20% of Walgreens’ app users over 55

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Walgreens’ app is turning out to be a robust tool for the 55-and-older demographic, as more than 20% of users fall into this age bracket, twice the percentage of the industry average for app users. 

In fact, according to a Forrester Research survey, just 9% of smartphone owners who use apps are 55 and older. Walgreens credits its success to its mobile pharmacy features, used by 37% of the demographic. Older consumers use the mobile pharmacy to refill by scan and as a pill reminder. In general, only 10% of smartphone owners 55 and older use general health and wellness apps.

“One of the things we repeatedly hear is that customers really value their connections with individual pharmacists and staff,” said Mindy Heintskill, Walgreens divisional vice president, loyalty. “We wanted to replicate that connection digitally, so customers can get a high-value, personalized experience even when they can’t make it into a store. We created Pharmacy Chat, which enables customers to have access to trusted experts through our site or mobile app anytime of the day or night, wherever they are. We’ve also seen opportunities for tools like individual pill reminders and prescription alerts to help our customers simplify their daily lives.”

Some of the most recent upgrades to the Walgreens app include a TouchID login, so users don’t have to struggle to remember a login and password. In addition, simplified menus, a Pill Reminder, large font-size options, and loyalty rewards for healthy choices. 

“One of things that makes Walgreens special is the deep level of platform integration that we've achieved on both iOS and Android,” Benjamin Weiss, a mobile technology product manager for Walgreens, told FierceRetail. “We're talking about things like TouchID for user login, Balance Rewards with Apple Pay and Android Pay for fast, wireless identification in store for coupons and savings, Location Services in which customers give us permission to recognize them immediately when they’re in a Walgreens store and surface key features useful for shopping. The list goes on and on. For almost any feature, you'll find that we're tapping into platform APIs to reduce friction and delight users.”

One of Weiss’ favorite examples is the Pill Reminder app. While he says there are dozen on the market, Walgreens was the first to leverage iOS10's new "rich notifications." Using this unique platform capability, Walgreens not only tells the customer that it's time to take a medication, but by performing 3D-Touch on that notification, the user will actually see images of the medications, quantities, dosage instructions. The app also offers actions like "take," and "snooze" to help customers quickly act on any notification without the need to launch Walgreens. 

When developing and improving the app for an older demographic, Weiss says it’s important to keep in communication with the user. 

“For every new feature or enhancement, we're bringing customers into our labs to gather their feedback, and look for pitfalls and other issues that show where our hypotheses might be wrong, or where we need to rethink some things altogether. Older customers have specific needs, like larger touch targets in the user interface. But even language too is important here—sometimes these customers interpret words differently, so every button and every label requires a lot of careful thought. If older users don't understand something, they're less inclined to try it out than younger users sometimes are,” he said.

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