Walgreens and Starbucks Go Mobile for Black Friday

Retailer's app offers new holiday ad opps

Walgreens has partnered with Starbucks in a Black Friday mobile couponing initiative—which includes a touch of gamification—showing off some of the back-end work the pharmacy and grocery giant has been busy with for the last year.

Around this point in 2011, Walgreens upgraded the scanners in its 8,000 stores to bring coupons and smartphones together, while training 240,000 employees on how to redeem the mobile offers. Now for this holiday season, the brand’s revamped mobile app lets it plug in specials on a daily basis without requiring consumers to download a new version.

The firm’s millions of mobile app users, starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning (many of its locations are open 24/7), can play a digital “scratch off” game and get discounts and other specials for Starbucks’ coffee products in Walgreens stores. What’s more, the consumers can win 1 million loyalty points via their Walgreens app. According to the Deerfield, Ill.-based retailer, the points equate into $1,000 worth of free merchandise at the stores.

“We will be giving away several of those prizes for three days, starting on Black Friday,” Rich Lesperance, head of digital and emerging media at Walgreens, told Adweek.

Lesperance pointed to the fluid way in which his team can now plug in ads with retail partners like Starbucks on-the-fly. “We can push new menu options with icons on the app,” he said. “It’s a great capability to do real-time promotions."