved populations.

While the company had previously focused broadly on children’s charities, it has since refocused Rite Aid Healthy Futures — the nonprofit it established in 2001 — “around the intersection of racial injustice and health disparities,” Kazmaier explained.

Despite coping with the challenges of COVID-19, Rite Aid has doubled down on its diversity and inclusion initiatives under the leadership of CEO Heyward Donigan. In December 2020, the company named its first vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, Texanna Reeves, who has helped the retailer create a three-year road map for its DEI program, Kazmaier said.

She also touted the diversity of Rite Aid’s board, which includes 50% representation from women, including two female board chairs. In addition, 88% of board members are gender or ethnically diverse. “We did that with great intentionality,” Kazmaier said. “We’ve seen the benefits of that. It’s helped our board to thrive, and we see that as the road map of what can be done.”

Rite Aid has been highly focused on attracting diverse leadership, Kazmaier said,

We all want to work for a company that we feel shares our values.
! A O s B e n e fi t S p e c i fi c V i t a m i n s & M i
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and has been working with consulting firms, including McKinsey & Co., to help it achieve those goals. In fact, it currently has several leaders in McKinsey’s leadership development program for executives to prepare them for C-level management opportunities.

The fact that the company has embraced a remote-work environment, which had been in the works before the pandemic began, has created a deeper talent pool, Kazmaier said. It has allowed the company to expand its search throughout the entire country for leaders, including more diverse candidates, she said.

“We’ve got a lot of great, talented people from central Pennsylvania, which is where our old headquarters was, but we didn’t need to limit ourselves to people who were either from there or who were willing to move there,” Kazmaier explained. “That strategy has worked for us.”

In addition, Rite Aid has more than 30 employees who are in a management accelerator program, specifically designed to develop racially diverse leaders.

The company also has formed a new talent network, which Kazmaier described as a modern version of an employee resource group, or ERG.

“It is about promoting professional development, but we actually tap it to help inform us on business decisions, on community activities and opportunities,” Kazmaier said. “So the people who are in that talent network are really helping to inform our company direction.”

Another key initiative at Rite Aid involves its expansion of new stores into underserved communities. It is currently testing a small-format model that would focus on prescriptions and health care, without much of the typical front-end merchandise. “It really is pharmacy-focused to give these communities access to a healthcare professional that they need,” Kazmaier said.

She said the company sees the test as an opportunity to learn more about the people in those communities and how Rite Aid can better meet their unique needs.

CVS Addresses Health Disparities

Like Walgreens and Rite Aid, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health also has a comprehensive ESG strategy that rests on four pillars: Healthy People, Healthy Business, Healthy Community and Healthy Planet.



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CVS Health recently expanded its free, community-based health screening services to two new markets — Las Vegas and Richmond, Va.

Payless Drugs Taps into Solar P wer

Payless Drugs, a four-store independent retailer based in Birmingham, Ala., is seeking to minimize its environmental footprint and drive cost savings at the same time through the use of solar power.

Last year the company installed solar panels on the roof of a store in Fairfield, Ala., which has helped cut its monthly energy bill almost in half at that location, said Boyd Ennis Jr., owner of Payless Drugs. “We’ve always been interested in solar power,” he said. “As an independent, one of the ways you increase your profits is to reduce your expenses and your power consumption. “This is a benefit to the environment, but it’s also a benefit to the store.”

Power consumption had been especially high at the Fairfield store, Ennis said, which made it a strong candidate for the solar test. Payless also wanted to take advantage of tax credits that were available for solar installations. “Fortunately we were blessed to have a few extra coins in the coffer to be able to do it. We’ve been happy with it. It’s actually been quite exciting.”

The panels don’t provide all the power needed for the store, he said, although they do provide significant savings. One recent monthly electricity bill showed that the store had to buy 2,495 kilowatt hours of power from the grid, compared with about 4,600 a year ago. The most recent bill totaled $477, compared with just over $800 a year ago.

The cost of installation, including a meter that he added about a month afterward, was about $34,000, he said.

One of the challenges he faces is that his cost per kilowatt/ hour for electricity usage actually went up after installing the solar panels because of the way the grid is structured in Alabama. The store is still generating savings, however, and the solar panels have so far provided a higher share of the store’s energy needs than Ennis had originally expected.

Payless is looking to add solar panels on a second store in Morris, Ala., after replacing the roof at that location. It doesn’t pay to install solar panels on a roof that will need to be replaced within a few years, he said.

Also, like its rival retail drug chains, CVS is focusing many of its ESG efforts around goals that expand access to affordable care and address racial inequities, along with taking steps to minimize its impact on the environment. The company said it has a goal to commit more than $1.5 billion to social impact investments to build healthier communities, as a part of its broad set of Healthy 2030 ESG goals.

That second location could potentially reduce its power consumption even more if it can save enough solar power during the day to power essential equipment, such as refrigerators and freezers, overnight, he said. All of his stores have backup generators to provide power to those essential appliances in the event of power outage, Ennis said.

Payless also takes other steps to reduce energy consumption, including using smart thermostats to help regulate store temperature and other technology that limits power consumption when certain electronic devices are not in use.

“We are not a net-zero store by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “We don’t have enough roof space to do that, but we’re doing our part.”

The disparities that we’ve seen with COVID-19 weren’t a surprise, but they’ve certainly alarmed all of us, and there are specific actions we can take to be able to address it.

The company unveiled its new Health Zones initiative earlier this year, in which it is testing a program in five cities, partnering with local organizations to address a range of factors that the company said contribute to health disparities. These factors include housing, access to food, transportation, education, labor and workforce training, and healthcare access.

For example, CVS is partnering with Uber Health to find transportation to medical appointments for patients with the greatest need.

“This has been a real wonderful opportunity to really bring an integrated approach to underserved communities,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy and chief sustainability officer at CVS Health, in a video announcing the program.

The Health Zone initiative launched in Atlanta; Fresno, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn., and Phoenix. The company said it would monitor the results from those markets before deciding whether to expand the program to additional locations.

Joneigh Khaldun, vice president and chief health equity officer at CVS Health, said the pandemic, in which minorities were disproportionately impacted, was a wake-up call about the severity of the health disparities that exist in the country. “The disparities that we’ve seen with COVID-19 weren’t a surprise, but they’ve certainly alarmed all of us, and there are specific actions we can take to be able to address it,” she said.

Albertsons Unveils New ESG Framework Supermarket operators also have long been at the forefront when it comes to community support. While their initiatives often revolve around hunger relief and food insecurity, they have increasingly expanded their efforts in other areas, including diversity and sustainability.

This past April, Albertsons unveiled a new ESG framework, called Recipe for Change. The framework lays out new long-term strategies and goals focused on substantially reducing carbon emissions, eliminating food waste going to landfills, reducing the use of plastic, accelerating the transition to a more circular economy, reducing food insecurity and cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce.

“As a long-standing neighborhood grocer, it’s important to us that we use our national presence and resources to drive meaningful change for our communities and our planet,” said Suzanne Long, chief sustainability and transformation officer at Albertsons.

Albertsons’ entire private truck fleet is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program, and in 2021, the retailer completed the nation’s first commercial 100% zero-emission refrigerated grocery delivery.

Albertsons has been making what Long described as “substantial progress” across all four pillars of its Recipe for Change framework: planet, people, product and community. For example, the company implemented 850-plus energy efficiency projects in 2021, such as LED lighting and doors on refrigerated cases, that are helping the company achieve its goals around carbon reduction. The company is also continuing to expand its use of renewable energy, such as on-site solar capabilities.

Albertsons’ entire private truck fleet is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program, and in 2021, the company completed the nation’s first commercial 100% zero-emission refrigerated grocery delivery with a class 8 truck, which delivered groceries to a Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED)-certified Albertsons store in Irvine, Calif.

At the same time, Albertsons is also working to reduce food waste, an effort that includes an artificial intelligence-powered platform to better manage inventory and fresh product supply. “This helps reduce the amount of food going to landfill and also ensures our customers have access to fresher products,” Long said.

Albertsons has also formed innovative partnerships to help the company repurpose food waste as animal feed, or to send the surplus to a biodigester that creates biogas and soil nutrients for organic farming.

“We have also been making significant progress toward our commitment to reduce food insecurity,” Long said, noting that in 2021, the company, along with the Albertsons Cos. Foundation, contributed nearly $200 million in food and financial support, including approximately $40 million through its Nourishing Neighbors Program to ensure those living in its communities have enough to eat.

