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Shoppers Drug Mart drives digital with Optimum program

New app delivers personalized offers and rewards to mobile devices

Shoppers Drug Mart is reinventing its 15-year-old Optimum loyalty program for the digital generation, introducing a new app capable of delivering personalized offers and rewards to  the mobile devices of its approximately 10 million annual users.

David Harrington, vice-president of business analytics and Optimum at Shoppers, called it the most significant update to the Optimum program since its 2000 introduction. “The focus is on knowing our customer and delivering them relevant value,” he said.

The new “My Optimum. My Rewards” program includes an enhanced Shoppers Drug Mart app for both iOS and Android devices that incorporates a digital Optimum card. Optimum members will now be able to receive personalized offers and points via mobile, e-mail or the web at MyOptimum.ca and load them onto either the digital or plastic version of their card.

Members will also receive weekly offers tailored to their shopping experiences, including a personalized e-flyer that selects relevant promotions ranging from cosmetics and skincare to vitamins and snacks.

Optimum members will be able to scan their digital Optimum card directly from their mobile device to earn and redeem points, check points balances on the go and transfer points to a loved one’s account.

The app also allows users to browse store flyers and create shopping lists, manage prescriptions and find the nearest Shoppers/Pharmaprix store.

The objective is to continue making the Optimum program relevant to Shoppers customers, said Harrington.

“It’s to serve up offers and content that they want to see versus what we want to put in front of them,” he said. “Customers respond much better when you’re targeting them on the basis of things that are relevant to them.

Harrington said that Shoppers began experimenting with personalization about two years ago, starting with e-mail communiqués to customers that were “100% personalized” to how they shopped.

He said that the personalization created “pretty immediate” increases in both customer participation and how often they participated. The downside to the program, he said, was that customers needed to print out the offer and bring it into the store in order to redeem.

“We know from our research that a certain amount of people just didn’t participate because they didn’t have a printer or it was a hassle,” said Harrington. “We really want to make it easy with the digitization of the program.”

Harrington said that those early efforts “laid the foundation” for the personalization aspect of the program introduced last week. “What it told us was that while customers loved the value, we needed to make it easier for them to engage with the program and our personalization efforts,” he said.

Optimum is a hugely popular loyalty program, with approximately 10 million users a year and a new member joining every 23 seconds. The program skews predominantly female (Harrington said that the percentage of female users numbers in the “high seventies”), and slightly over-indexes in the 45-65 age group and under-indexes among younger segments.

According to Shoppers, more than 386,000 lipsticks and 1.3 million toothbrushes were redeemed for free using Optimum points last year.

Harrington described “My Optimum. My Rewards” as an “augmentation” of its existing program, but said that company has no plans to discontinue the plastic card. “Who knows what’s going to come down the road, but we’re not in any rush to phase out the plastic at this point,” he said.

Shoppers plans to support the revamped program with a combination of media and in-store marketing, although Harrington declined to provide campaign specifics.

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