Walgreens rolls out its own retail media network
One of 2020’s biggest trends appears to be brands investing in their own media networks. Following in the footsteps of CVS and Home Depot, which have debuted and expanded their own programs in recent months, Walgreens on Thursday introduced Walgreens Advertising Group, a retail media offering for brands. Dubbed Wag, the new offering is meant to capture the value of Walgreen shopper data for advertisers.
“We are finding ways to make it as easy and seamless as possible to work with us to enable speed for advertisers to be able to get the full breath of the value that we can offer,” says Luke Kigel, VP of Walgreens integrated media and head of Wag.
Walgreens is currently working with more than 30 advertisers, most of which already sell on the chain’s shelves. While the drugstore has executed hundreds of campaigns digitally for brands in recent years, Walgreens is now formalizing its retail media offering and plans to invest in more resources for the program, Kigel says. “Everything for us starts and stops with value,” he says.
In addition, Walgreens, which has technology partnerships in place with Microsoft, Adobe and Epsilon, recently overhauled its loyalty program for consumers by creating MyWalgreens to provide a better benefits system for shoppers. MyWalgreens provides first-party data insights into more than 100 million members for advertisers.
Wag offers ad placements on Walgreens.com and in the chain’s 9,000 stores, as well as on outside channels including Facebook, Pinterest and Google.
Along with CVS and Home Depot, Walgreens joins Target’s Roundel, TripAdvisor and Best Buy, all of which have their own media networks. Last year, a Forrester expert correctly predicted that the programs would continue to proliferate as brands recognized the value to advertisers of their customer data.
Like other essential retailers, Walgreens has thrived during the pandemic. For the most recent quarter, the chain reported a 2% increase in sales to $34.7 billion and said it expects profits to rise in 2021. In October, parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance chose WPP to remain its global media and communications agency following a review.