The keys to Albertsons’ success with its ESG efforts, she said, have been setting clear goals, having strong executive support and engagement, and embedding its ESG efforts directly into its operations. For example, the entire leadership was involved in setting Albertsons’ company-wide goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 47% by 2030, Long said. dsn

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The Rx Factor in Retail Loyalty

Subscriptions, convenience and services are differentiating pharmacy loyalty initiatives

In a world dominated by generic white coats and amber-colored pill bottles, it can be difficult for pharmacies to stand out. But by enhancing pharmacy loyalty programs with perks that emphasize convenience, special services and specific shoppers’ needs, retailers can make loyalty initiatives more unique, targeted and flexible.

Traditional loyalty offerings, such as points, monetary rewards and personalized discounts for general merchandise, are not disappearing. But they are being complemented by amenities like same-day prescription delivery, digital reference and record-keeping tools, and subscription programs. Store-branded credit cards with pharmacy benefits are another focus, as are added healthcare perks, gaming platforms and ties to outside prescription discounts. Some endeavors target specific, high-spending demographics.

“Loyalty is evolving in many ways,” said Bill Hanifin, CEO of Wise Marketer Group and Hanifin Loyalty by Impact 21. “Loyalty has always relied on rewards and recognition. Add-on services can drive loyalty, like automatic prescription renewals, senior perks or helping consumers find information, so they don’t have to search online. You need points in programs. But the importance of time savings is hard to argue with.”

Many newer pharmacy perks drive additional pharmacy traffic and help retain valuable pharmacy patients. “But how do you get them in stores to begin with?” Hanifin said. “Make them pharmacy customers. But what kind of pharmacy experience are we creating? People want to

be recognized as good customers beyond earning points.”

Pharmacy customers embody the term “loyalty.” They repeatedly visit a store for prescriptions. They have ongoing relationships with pharmacists, who are specific humans with trusted knowledge. In food and general merchandise, in contrast, many shopping choices revolve around price, product and brand, prompting consumers to shop multiple outlets and switch allegiances.

“The pharmacy team can be a consumer advocate,” said Jerry Janis, director of

Clarkston Consulting. “Some people visit pharmacies more often than [they visit] doctors. Pharmacy loyalty becomes key in building retailer loyalty.”

Price Versus Convenience

Successful pharmacy loyalty programs emphasize price-driven offers or convenience. Some favor pharmacy, others drive traffic between pharmacy and general merchandise. CVS and other big chains have multiple programs to meet myriad retailer and shopper needs.

“No customer is the same,” said Michele

CVS Health says its loyalty and subscription programs offer personalization and flexibility so it can deliver value to different people depending on needs, goals and lifestyle.

Get the Scoop on Litter: The Importance of #1 and #2 Management

All cats use it, but owners typically like to h i d e i t. S o me ti me s i t ’s h i dd en in th e gue st bathroom. Others hide it behind the wa sh ing mac h ine o r in th e ba s emen t.

Ca t litter I t ’s a st aple in ho me s wi th ca ts an d o ne o f th e fa ste st gr owing s egments wi th in th e pe t ca tego ry, sho ppe d by m o re than 31 million U.S. households. The ca tego ry, acc o un ti ng f o r $2. 37 billi o n in annual s ale s , pre s ents a big o pp o r t uni t y f o r re t ailer s. I t ’s a grea t ti me to th ink o u ts i d e o f th e (litter) b ox to upgra d e yo ur sh elf s e t an d realize th e p oten ti al o f th i s ca tego ry th a t s erve s m o re th an 90 milli o n cats in the United States.1

The Scoop on Litter

W h en i t c o me s to ca t litter, th ere are th ree main f o rm s: Clumping, C o nven tio nal (N o n-Clumping) an d Al terna ti ve. Clumping n ow make s up o ver 80 percen t o f s ale s in th e ca t litter ca tego ry 2 H owever, n o matter w h ic h form the cat owner chooses to buy, product performance is paramount. And i t ’s th a t pr od uc t perf o rmance th a t ’s pu t to th e t e st every ti me th e c o n s umer st ep s th r o ug h th eir fr o n t doo r.

Litter b ox cleanline ss , pr od uc t c ho ice an d th e l o ca tio n o f th e litter b ox in the home are all important factors in enc o uraging ca ts to pr o perly u s e th eir b ox W h en o ne o f th e s e fac to r s i s o ff, it can lead cats to eliminate outside th e b ox H o u s e so iling i s th e m ost c o mm o n be h avi o r c o ncern rep o r te d by cat owners. 3 Ed uca ti ng yo ur c o n s umer s ab o u t pr o per litter b ox u s age can n ot only help keep their cats happy and h eal thy, bu t can al so h elp to maximize yo ur litter s ale s in th e l o ng run .

Ca t owner s h ave c o me to expec t ba s ic product performance, and they are c o n st an t ly l oo king f o r pr od uc ts wi th a dd e d benefi ts th a t th eir litter can d eliver Ti d y Ca ts , th e N o. 1 litter in th e U. S . ba s e d o n s ale s , i s a bran d do ing ju st th a t. Ti d y Ca ts o ffer s mul ti ple s ize s an d f o rm s o f litter available to mee t th e nee ds o f c o n s umer s , inclu d ing c o nven tio nal n o n-clumping litter, engineere d clumping litter, a na t ural litter calle d Na t urally St r o ng, an d a lig ht weig ht litter th a t i s h alf th e weig ht o f engineere d clumping litter

A s a stea d ily gr owing ca t litter bran d, Ti d y Ca ts o ffer s five way s to maximize ca t litter in y o ur pr od uc t mix:

1. Shelf Power. T h e litter ca tego ry i s gr owing a t alm ost 10 percen t. T h i s increased demand is important to understand as retailers stock their sh elve s. T h e sh elf ho l d ing p ower o f litter t en ds to be le ss th an demand because of the size of th e jug s an d pail s. S o me ti me s t wo purchases can put a store out of sto ck f o r a d ay. N ow i s a grea t ti me to increa s e yo ur sh elf ho l d ing p ower f o r pail s an d th e larger jug s. Retailers who dedicate more shelf s pace to ca t litter can expec t an increase in sales.

2 Performance C o n s umer s are willing to upgra d e to pr od uc ts th a t perf o rm Hig h lig ht premium products, such as Tidy Cats Lig ht Weig ht an d Ti d y Ca ts Na t urally St r o ng, in ai s le to capi t alize o n premiumiza tio n .

3. E-Comm c o n ti nue s to pr o vi d e gr ow th o pp o r t uni ti e s. Litter len ds i ts elf well to th e e-c o mm purc h a s e. I t ’s bulky an d t ypically very h eavy If yo u can ge t yo ur c o n s umer s to buy litter o n yo ur e-c o mm platf o rm an d ge t th em o n an au to -repleni sh cycle, y o u can gain l o yal t y. Plu s , those purchase dollars are s ignifican t.

4. Education W h ile ve terinarian s rec o mmen d th a t ho me s h ave o nean d -a- h alf litter b oxe s per ca t, th e average ca t owning ho u s e ho l d h a s t wo ca ts u s ing ju st o ver o ne pan Ed uca ti ng c o n s umer s o n th e

imp o r t ance o f u s ing mul ti ple litter b oxe s c o ul d a dd t wo litter b oxe s to th e average ca t ho u s e ho l d, an d lead to the purchase of an impre ss ive t wen t y-f o ur a dd i tio nal jug s per year, per ho u s e ho l d. T h a t ’s an increa s e th a t c o ul d h ave s ub st an ti al impac t o n yo ur pe t ai s le sales.

5. Placement matter s. Wi th in th e litter s ec tio n, re t ailer s can benefi t fr o m h elping ca t owner s d eci d e w h ic h pr od uc t be st fi ts th eir nee ds. Make it simple for cat owners to locate an d naviga te th e litter s ec tio n in yo ur sto re I d eally, ca t litter sho ul d anchor one side of your cat department and be adjacent to dry ca t f ood, wi th naviga tio nal s ignage to h elp sho pper s fin d th eir c hos en pr od uc t. Lig ht weig ht f o rmula s sho ul d n ot be left to th em s elve s , but rather merchandised within th eir re s pec ti ve bran d ’s clumping s ec tio n .

Tidy Cats has stayed fresh in the litter bu s ine ss f o r 70+ year s. Wi th new inn o va tio n s , ca t exper tis e an d odor control cat owners trust, there are litter o p tio n s f o r every ho me an d every ca t. Take a fre sh l oo k a t th e ca t litter ca tego ry by leveraging gr ow th , pr o m otio n, merc h an d i s ing, e d uca tio n and placement to realize its full p oten ti al .

1Purina Pet Population Stud y, 2021 2Niels en, 2022 3Cornell Feline Health Center Purina trademarks are owned by S o ciété des Produi ts Nestlé S A

Drug and Loyalty Facts

People aged 65 years old and older pay the most for prescription drug expenditures.

Source: Health Policy Institute, 2021

Patient out-of-pocket costs rose $4 billion in 2021 to a total of $79 billion.

