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Deepika Pandey Outlines Walgreens’ Omnichannel Future

The retailer's group vice president of digital marketing, online strategy and customer experience focused her passions: digital, beauty and retail.

For Walgreens, the word of the future — and the present — is omnichannel.

This story first appeared in the February 28, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Deepika Pandey, group vice president of digital marketing, online strategy and customer experience at Walgreens, centered her talk around her self-described passions: digital, beauty and retail.

“Omnichannel is a buzzword that we’ve all heard about over the last few years,” said Pandey. “For us, it is not just a fulfillment strategy. We are hyper-focused on creating those brand experiences across all formats and channels.”

That includes the retailer’s Walgreens and Duane Reade brick-and-mortar stores and its Web sites, which include Drugstore.com, Beauty.com, Skinstore.com and walgreens.com.

“What this portfolio of properties allows us to do is play in a lot of different sandboxes,” Pandey said. “We can test something at Walgreens or Duane Reade and really figure out what the omnichannel experience is, and we can address the pure play on Drugstore.com, Beauty.com and Skinstore.com. We hit them through mass on Walgreens, Drugstore.com and Duane Reade; we get the prestige customer through Beauty.com, and we can reach the cosmeceutical customer through Skinstore.com.”

No matter what the question, mobile is always the first thing considered. “Leading with digital allows you to lead the transformation,” said Pandey. “The retailers and companies that build those platforms are going to own that customer moving forward. Mobile has really changed the expectation of how a customer is going to interact with you.”

Social media is also a key driver for Walgreens. Strategies are customized; for example, Duane Reade’s Twitter feed has become a guide to New York City, offering information on events such as yoga classes and book readings.

“It’s the little things that are going to make a consumer feel differently about you,” said Pandey. “That came into focus when we launched refill [of prescriptions] by scan. We got an e-mail from a customer who said, ‘That was so much fun I wish I had more prescriptions to fill.’ If you can get an omnichannel reaction like that with filling a prescription, imagine what you can do with beauty.”