You are currently viewing A Letter to Alyssa Raine: An Update On Walgreen’s Basic CRM Tactics

A Letter to Alyssa Raine: An Update On Walgreen’s Basic CRM Tactics

If you are not Alyssa Raine, then here’s a summary of what’s in this article:

  • A follow up on PostFunnel’s CRM analysis taken on Walgreens back in July 2020
  • Though they got a better score on the Relevancy commandment, Walgreens still isn’t exhibiting realtime personalization tactics
  • There’s also some room for improvement on how they use social media to support CRM

If you ARE Alyssa Raine, then, hi!

Dear Ms. Raine, Group Vice President, Customer Marketing Platforms at Walgreens.

I’m writing you because back in July 2020, we at PostFunnel – a publication dedicated to everything relationship marketing (O&O by Optimove) – analyzed Walgreens’ relationship marketing tactics, according to our “7 commandments” for basic CRM practices for the kind of world we live in today. In other words, through the lens of how brands should behave in a post-COVID-19 world in order to improve their chances of building meaningful customer relationships.

You can read more about the method at the bottom of this page.

Point is, we ran this analysis for your brand back in the summer of 2020. You can see the full analysis here.

And now, we wanted to revisit it, see what has changed – what has improved, stagnated, or gotten worse. After all, we all know these things are dynamic. And make sure you see this update.

So, let’s cut to the chase. Back then, yours was only the 8th brand we analyzed, and you scored 70%. Which, at the time, was enough for 6th place. Now, 39 brands in, it’s good for 26th.

You did great at offering relevant and useful promotions to customers, and at being transparent and helpful as a company. You scored lower on the realtime personalization and social media commandments.

Now, seven months later – we came back to look at these customer relationship marketing practices and would like to bring the following to your attention.

What’s Gone Better


Last time, we wrote about the banner below, “The only message regarding shipping and pickup options was this one, for canvas prints. A bit tone-deaf.”

We were happy to see that, since then, you added a lot more info about your pickup and delivery services – which are very basic requirements customers have in today’s reality. For instance, on the Walgreens HP, it says:

New! Get your Pickup order in as little as 30 minutes. Shop now ›

You also added the HP banner below to provide customers with all the info they need on the various shopping methods – and it seems as if Walgreens added new ways to ease the shopping experience for customers, too:

Therefore, on the “Be Relevant” commandment, it’s safe to say your score on this commandment should now go from 8 to a perfect 10.

What’s Not Better 

Realtime Personalization  

Last time, we explained that the 0 points on realtime personalization really hurt your rankings.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t changed as far as our visits to your site showed.

We checked to see whether Walgreens will personalize our experience to suit our products of interest. So, this time we added shampoos and hair care products to our shopping cart.

When scrolling down to the bottom of the page after adding shampoo to our cart, we did notice similar item suggestions, as shown in the image below:

However, when going back to the homepage – nothing changed to provide us with a more personalized shopping experience.

Realtime personalization goes well beyond showcasing the simple “people also bought” component to different customers on the same product page. It has a lot to do with delivering a personalized experience that can anticipate what the customer would most likely want to shop at any given moment, according to their behavior. We did not see evidence for this.

Furthermore, we weren’t retargeted (once again) in realtime with Walgreens ads when logging off the site and hopping onto our social media accounts. So, maybe not a 0/10, but certainly nothing significantly higher.

Leverage Social Media

We wrote back in July, “Could the second-largest pharmaceutical chain in the United States be doing more on social media, though? Running contests, giveaways, hosting shows, and so much more would be appreciated, especially since many of us are still social distancing at home.”

On Instagram, we did notice you using the Insta story feature as opposed to its neglection at the time of July’s analysis. Kudos to that!

However, on Instagram, you still post on a weekly basis, with your last post being on Valentine’s Day:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Walgreens (@walgreens)

The same goes for Twitter and Facebook. Though Walgreens posts every few days here, we still think that the second-largest pharmaceutical chain in the United States could be doing more – at least one post a day to keep customers engaged. And it’s not just the frequency, it’s also the content. Too bad!

Scoring Walgreens again would not yield a significantly higher score than the original one. And it was important for us to point this all out to you.

Thing is, as you probably know, and as established by extensive Optimove research – brands can drive business growth through existing customers to a point where their CRM’s contribution to the company’s revenue can get to even 30%. Sometimes, even higher. The technology and knowledge of how to achieve it exists. With customer acquisition costs being always on the rise, investing in existing customers is only getting more important.

PostFunnel Team


About the 7 Commandments for Basic CRM Tactics for the post-coronavirus-outbreak world:

We have a saying here at PostFunnel: All marketing is relationship marketing. Why? Because every touchpoint with a potential customer impacts the kind of relationship, they will have with a brand, if and when they become customers. Even branding has. It’s like what people hear about their upcoming blind-date can determine the actual meeting’s success.

In recent years, it meant that the ways brands support global, social, environmental, and even political causes have become increasingly critical to their relationships with customers.

Then, 2020 happened. With its global pandemic’s tragedy, economic downturn, and historical social and political turmoils – people turned their eyes to brands, almost as much as they have to governments. Expecting and judging brands by how they conduct themselves throughout such events was never more crucial to a company’s CRM success.

One after the other, the internet got flooded with articles advising marketing and CRM leaders on how to make sure their brand is suited for this new reality. So, we combed dozens of them – and came up with a list of 7 staples that appeared in most of those articles.

The 7 most essential commandments a brand must follow these days to make sure they put themselves in the best position possible to develop long, meaningful relationships with their customers.

The 7 commandments are:

1) Transparency. Show the human side of your brand

2) Give incentives and perks (that make sense)

3) Be relevant (with your language, offering)

4) Be helpful (improve your communities’ lives)

5) Personalize in realtime (cause, duh)

6) Master UX (slow, clunky websites are no longer an option)

7) Leverage social media (don’t just treat it as a sales channel)

Yup, that’s all. Without being at least decent at all of these, your CRM efforts will struggle to achieve their full potential.

And, let’s be honest, it’s not too much to ask of a brand, right?

Yet, you’ll be surprised how many well-known brands fall short too often when analyzed through these lenses.

Still, it makes some sense – these changes are happening fast, and not all brands can react and adapt quickly enough and on all fronts.

And we’re here to follow these reactions and adjustments as they happen.



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