Source: IQVIA Institute

A total of 32% of consumers participated in paid loyalty programs in 2022 versus 17% in 2021.

Source: Deloitte

A total of 39% of consumers who don’t participate in loyalty programs may be willing to do it depending on price and benefits.

Source: Deloitte

Among drug chain consumers, simplicity/ ease of use (84%) is almost as important as financial rewards/points (85%).

Source: Deloitte

Driscoll, vice president of customer engagement, loyalty, personalization and promotions at CVS Health. “Our loyalty and subscription programs offer personalization and flexibility so we can deliver value to different people, depending on needs, goals and lifestyle. Industry and consumer habits are changing more rapidly. We’re meeting customers where they are and helping them navigate the healthcare journey. We continue expanding services and bringing new customers.”

Pharmacy has played a key role since CVS launched its first loyalty program, Extra Care Rewards, in 2001, Driscoll said. CVS has since expanded and enhanced its programs.

Introduced in 2013, ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards focuses on savings and driving general merchandise sales. The free program awards shoppers up to $50 of ExtraBucks annually for prescription purchases (including pet meds). Credits can be used for purchasing any general merchandise. Family members can enroll under one account.

In 2019, CVS added CarePass, a loyalty subscription program. Emphasizing convenience, the program’s offerings include same-day prescription delivery and 20% off CVS’ Live Better private label supplements and other healthoriented items.

CVS’ loyalty platforms have been overwhelmingly successful. “CVS is focusing on accessibility, which drives the CarePass proposition,” said Brian Owens, senior vice president of commerce strategy, VMLY&R Commerce. “People like the bigger network of value.”

Amazon Prime’s Influence

Driven by Amazon Prime’s success and digital technology’s growth, retailers have launched subscription programs for everything from coffee to car washes. Pharmacy is no exception, with Walgreens and Kroger also offering subscriptions. Since consumers pay a fee, retailers are guaranteed a profit.

“Amazon Prime has become the gold standard,” said Laura Kennedy, senior lead analyst of consumer and retail at CB Insights. “Subscriptions are revenue in hand. While Amazon wasn’t first, they popularized subscriptions.” Launched in 2005, Prime has an estimated 147 million U.S. members.

Consumers remain loyal because they have made an investment. “If you’re paying into something, you’re more likely to consolidate spending at that retailer,” said Noor Abdel-Samed, managing director at L.E.K. Consulting.

While CarePass embodies convenience, Walgreens’ and Kroger’s subscription plans are attractive to uninsured individuals. According to the IQVIA Institute, out-of-pocket costs rose $4 billion in 2021 to a total of $79 billion. For retailers, uninsured folks are golden. “Cash patients have typically been profitable,” said Bobby Stephens, principal of Deloitte Services.

“Having a way to attract them is important.”

Walgreens initially launched its Prescription Savings Club in 2008. It relaunched it in 2012. The first week, 125,000 people joined. It offers discounts on 8,000 human and pet medications, diabetes supplies, nebulizers and compounded medications. Subscribers get three refills for the price of two, a 10% bonus on retail purchases and 20% off immunizations. Annual membership is $20 (individuals) and $35 (families).

MyWalgreens, a free loyalty program, includes rewards and discounts involving pharmacy and other merchandise. Consumers can even earn points for meeting fitness challenge goals. A myWalgreens-branded Mastercard also has loyalty benefits.

Kroger’s Rx Savings Club offers thousands of common medications for free


or at significant discounts. Annual cost is $36 (individuals) and $72 (families). Introduced in 2018 under a partnership with GoodRx, it is part of Kroger’s broader Wellness Your Way program.

Wellness Your Way’s other health perks include dietitian services, healthy cooking demos, recipes and celebrity fitness challenges, Owens said. This, and the fact that Kroger sells food, enhances the value of all healthcare offerings. “Grocery has a unique platform to engage consumers in diet and prescription services.”

Saving money also appeals strongly to seniors, families and recovering patients. “They’re a prime audience, and they’re more value conscious,” said Attila Kecsmar, CEO and co-founder of Antavo Enterprise Loyalty Cloud.

Seniors are the biggest spenders. AgingCare. com said 39% take five-plus prescriptions daily and often have limited incomes. “If a pharmacy can save you $400 and you take home less than $2,000 monthly from Social Security, that’s a big lift in your capability to spend on other merchandise,” Janis said.

Targeted demographic programs work best under broader initiatives. “If a program favors a certain demographic, it could alienate others,” Kecsmar said. “The general rule is to create the

program for a wider audience but establish bonus perks for certain demographics.”

This is the strategy at Rite Aid. In addition to its general Rewards loyalty program, it offers Rewards 65-plus. Seniors receive additional points for purchases, educational information, and free pharmacist consultations to review medications, answer Medicare Part D questions and other services.

Apps, POS and Big Data

Pharmacy’s growing role in loyalty programs has been fueled by several factors: Apple’s 2008 launch of the App Store, POS advancements, advent of Big Data, and overall digital and e-commerce growth.

Proprietary apps let retailers collect, process and inter- and cross-connect myriad types of customer data and loyalty perks. They handle secure digital checkout options and can host a plethora of other functions. “The branded mobile app is the No. 1 way to experience loyalty,” Stephens said. “It’s extremely trackable. Easy visibility and accessibility to loyalty programs are key drivers of app use.”

Apps make loyalty programs less costly to launch, maintain and monitor, which is why they have become fairly important, Abdel-Samed said. “You can’t incentivize everyone and be profitable. Apps make loyalty programs cheaper to deliver. It’s easier to see how people engage and how long they look at offers.”

Prior to apps’ debut, retailers often had disparate loyalty programs emphasizing different categories or shoppers. “It wasn’t cohesive,” Stephens said. “Retailers initially launched programs because competitors did. Then they’d start a new one because a category or group was underserved. Now they’re looking to relaunch or bring them together, and are looking at ties to online ordering, store credit cards, etc.”

Apps’ benefits have prompted retailers to expand loyalty functions. “Apps let you conduct more transactions specific to pharmacy like tracking prescriptions, understanding your deductible and learning how to save money shipping 90-day prescriptions,” said George van Antwerp, managing director at Deloitte.

The CVS app’s Rewards Tracker tallies rewards and savings. ExtraCare text messaging highlights deals and savings. A health dashboard lets customers access COVID-19 vaccination cards and vaccine history. The app offers myriad other capabilities.

“There’s a host of benefits to our digital-forward tools,” Driscoll said. “Taking advantage of them helps keep track of family health needs, manage and pay for prescriptions, avoid lines in stores, and save time and money from the ease of a phone.”

Text alerts regarding automatic prescription refills help pharmacies avoid missed sales. “You want to make sure they come in monthly for their script,” Abdel-Samed said. “That’s why they pre-fill and text you repeatedly. If you miss one fill annually, that’s 10% lost revenue multiplied by many customers.”

For most retailers, enhancing loyalty programs is an ongoing priority. Elina Tunyan, consumer and retail analyst at CB Insights, said investments in loyalty/ rewards tech start-ups doubled in 2021 to $1.8 billion versus 2020. “Customer acquisition costs have increased; more people are online and data privacy rules make targeting customers harder. Loyalty lets retailers personalize offers while consumers share information.”

CVS, for one, is clearly not done innovating. “We’re always listening to customers and conducting research to see how we can evolve ExtraCare Rewards in the future,” Driscoll said. “We’re investing in digital across the board to deliver innovative health solutions and create a simpler, more accessible experience.” dsn

Walgreen’s free loyalty program, MyWalgreens, has its own branded Mastercard and offers rewards and discounts for pharmacy and other merchandise.

Strength Seekers

Bouncy and shiny are nice, but consumers want stronger tresses and healthy scalps

Whether from stress, postpregnancy, heat damage or genetics, American tresses are thinning. As a result, the quest for shiny and bouncy hair is being supplanted by the desire to fortify strands.

Eighty percent of men and about half of women experience some form of hair loss in their life, according to data from the Mayo Clinic. Compounding that, the pandemic resulted in a spike in people suffering from telogen effluvium, or TE, which is a sudden hair loss spurred by physical or emotional stress. Brands have reacted with shampoos, conditioners, scalp care and supplements to nurture hair health.

Retailers are clearing shelf space to accommodate contenders in scalp and hair-strengthening formulas. Mass merchants hope to claim the lion’s share of the therapeutic market despite buzzy competitors in specialty and direct channels such as Vegamour (Nicole Kidman just partnered with the hair wellness brand), Olaplex and Pureology.

We find consumers are really looking for clinically supported products.
— Andrea Harrison, vice president of beauty and personal care, CVS Health

Conversely, IRI data shows mass market hair care across all segments is averaging only about a 3% gain in dollars so far in 2022. Leveraging success in skin care could be the mass market secret to boost hair sales.

