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Walgreens: RFID Promotions Tracking a "Game-Changer"

Walgreens is promoting the success of its RFID-enabled promotions tracking program. The drugstore chain and GOLIATH Solutions, which developed the RFID system, issued a joint press release in which Walgreens calls the system a "game-changer" for improving store operations and sales.
Mar 03, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

March 3, 2009—Walgreens has found the right prescription for RFID promotions tracking. The 7,176-drugstore chain headquartered near Chicago announced it has "substantially" improved its execution for getting promotional displays and merchandise onto the selling floor by using RFID reads and related applications to alert store personnel when merchandise should be moved.

Many retail promotions do not run as planned or scheduled, often because retailers can't find displays or merchandise in their stores, or simply don't move them to the sales floor on schedule. RFID promotions tracking systems help locate materials and issue execution reminders.

"Over the past year, our in-store execution has grown to nearly double the industry average. Incremental sales assure us that we are on a good path to improving our customers' shopping experience," Walgreens' vice president of purchasing David Van Howe said in the announcement, which was made jointly with its RFID promotions tracking solution provider, GOLIATH Solutions.

"The information GOLIATH provides is a game-changer for us," Van Howe said in the release. "Not only does it help us identify and purchase more effective programs, our store operations teams are embracing the GOLIATH data to improve execution throughout our chain. Store-level information about what is up and where it is in the store allows unprecedented accountability for achieving program potential."

Walgreens did not provide details about how many stores are RFID-enabled or how many vendors participate in promotions tracking.

In 2005 Walgreens signed a multi-year agreement with GOLIATH Solutions to install RFID promotions tracking systems in thousands of stores (see Walgreens Deal Spells Promotions-Tracking Boon). Walgreens was a pioneer in this application, which is widely seen as a highly beneficial use of RFID in retail. However, the value of the application came into question recently after Procter & Gamble (P&G) decided to end its RFID promotions tracking program with Wal-Mart (see RFID Leader P&G Steps Back from Promotions Tracking), citing the difficulty of developing the manufacturer-retailer collaboration needed to produce beneficial results.

"It does take a lot of collaboration between us, the vendors and GOLIATH," a Walgreens spokesperson told RFID Update. "We made that effort and have been successful with it. We clearly see value in the program."

In its announcement, Walgreens highlights its collaboration success, including a quote from Revlon, one of its consumer products partners in the project.

"GOLIATH has provided us with unprecedented insight into what works and what doesn't with consumers," Revlon sales director Bill Ferry is quoted. "This has helped us maximize our return from our displays and refine our programs to eliminate displays that aren't producing as effectively as we would like. In addition, for the first time, we now have an independent measure of store compliance, and additional insight into optimal location for our programs. Combined, this information helps generate potential enhancements for future programs."
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