Duane Reade ties weather alerts to SMS promotion

Duane Reade's new SMS service turns bad weather into a sales opportunity with Poncho's personalized weather alerts.

Poncho sends users relevant weather updates tailored to their preferences via text or email. Now, in partnership with the drugstore, users will also receive relevant coupons for Duane Reade products specially tailored to the day's predicted weather.

The tailored weather alerts include messages for seasonal allergy sufferers on days when the pollen count is particularly high. On these days, Poncho users will receive exclusive discounts for specified allergy relief products at Duane Reade stores.

Subscribers specify what time they wake up, how they commute to work, whether they have allergies – and immediately begin receiving two weather updates every day, once in the morning when they wake up and once in the evening before they leave work.

The service is currently limited to the New York metropolitan area, where Walgreens-owned Duane Reade operates 250 stores.

"Weather is a perfect example of something that impacts people's daily decisions, which is why collaborating with a personalized tool like Poncho affords us another way to provide our customers with products and services that are intrinsic to their individual lifestyle," said Calvin Peters, digital communications manager, Duane Reade.

The digital initiative builds on Duane Reade's social media efforts as part of its Parallel Persuasion strategy, a marketing approach that generates ROI through omnichannel engagement. It is an equation based on brand advocacy, brand voice, PR integration and conversation relevance, according to the company.

The retailer's integrated campaigns are showing measurable results: 2013's "Show Us Some Leg" campaign on Twitter to promote store brand leg wear, generated a 28 percent increase in sales during a time when the category experienced a 5 percent decline overall.

With 2.02 million followers on Twitter, Duane Reade purports to be the most followed retailer on the social media site. In comparison, Target (NYSE: TGT) has half that while Macy's (NYSE: M) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) have less than 500,000 each.

The program is a test, but it's not difficult to imagine a rollout to Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) stores nationally. Or that Poncho could make an attractive acquisition as the chain seeks to build its omnichannel presence. In 2011, Walgreens bought Drugstore.com for approximately $409 million.

For more:
-See this Duane Reade press release
-See this Duane Reade press release

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