“We have been watching the skinification of hair,” said Richie Rubin, executive vice president at Garcoa, a manufacturer of private and controlled personal care. “A number of brands and retailers are adding familiar skin care ingredients to conventional hair care items. This helps promote overall scalp health.”

The emphasis on higher-priced, skin care-influenced brands is a strategy retailers are adopting to attract shoppers. Ingredients endemic to skin care, such as keratin, biotin, coconut oil, black castor oil, manuka oil and collagen, among others, are appearing in hair formulas.

Dovetailing with that, consumers are also looking for formulas to address aging hair, Rubin said. “As boomers and millennials age, their hair will change. We are seeing products that help with thinning, graying, etc.”

Pura d’or recently shifted its focus to help retailers build productive

RangeMe Top Performers: Hair Care


According to figures from The NPD Group, hair care is the fastestgrowing category in the prestige beauty market, up in the third quarter of 2022.

Luxury is Outpacing Mass Growth

It is a tall order: According to figures from The NPD Group, hair care is the fastest-growing category in the prestige beauty market, up 24% in the third quarter of 2022. “Premiumization is happening now in hair,” said Larissa Jensen, beauty advisor to NPD. Because shoppers are trading up, the average ticket is higher and people are not shopping on promotions, she said.

Nutree Cosmetics Brazilian Hair Bottox Expert Thermal Mask

SRP: $69.99 (8.8 oz.)

Nutree’s Hair Bottox Thermal Mask is for all hair types and colors. The Brazilian Bottox Expert Thermal Mask is designed to enhance the smoothness, thickness and shine of hair, making it easily manageable. It also regenerates extremely damaged hair by daily aggression and is recommended for weak, dyed and chemically treated hair. The masks are available for hair of any color.

Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil

SRP: $11.99 (8 oz.)

Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil is a hair and skin care product that treats dry, damaged hair, strengthening it from root to tip, the company said. The Original JBCO formula has a medium consistency, light ashy aroma and high ash content, ideal for promoting healthy hair growth. The brand said the product enhances the appearance of eyebrows and eyelashes, and is an effective natural treatment for skin conditions such as psoriasis.


therapeutic hair care planograms. The strategy highlights its shampoos and conditioners that address hair thinning and hair loss due to breakage, according to David Horwitz, vice president of retail sales at Vital’s International Group. Currently, therapeutic planograms focus on dandruff, but there is a “white space” for products that address hair health, Horwitz said.

“Pura d’or products are natural, made with lots of certified organic ingredients and address thinning and loss due to breakage — two very important areas of concern to women, and to a lesser extent to men,” Horwitz said. The brand zeros in on women, age 45-plus, who are experiencing hair thinning or hair loss because of breakage.

“Our products have been clean and free from everything that the world suddenly realized isn’t good for you since the company started in 2012,” Horwitz said. “In 2012, not many people cared about those things. So, I guess you can say we survived and now the consumers and many retailers have finally caught up with Pura d’or.”

The key products in Pura d’or’s arsenal include: Gold, Hair Thinning Therapy, Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick, Advanced Therapy and Professional Grade Biotin.

“One trend that we are seeing, and probably due to the high inflation rate, is interest in our 8-oz. sized shampoos and conditioners,” Horwitz noted. “In the past, our primary sales were in the 16 oz.”

Diet Affects Hair Health

Hair, mirroring skin, is impacted by diet and supplements. Just as some people need certain vitamins or supplements, they also have specific needs for hair, said Juan Morillo, marketing director of Xtreme Beauty, makers of the Okay brand.

“A major hair care trend I have seen in 2022 is building a hair care regimen specific to the individual on an internal and external level,” Morillo said. “In this information era, we have and know more information about ourselves and our health than ever before, and this includes hair health.”

“We now know that there are many things that we must eat in order to maintain optimal hair and scalp health, not just the products we put on our heads,” he explained. “There are vitamins and minerals that we ingest every day to help our hair and scalp thrive. Internal hair care is just as important if not more than external hair care.”


On a Cloud Baobab Oil Repair Masque

Retail price: $44 This protein-rich, creamy masque renews damaged hair by delivering nourishment, strength and elasticity to hair.


The products selected are RangeMe Verified brands that received the highest positive buyer interaction scores within the hair care category — a score that represents a combination of buyer views, messages, saves, sample requests and purchases of the product. The RangeMe verification process confirms that brands and products meet certain standards and requirements that RangeMe’s retail partners look for before doing business with a brand.

Okay developed a line of gummies that help with hair health from the inside out. “We have 21 varieties of gummies including biotin gummies for hair,” Morillo said, adding that the gummies also provide benefits to skin and nails.

Reserveage from Twinlab subscribes to the power of supplements to promote healthy and strong hair. The company’s core merchandising planogram highlights its Keratin Boosters, Keratin for Men and Keratin Gummies. Keratin is a booming market poised to grow by $1.3 billion from 2019 to 2023, said Yamit Sadok, senior director of marketing at Twinlab. The combination of keratin and biotin results in thicker, fuller hair with less shedding while offering protection against heat and styling damage, she said.

Nutrafol, which debuted a supplement in 2016, expanded this year into topicals that balance the scalp’s microbiome. Three new products include the Build-Up Blocker (an exfoliating mask), the Root Purifier (a cleansing shampoo) and the Stress Reliever (an essence for the scalp). The company has spent years studying and researching the impact of scalp microbiomes on hair health. The brand said it also has a serum, the Nutrafol Growth Activator, that harnesses the technology of Ashwagandha Exosome to deliver thicker and stronger hair without sticky residues associated with traditional serums.

As part of its stepped-up strengthening assortment, CVS stocks BosleyMD products. Formulated for thinning hair, BosleyMD was created with the input of physicians and endorsed by professional stylists. The CVS lineup includes women’s and men’s hair growth supplements and hair regrowth with minoxidil.

“We find consumers are really looking for clinically supported products,” said CVS Health’s vice president of beauty and personal care Andrea Harrison.

Among brands falling under scalp care/hair strengtheners carried by major chains are Keranique, Viviscal, hers, The Mane Choice, OGX, Roman Revive, Alikay and, of course, Rogaine, the innovation that kicked off the trend. dsn


Tech Deck

Beauty brands turn to technology in leveling up basic tools

As beauty brands continue to meet the ever-growing demands of consumers, many are turning to technology to level up everyday products that range from hair stylers to skin care tools. dsn

Panasonic Nanoe Travel Hair Dryer

SRP: $99.99

The new Panasonic hair dryer uses the company’s nanoe technology that draws moisture from the air to create tiny, moisture-rich particles small enough to penetrate hair shafts. The travel-sized hair dryer also has an oscillating quick-dry nozzle that works to hydrate, protect and efficiently dry hair. The nozzle can be removed and reattached at any time.

The Hair Lab by Strands - Strands Smart Scanner

Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Drying System

SRP: $269.99

This hair drying and multi-styling tool is made to be used by consumers with all types of hair and styling skill sets. The FlexStyle Air Styling & Drying System allows users to rotate back and forth from a hair dryer to a styling tool with a twist. Users are able to transform their wet hair by curling, volumizing or smoothing strands to their desire. Product attachments include 1.25-in. auto-wrap curlers, styling concentrator, oval brush, paddle brush and curl-defining diffuser.

A handheld high-tech device that analyzes customers’ hair in real time and recommends a customized regimen that is ideal for the individual’s hair care needs. The Strands Smart Scanner is a test-first model that reflects the complexity and diversity of hair needs, which are impacted by a myriad of factors — including hair texture, scalp type, treatments and environment — that can’t be solved with a one-size-fits-all approach, the company said.

Sally Hansen, Perfect Corp.’s Virtual Nail Try-On

The beauty brand joined forces with Perfect Corp. and its Agilehand Technology to launch a virtual nail try-on for consumers. Beauty enthusiasts are able to sample hundreds of Sally Hansen nail polish shades from their desktops by seeing their selected nail color on a live-moving image of their own hand. The Sally Hansen virtual try-on tool is free and available on any mobile device via the company’s website.

NuFace - Mini+ and Trinity+

SRP: $245 and $305, respectively

The Mini+ and Trinity+ devices, developed with a combination of NuFace Ionized Skincare Activators and Boosters, cater to various skin care needs. Designed for on-the-go skin lifting, the Mini+ device can be used as a carry-on companion. It gently stimulates the surface of the skin, toning facial muscles and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, according to NuFace.

The Trinity+ device provides users with an elevated skin care experience that helps improve facial contour and tone, while minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, the company said.

When paired with the NuFace app, the devices can help users achieve a targeted skin care routine that meets their desired needs.


Never. S top. Smiling.

At Edgewell, we strive to add joy to the everyday by infusing the per fect blend of pa ssion, innovation and individualit y into all of our personal care brands. We’re committed making extraordinary products that are not only fun to use, but also better for both our customers and our planet .

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In Sync

Automation and technology companies are creating efficiencies for pharmacies and pharmacists in a post-COVID environment

As the pandemic fades in the rearview mirror, pharmacists find that their responsibilities have ballooned. Not only are they filling a high volume of prescriptions and performing point-of-care testing, they also are providing COVID-19 testing, vaccines and boosters, as well as prescribing COVID-19 antiviral medication. How can they juggle these clinical responsibilities?

Enter automation and technology companies, which are amplifying their offerings.

Here is a look at the standouts in the pharmacy tech and automation industry. These companies are helping pharmacists excel at their responsibilities and improve the health of their patients.


“Macro trends such as staff shortages, wage inflation and increased clinical demands on pharmacists are driving demand for intelligent, automated workflow solutions,” said Jason Strohm, worldwide vice president and general manager of dispensing and preparation technologies at BD. “BD is committed to helping pharmacies navigate these trends, which have been vastly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, we’ve been focused on adding new automation and advanced

software to our medication management portfolio to help us enable pharmacists to focus more of their time on higher-value clinical work.”

In July, BD completed two key acquisitions: Parata Systems and MedKeeper. Parata Systems will position the company to offer its pharmacy customers a more comprehensive set of smart, connected care technologies as it expands care to new settings, centralizes its pharmacy operations and enables automated prescription filling as opposed to manual labor efforts.

“Additionally, our acquisition of MedKeeper allows us to offer our pharmacy customers

“In-store automated storage and retrieval systems can accelerate fulfillment today and provide 24/7 dispensing of prescription and overthe-counter medications tomorrow.”
— Brian Sullivan, senior systems sales manager for healthcare solutions, Knapp USA and Canada

a customizable, cloud-based platform to optimize the preparation of compounded medications — which has traditionally been a manual, timeconsuming process,” Strohm said.

Bell and Howell

“As a result of shifting consumer trends following the pandemic, businesses and pharmacies alike have seen the increased demand for convenient, contactless pickup experiences, with many unprepared to adopt to these changes,” said James Hermanowski, general manager and vice president of Bell and Howell’s BH QuickCollect Solutions business. “The QuickCollect Rx is the answer to this problem, fueling pharmacy loyalty through enhanced convenience, with prescription pickup available after pharmacy hours.”

The QuickCollect RX creates seamless pickup experiences for pharmacy customers through simplified, intuitive and contactless processes, the company said. It allows patients to bypass long lines at pickup counters or drive-thru wait times, which is a large cause of prescription abandonment. It’s also configurable to fit in a variety of indoor settings, from multi-user standalone units to positioning it at the end of an aisle. The solution also works in remote locations without pharmacies, extending the reach of the pharmacy.

Moreover, the QuickCollect RX is integrated with McKesson’s management software, allowing complete functionality, simplified workflows and prescription validation with any pharmacy using EnterpriseRx.

Citing these statistics, Melanie Christie, vice president of product management at CoverMyMeds, said that to adapt to the rapidly evolving environment the pandemic created, retail pharmacies are shifting their operations to focus even more on patient experience.

“As a result, they need solutions that help automate and offload tasks to improve operational efficiency,” Christie said. “Doing so allows pharmacists to shift their focus to more patient-centric tasks that help deliver the transparency, convenience, quality and cost-effectiveness that patients expect.”

Pharmacy automation solutions and software play crucial roles in meeting those expectations. CoverMyMeds offers pharmacy solutions that integrate with pharmacy management systems to help improve workflows and enable pharmacists to help solve medication access and affordability challenges for patients.

CoverMyMeds also offers solutions that can help with pharmacy operations, including dispensing, reimbursement and claims processing. “For example, our pharmacy automation and central fill solutions can help pharmacies of all sizes automate dispensing through technology that delivers speed and accuracy to help reduce costs and increase efficiency,” Christie said. “This combination of solutions and software helps people get the medicine they need to live healthier lives.”


According to the 2022 Medication Access Report, 54% of pharmacists said they lack the time to complete their job effectively, with 81% citing inadequate staffing and 73% citing time-consuming administrative tasks; 70% of pharmacists said they’ve taken on new job responsibilities since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crocus Medical

“Our retail pharmacy customers, as most businesses, experienced significant disruption to their staffing levels during the COVID pandemic, which left them struggling to keep up with prescription dispensing,” said John Webster, vice president of innovation and product development at Crocus Medical. “We know there are challenges meeting dispensing volume demand during peak filling hours under normal circumstances and when your team is down a member or two with COVID, but workloads are the same or even higher, it becomes a major struggle.”

While acknowledging that the RM1 can’t solve


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all of the dispensing issues in a busy pharmacy, Webster said that helping pharmacy techs count faster when dispensing allows them “to pick up the slack for missing members.”

Webster also pointed out that the RM1 is cost-effective. “Pharmacies can put three RM1 pill counters in a pharmacy, one at each pharmacy tech station for less than $10,000,” he said.

Additionally, the RM1 requires no calibration, no integration and no bar code scanning to quickly count pills. “All you have to do is plug it in, turn it on, and it is ready to count pills. Plus, since they are made in the United States, stock is available. There are no overseas shipping delays, which helps to avoid a problem that was prevalent during COVID,” Webster said. “Same-day shipping and a one-box delivery makes it a great value and a quick solution in meeting dispensing/counting demands.”

EnlivenHealth, a division of Omnicell “Retail pharmacy is rapidly undergoing an historic transformation,” said Danny Sanchez, senior vice president and general manager of EnlivenHealth. “The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing healthcare digitization are accelerating this transformation.”

EnlivenHealth recently launched Amplicare Clinical Solution, a comprehensive suite of integrated technology solutions designed to enable pharmacies to shift from focusing primarily on dispensing medications to providing and efficiently billing for a growing array of high-value clinical services such as vaccinations, testing and wellness counseling.

“EnlivenHealth’s Amplicare Clinical Solution was purpose-built to help pharmacies strengthen and expand their role as community healthcare providers,” Sanchez said. “Additionally, the automated solution suite enables pharmacies to reduce the administrative and operational burdens that keep pharmacists from practicing at the top of their license.”

Pointing out that emerging technologies also are transforming how retail pharmacies can leverage Medicare plan comparisons to retain some of their highest value patients, while reducing DIR fees and increasing revenue growth, Sanchez said that EnlivenHealth’s Medicare Match solution provides a suite of Medicare plan comparison and selection tools that enables pharmacists to assist their patients in choosing their ideal plan.

“With Medicare Match — featuring the NavigateMyCare.com plan comparison website — pharmacies can help ensure that their patients select an affordable Medicare Part D plan that fully covers their specific medication needs. The result is healthier patients and more profitable pharmacies,” he said.


“The pandemic drastically shifted the way retail pharmacies work. Retail pharmacists, already short-staffed and burdened by increased demand for prescription filling, also were called upon to provide immunizations and diagnostic services to their communities,” said Tom Utech, group president of product and software at iA.

Noting that burnout rates skyrocketed as pharmacists administered vaccines and COVID-19 tests on top of their already heavy workloads, Utech said that iA’s automated pill dispensing and storage and retrieval solutions

rose to meet the challenge, fulfilling up to 300 prescriptions per hour. “By reducing repetitive, low-value filling tasks, iA helps curb one of the leading causes of burnout for pharmacists,” he said. “Automation also helps mitigate human error from the pill-dispensing process.”

iA’s intelligent enterprise pharmacy fulfillment software platform, NEXiA, underpins these fulfillment solutions, enhancing prescription processing in real time. By decreasing and streamlining fulfillment work in retail pharmacies’ operations, pharmacists and techs are allowed more time to spend engaging in patient-centered healthcare services.


“Pharmacies closing on weekends because of personnel shortages. Soaring prescription volumes. Ballooning wages. Plummeting profits. Mushrooming competition. Pharmacy is at an inflection point,” said Brian Sullivan, senior systems sales manager for healthcare solutions at Knapp USA and Canada. “You can evolve and become a one-stop shop for routine care, or go the way of the dodo.”

Sullivan explained that Knapp enables pharmacy evolution with a system that’s patientcentric, error-free and auto-compliant. It also frees pharmacists and technicians for higher-value activities by fully automating labor-intensive tasks.

Additionally, the system frees up space for


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— John Richards, Pharm.D., Professional Village Pharmacy, Sacramento, CA

we are audited by the DEA and PBMs, our Community Pharmacy Accreditation gives us the confidence that our paperwork is complete and accurate.”

— Trish White, RPh, Harry Race/Whites Pharmacy and Home Medical Equipment, Sitka, Alaska

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revenue-generating services, so pharmacies can reclaim profitability, and it “enables consumers to get prescriptions whenever, wherever and however they want,” he said.

Sullivan went on to say that micro-fulfillment centers deployed today can become regional hubs that support up to 200 retail, specialty and long-term care pharmacies tomorrow. “In-store automated storage and retrieval systems can accelerate fulfillment today and provide 24/7 dispensing of prescription and over-the-counter medications tomorrow,” Sullivan said.

Lastly, Sullivan said that the entire softwaredriven system is integrated and interconnected for flexible fulfillment of prescriptions, OTC and e-commerce orders.

your native workflow and configurable APIs that simplify clinical data exchanges between existing solutions.”


“COVID-19 changed everything from a retail pharmacy perspective,” said David Pope, chief pharmacy officer at OmniSYS. “It changed the services you offer in store, how patients view the pharmacy and how pharmacists interact with their patients. Every pharmacy is reacting to the new normal in a unique way. We’ve seen more clinical services given in the pharmacy space, more patients coming to the pharmacy for consultative health care, and pharmacy has vaccinated over 263 million Americans for COVID-19.”

Pope said that retail pharmacy can move forward by continuing to operate on the thesis that pharmacy is the front door to health care in the United States.

“Pharmacy can fill the gap, supplying critical clinical services to healthcare deserts, improving healthcare equity in underserved communities and working together with physicians to improve every American’s overall health and well-being,” he said. “Our retail pharmacy solutions streamline clinical encounters, with a billing-enabled EHR that guides clinical documentation from inside


“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still unfolding across the nation, causing an increase in patient concerns about the cost of prescription drugs and exacerbating healthcare provider burnout, prompting many professionals to leave the workforce,” said Andrew Mellin, vice president and chief medical information officer at Surescripts.

Surescripts’ solutions support pharmacists by simplifying the process for filling prescriptions.

“Surescripts has the technology they need to access actionable patient intelligence when and where it’s needed most, so they spend less time on administrative tasks and focus on what matters — their patients,” Mellin said.

Surescripts solutions include Real-Time Prescription Benefit, Clinical Direct Messaging and Specialty Medications Gateway.

“For more than two decades, pharmacies have used Surescripts E-Prescribing, improving the process of filling prescriptions by making it more cost-effective, lowering the average transaction cost by 73% since 2009. Surescripts continues to partner with pharmacies and healthcare providers to simplify how health intelligence is shared, improving the delivery of care,” Mellin said.

Zebra Technologies

Pointing out that it is critical for companies to have instant, visible confirmation that their pharmaceutical and food products have not experienced a temperature excursion within the supply chain, Ashley Barey, director of strategic business development management at Zebra Technologies, said, “You need to be confident that product temperature is being maintained from manufacturer to distribution center to store to customer.”

Zebra’s ready-to-use temperature indicators, manufactured by Temptime, provide the insights retailers need to ensure the integrity and costeffectiveness of pharmaceutical and food products. Tested in the field to assure consistent and reliable performance in sensing threshold heat and freeze events at the unit and case level, the indicators are available as a selfadhesive unit or a card.

“Our rigorous GMP-compliant and ISO-certified quality systems align with your expectations of high quality and reliability,” Barey said. “Zebra’s ZeOn-demand printable indicators are an all-in-one solution providing product identification and environmental exposure information, using an environmental indicator on a thermal printable label — simply print asset identification data alongside the environmental indicator,” she said. “Zebra gives you temperature intelligence, so you can reduce waste and instill customer confidence today and every day.” dsn


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High Tech Help

Managing diabetes has gotten much easier and less invasive thanks to cutting-edge technology

People living with diabetes will tell you it’s a full-time job understanding how their body will respond to different foods and how stress, exercise, environmental factors and even routine daily activities cause them to readjust their insulin and glucose intake multiple times a day.

And for children living with this condition, their caretakers must think about all of these things and learn their insulin needs for them.

Now layer on top of this the expense of living with this autoimmune disease. The diabetes research foundation JDRF estimates adults with Type 1 diabetes spend about $20,000 a year managing their condition.

Fortunately, the number and quality of options for diabetics has increased dramatically. Today’s diabetics can lead healthier, fuller lives thanks to new user-friendly, affordable and discrete devices that have been developed to assist them with daily

self-care routines and needs.

The reasoning behind the advances in delivery and monitoring equipment can be distilled into two words: improving compliance. As the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen each year, compliance has headed in the opposite direction. Diabetics describe the older methods as being cumbersome, painful, complicated and unreliable at times.

Hearing this, manufacturers have been delving into how they can remediate these issues. The answer, they discovered, is technology. The result has been the introduction of cutting-edge tech, such as closed loop systems, smaller and more accurate continuous glucose monitors, smart devices and faster-acting insulins. What’s more, during the next few years, as costs come down and nano technology enables the hardware to be miniaturized, more advancements are expected.


Challenges and Issues

Insulin pump therapy has historically been expensive and difficult to access, said Bret Christensen, chief commercial officer at Acton, Mass.-based Insulet. To address this, Insulet’s products are available at the pharmacy, which means most customers pay less than $50 per month with no commitment, and they can get their pump supplies at the same place they get their insulin. “It’s more convenient and more affordable than the Durable Medical Equipment benefit, which is how all other insulin pumps are covered by payers,” he said.

Many patients, Christensen noted, are struggling with the burden of diabetes, explaining that daily tasks, such as checking blood sugars and delivering insulin, can be overwhelming, not to mention diminish a person’s quality of life. “Pharmacy organizations and pharmacists are in a unique position to help identify patients who need help with their diabetes care and create more awareness of technologies, such as continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pumps available through the pharmacy,” he said.

Christensen added that “evidence suggests these technologies can improve outcomes and lessen the burden of diabetes. With medication adherence as one of the primary roles of a pharmacist, they stand to play a critical part in the healthcare continuum.”

— Janice MacLeod, director of clinical advocacy, global professional affairs and clinical education, Medtronic Diabetes

Advanced in Monitoring

Blood glucose monitoring, or BGM, has been used for decades and remains an important tool in diabetes management, but BGM has its limitations, said Chris Scoggins, vice president of commercial operations and marketing at Abbott’s Diabetes Care Business, based in Abbott Park, Ill. “BGM requires painful fingersticks and can only provide point-in-time information,” he said. “High and low blood glucose fluctuations can often go undetected — even when people are performing multiple daily fingersticks.”

Continuous glucose monitoring systems were designed to address these issues and have been life changing for millions of people. Advancements in CGM technology have led to next-

generation devices that are more accurate, discreet, easier to use and connected to apps with compatible smartphones.

“CGM allows people living with diabetes to automatically track their glucose levels day and night,” Scoggins said. “Through a smartphone app or reader, people can see where their glucose values have been, where they are now and where they are going through use of trend arrows.”

Emory Anderson, president and CEO of Intuity Medical, located in Fremont, Calif., pointed out that people with diabetes have been frustrated with options to date and the disruption it presents to everyday life. Given the limited innovation with BGM, patients are clamoring for something much simpler, Anderson said.


Medtronic’s solution to simplifying and streamlining insulin delivery was to introduce a smart pen. The company’s next goal is to increase availability of this device. “Smart, connected devices automatically capture dose information, alert for missed doses and provide individualized dosing decision support,” said Janice MacLeod, director of clinical advocacy, global professional

Intuity Medical’s POGO Automatic is the first and only FDA-cleared ABGM whose 10-test cartridge technology makes it possible to lance, collect blood and produce a glucose result in just one step.
“Shared data opens the door to remote monitoring and more frequent, personalized, continuous care models that can be efficient for both the patient and the provider.”
Pr ss ss G ! pr sspogo om ART03349 Rev A Meet the w blood glucose monitor that lances and collects blood automatically. In seconds. Now available for order from AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson. Never again handle a separate lancet or test strip. Everything that’s needed to test is inside each 10-test cartridge. P G Automati T st Cartridg s Each tube contains 50 tests (5 cartridges; 10 tests in each cartridge) P G Automati Blood Glu os Mo itori g Syst m AmerisourceBergen: ABC 8: 10259587 Cardinal: CIN: 5738448 McKesson: 2383503 AmerisourceBergen: ABC 8: 10259500 Cardinal: CIN: 5738430 McKesson: 2383487 © 2022 Intuity Medical, Inc. All rights reserved.

affairs and clinical education at Medtronic Diabetes, located in Northridge, Calif.

“These features play a key role in modernizing care for a large population of people on insulin injection therapy and support evolving care models that are moving to asynchronous continuous care with remote data monitoring.” By recognizing the disparities that exist in diabetes technology access and ongoing use, extending technology options to a broader population is critical, she said.

What’s more, when paired with specific apps, smart devices play an important role in collecting and sharing patient-generated health data. “Shared data opens the door to remote monitoring and more frequent, personalized, continuous care models that can be efficient for both the patient and the provider. Diabetes is a datadriven, chronic condition that requires the patient to make decisions daily about their self-care,” MacLeod said. “Technology solutions empower them to make the best decisions and give them the ability to share data with their care team so they can

A Cure for Diabetes?

A few months ago, the diabetes community received some great news: a research trial showed that stem cells could play a key role in the cure for diabetes. After receiving a treatment of insulin-making cells derived from stem cells, a Type 1 diabetic man in Ohio is showing positive results in a clinical trial and has been able to reduce his dependence on insulin injections by more than 90%.

Diabetes educators say the autoimmune disease, which affects more than 537 million, is particularly challenging for patients to manage because many factors impact blood sugar levels including hormones, stress, exercise, hydration, medications and, of course, food.

With people who have Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. These beta cells control glucose levels in blood. Without insulin, blood sugar continues to rise, which means those with Type 1 diabetes need to use insulin for their entire lives. While these early results are encouraging, experts believe we are about five years out from stem cell treatments widely being used with this disease.

Experts warn, however, that using the term “cured” could be a bit misleading. The Ohio man’s body is producing its own insulin, but only due to therapeutic intervention. To stop his body from destroying these new cells he must take immunosuppressants, which carry their own risks.

Additional research is underway to see if an encapsulation device that essentially transplants the stem cells under the skin could help circumvent the need for immune suppression.

The stem cell results are promising, but researchers said more people need to be enrolled in trials in order to collect more data. Additionally, it is anticipated that initial costs to use the stem cell technology could be out of reach for many affected with the disease.

Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 3 system, the size of two stacked pennies, automatically sends minute-by-minute glucose readings to a compatible smartphone without scanning.
embecta.com embecta, formerly part of BD. BD is the manufacturer of the advertised products. embecta and the embecta logo are trademarks of Embecta Corp. BD and the BD Logo are trademarks of Becton, Dickinson and Company. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2022 Embecta Corp. All rights reserved. 2205662042PHARMADDSN As one of the largest global diabetes companies, we will bring you the same trusted, broad BD product portfolio. Diabetes has our undivided attention embecta, formerly part of BD, is now a company singularly focused on diabetes care. No immediate changes for you or your customers Same trusted products and support ☑ ☑ ☑ Same BD product packaging Same NDC and order codes

collaborate to optimize the care plan on a timely basis.”

Medtronic’s InPen provides a customizable fast-acting insulin therapy solution for people with Type 1 or Type 2 insulindependent diabetes. InPen provides a choice of therapy modes: carb counting, fixed dose and meal estimation dose calculators to those who use multiple daily injections based on their healthcare provider’s recommendations. “This puts actionable diabetes treatment suggestions into the hands of users and healthcare providers, no matter the insulin treatment protocol,” MacLeod said. With real-time glucose data from the Guardian Connect CGM in the InPen app, patients can see their glucose, active insulin and dosing recommendations — all in one convenient view.

Insulet’s latest innovation in insulin delivery is an Automated Insulin Delivery (AID) system. According to Christensen, the AID system integrates both insulin pump and CGM technology to deliver dynamic insulin adjustments in response to real-time glucose measurements to minimize hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. “The Omnipod 5 System is the only tubeless automated insulin delivery system integrated with Dexcom G6 CGM to manage blood glucose with no multiple daily injections, zero fingersticks, and is fully controlled by a compatible personal smartphone,” he said.

With its latest FreeStyle Libre 3 system, Abbott created the smallest, thinnest and most discreet on-body sensor on the market — about the size of two stacked pennies. The system automatically sends real-time, minute-by-minute glucose readings to a compatible smartphone without scanning, has the strongest Bluetooth range of any CGM and uses significantly less plastic than previous versions. This technology offers optional glucose alarms beyond mandatory ones and provides glucose history and trend arrows with a quick look at your phone.

Additionally, it integrates with LibreLinkUp (smartphone app) and LibreView (cloud-based data system), enabling caregivers and healthcare professionals to monitor loved ones and patients remotely. “This technology gives people living with diabetes more freedom and less pain,” Scoggins said. “ It’s a game changer for the millions of people living with diabetes.”

While there has been a lot of innovation happening around diabetes data management, new therapies, digital therapeutics and CGM over the last several years, currently CGM is only used by a limited segment of the population with diabetes, according to Anderson. “That’s why it’s great to be able to bring a technology like automatic blood glucose monitoring — or ABGM — to the conversation because it’s a technology that enables the entire population with diabetes to get in on the excitement around diabetes innovation,” he noted.

Anderson said ABGM represents innovation that understands the burdens people with diabetes still face and gives them another way to meet their blood glucose testing needs. He predicted that we will see more of that kind of innovation in the future — innovation with broad application across the category.

Intuity Medical recently introduced POGO Automatic, the first

and only FDA-cleared ABGM whose 10-test cartridge technology makes it possible to lance, collect blood and produce a glucose result in just one step, without the need to individually load lancets or test strips. “With One-Step testing, POGO Automatic delivers a greatly simplified and discreet blood glucose testing experience that is less disruptive to the everyday lives of people with diabetes,” Anderson said.


When Abbott created the FreeStyle Libre technology, the company said it always knew it could be used for more than glucose and could reach beyond people with diabetes, Scoggins said. While glucose remains a priority, the company is currently developing the technology to go beyond this. For instance, Abbott is developing a bio-wearable device that measures both glucose and ketones in the same sensor.

Abbott is also working on consumer bio-wearables for people without diabetes, designed to track key biomarkers, such as glucose, ketones and lactate, to give people real-time data and personalized insights to help them improve their general health and wellness. dsn

Medtronic’s InPen provides a customizable fast-acting insulin therapy solution with a choice of therapy modes.
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Tough Times Call for Candy

As people crave sweet treats, manufacturers are innovating with nostalgia and novelty

There’s a lot of name-dropping going on in the candy aisle. Consumers looking for sugary snacks are finding some very familiar brands, and not just among the confectionary giants. Candy companies are offering licensed products that tie in with movies and with legacy food brands, all in effort to tap into consumers’ desire for nostalgia, comfort and fun.

The efforts are paying off. According to a Mintel report, Non-Chocolate Confectionery, US 2022, total U.S. sales of candy surpassed $10 billion in 2021, and the firm forecasts sales to reach $14 billion by 2027.

“Consumers are continuing to seek out treats that satisfy their desire for nostalgic treats from their youth, when life was more simple and fun,” said Clark Taylor, senior vice president of sales and marketing at CandyRific. “Many of them are now looking for comfort, known treats and licenses that satisfy their need for a small indulgence in today’s hectic world.”

This year, CandyRific launched toys and treats with the Kool-Aid brand, Jurassic World-themed candy fans and Marvel’s Avengers Thor character candy fans. In 2023, the company will release items tied to “The Mandalorian” series and the character Grogu; upcoming movies featuring SpongeBob, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, “PAW Patrol” and “Trolls 3”; and a new resurgence of the classic “Star Wars.”

Appealing to Generations

Some iconic brands appeal to all ages. “We’ve had incredible success with the Kool-Aid brand in confectionery,” said Lou DiMarco, executive vice president of Hilco, maker of popping candy and other treats. “We see young kids saying this


Jurassic World-Themed Candy Fan Marvel’s Avengers Character Fan –Thor

SRP: $5.99

CandyRific has expanded its line of candy fans. The novelty Jurassic World-themed light up fan has a tyrannosaurus rex reaching up to a helicopter, based on the blockbuster “Jurassic World” franchise. The Thor character fan provides a puff of cool air with a push of a button, and it also lights up. The fans come with 0.53 oz. of assorted fruit-flavored dextrose candies with natural flavors and colors.

— Clark Taylor, senior vice president of sales and marketing, CandyRific

Hilco Kool-Aid Popping Candy Warheads

Popping Candy

SRP: 99 cents, single pack Building on the success of its 3-Pack Popping Candy, Hilco offers Kool-Aid brand and Warheads Single Pack Popping Candy. Single packs of 0.33 oz. of Kool-Aid brand popping candy come in tropical punch, grape and cherry flavors. Warheads Sour flavors come in green apple, blue raspberry and watermelon.

“Consumers are continuing to seek out treats that satisfy their desire for nostalgic treats from their youth, when life was more simple and fun.”

(Kool-Aid Popping Candy) is super cool, and we have captured the adults who drank it a ton as a kid and love it as an adult.”

Other flavor profiles are also gaining sales momentum. Hilco partners with Impact Confections to make Warheads Sour Popping candy. “Sour is a major trend that seems to never go away,” DiMarco said. Those candies are popular among tweens and adults. Another brand that appeals to older kids and adults is Girl Scouts, so Hilco launched Thin Mints Candy Canes. “People love the cookie, and it has a very good mint profile.”

Consumers are looking for global flavors, too. “We’re seeing a strong interest for flavors derived from international cuisines,” said Robert Swaigen, vice president of global marketing at Jelly Belly.

Total U.S. sales of candy surpassed

$10 billion in 2021.

Source: Mintel

RangeMe Top Performers: Candy


Evergreen USA

Just The Fun Part Waffle Cones Filled With Dark Chocolate

SRP: $6.99

Just The Fun Part took the best part of a sundae cone (the bottom) and turned it into the perfect nostalgic treat. A bag full of bite-sized pieces makes it nearly impossible to just have one. By combining crispy mini waffle cones and ethically sourced Belgian dark chocolate, this snack is made to satisfy any sweet tooth.


SkinnyDipped Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

SRP: $5.99

SkinnyDipped flips the equation with loads of meltingly scrumptious peanut butter nestled in a thin, dark chocolate shell. The Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are made with simple ingredients; contain no stevia, sugar, alcohols or artificial sweeteners; and are keto friendly, with only 2 g of sugar and 3.5 g net carbs per cup. Like all SkinnyDipped products, they are non-GMO, gluten free and kosher.

Pocket Latte

Hazelnut Coffee Chocolate

SRP: $2.29

Pocket Latte’s Hazelnut Coffee Chocolate is made with real 100% arabica coffee and premium craft chocolate for a smooth coffee buzz. Each bar contains 110 mg to 130 mg of natural caffeine and is vegan, gluten free, kosher and non-GMO. The suggested retail price of $2.29 is less than most cups of coffee or other energy products.

The products selected are RangeMe Verified brands that received the highest positive buyer interaction scores within the Candy category — a score that represents a combination of buyer views, messages, saves, sample requests and purchases of the product. The RangeMe verification process confirms that brands and products meet certain standards and requirements that RangeMe’s retail partners look for before doing business with a brand.


“Items like boba tea have been generating quite a bit of content on social media lately, especially among Gen Z and millennials.”

Tropical fruit flavors are also trending now, Swaigen said, such as in Jelly Belly’s Tropical Mix, which includes crushed pineapple, mango and kiwi. Smaller and mid-size packs are also trending, and Jelly Belly has 60 different varieties in its Grab & Go line. Chewy candies are also among the most popular picks.

Attention to Textures

Gummies are very big right now, said Molly Jacobson, director of business development at Frankford Candy. “The pandemic has spurred growth of the gummies segment,” she said. “Gummies are a popular candy variety among kids and parents, who use these sweet treats as a reward for their kids.” Among the company’s offerings are its Kraft Heinz gummy line, with Lunchables, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs in the form of fruit-flavored gummies. Coming soon are Dunkin’ treats and (SpongeBob) Gummy Krabby Patties.

The Hot Chocolate Bomb is also popular, partly because it’s fun to watch the chocolate melt when pouring warm milk over it. “Consumers are increasingly interested in experiences and want something playful and engaging that they can share on social media or with their friends,” Jacobson said. “Innovation is more than just the product these days. Innovation also means bringing new ideas to consumers that go beyond delicious taste, but also engages them with all of their senses.”

One new idea for consumers is that gum and mints do more than freshen breath. Sales of those items were impacted during the pandemic, and Mars Wrigley kept an eye on usage occasion shifts. “Consumers began to enjoy gum for its other functional benefits, beyond freshening, such as aiding in maintaining focus and attention while working/studying from home, combating quarantine boredom and more,” said Justin HollynTaub, senior marketing director of US gum and mints at Mars Wrigley.

Gum has rebounded, he said, and the company developed new products to satisfy consumer demand for new flavors. Mars Wrigley launched EXTRA Refreshers Fruit Mix with three flavors in one bottle. For consumers stocking up on gum, ORBIT Mega Pack is portable and provides a more sustainable option by including a step-by-step guide on how to recycle via How2Recycle graphics on the pack. dsn

Frankford Candy

Kraft Heinz Gummies

SRP: varies, $4 to $5 Gummy Lunchables Cracker Stackers feature eight gummy crackers and two “slices” each of gummy pepperoni, gummy ham, gummy Swiss cheese and gummy cheddar cheese — enough to build four cracker stacker sandwiches. Gummy Lunchables Pepperoni Pizza Kit comes in a 6.3-oz. package and includes three gummy pizza crusts, 12 gummy mozzarella cheese shreds, 15 gummy pepperoni slices and one liquid pizza sauce packet — enough to build three pizzas. Oscar Mayer Gummy Hot Dogs come in a five-count 4.4-oz. blister pack of gummy hot dogs, and Oscar Mayer Gummy Bacon includes five gummy bacon strips in a 6-oz. package.

Trolli Halo Infinite Packs

SRP: varies, $2.29 to $3.79 for 4.25 oz. to 7.2 oz.

For Xbox’s 20th anniversary, sour gummy brand Trolli collaborated with “Halo Infinite” and debuted four limited-edition Halo Infinite packs. Original Sour Brite Crawlers are multi-flavored gummy worms covered in sugar to strike a balance of sweet and sour. Very Berry Sour Brite Crawlers are a twist on Trolli’s original sour gummy worm with fruity flavor combinations. Sour Gummi Creations offer enough gummy heads, rings and bases to create 216 different aliens. Sour Bursting Crawlers are Trolli’s classic Sour Brite Crawlers with a burst of sour, fruity flavor inside.


Strategic Moves to Drive Results This Holiday Season

Relying on proven retail strategies to succeed in the fourth quarter

Retailers don’t need to be rocket scientists to navigate this year’s final quarter.

In the face of inflation and an uncertain economy, food and drug retailers can rely on many of the same merchandising and marketing strategies that succeeded in the past year or two — which include remaining sharp on price.

That’s as good a formula as any to navigate a holiday period in which consumers are still tentative about spending and uncertain about the future.

Mixed Economic Outlook

The forecasts from economic experts are mixed. U.S. economic growth has slowed, but the outlooks for inflation and recession still aren’t clear.

Consumer spending levels at retail will be crucial to monitor, National Retail Federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a September economic review.

“All eyes remain on the consumer, and what is happening in retail is very important,” he said.

Family-focused Strategies

Retailers have succeeded with virtual programming for families during the pandemic, and this approach holds a lot of promise in the fourth quarter. A thoughtful example comes from The Giant Co., whose team of dietitians is offering a series of free live virtual classes.

Giant’s programming includes events on hunger action awareness, kids in the kitchen and family meals consumers can create in less than 30 minutes. Kids in the kitchen presents Disney-themed classes with dishes that include Winnie the Pooh’s pasta salad and Rapunzel’s frying pan cookie.

Halloween Inspiration

Halloween is an important retail opportunity, and one of the biggest trends in recent years has been to bring pets into the celebration with unique costumes, treats and other touches.

Food and drug retailers can take Halloween inspiration from pet product retailers. Petco’s latest “Bootique” collection includes toys, treats and

David Orgel is an award-winning business journalist, industry expert and speaker. He is the principal of David Orgel Consulting.

themed apparel — along with pet parent-matching apparel. Petco also is promoting an LED collar and reflective jacket to help keep dogs safe and visible during Halloween.

Merchandising Savvy

A new research study from 84.51° — the retail media arm of Kroger — finds that consumers prefer to shop in physical stores for their main courses this holiday season.

As a result, 84.51° suggests a targeted holiday merchandising approach to generate additional spending. This approach involves building in-store displays of related items located near the entrée items. The idea is to foster a bundling of main courses and related items while providing a discount. This may not sound like a revolutionary idea, but it’s a proven strategy that makes sense.

Price and Convenience

Last year’s holiday season provides clues for success this year, especially related to price and convenience. Walmart succeeded during the 2021 holiday period partly by driving lower prices than competitors on grocery items. Other retailers can’t match Walmart’s scale and negotiating power on price, but they can selectively offer value that drives sales.

Convenience is another important factor during the holidays, especially for consumers who delay their purchases until late in the season. Last year, Walgreens promoted its ability to support last-minute purchasing. The strategies included extended same-day delivery and pickup on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This kind of approach shows empathy for harried shoppers and makes a retailer into a destination for customers needing solutions late in the game.

Retail winners this holiday season will be those that outperform on core competencies, such as price, convenience and merchandising. This may not seem like rocket science, but it requires very good piloting. dsn

“Last year’s holiday season provides clues for success this year, especially related to price and convenience.”

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A short insert hook welded to the panel, eliminating the need for insert brackets. Panels easily lock onto uprights, creating a clean, flush appearance. Extended beyond the gondola height, creating additional merchandising space!

Replaces torn and inefficient pegboard. Simply remove pegboard and insert Uniweb into existing store uprights, permitting the use of existing shelving.

Attach brackets and insert panel into uprights. Hooks fit without tilting and slide horizontally, allowing merchandising directly under shelves and flexibility in adjusting product without disturbing products.

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