OPERATIONS

CVS takes personalization to next level with new CVS.com site

BY Antoinette Alexander

Woonsocket, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy officially unveiled on Thursday a new personalized digital experience on CVS.com, which features extensive health information and resources in addition to customized deals and savings information.

“It is one step of many that is focused on creating the most personalized and accessible shopping experience. … After 14 years of ExtraCare’s track record, we are uniquely positioned to make sure that the logic and the thinking and the insights that we have really pay off for the customer, both in terms of their health objectives and their savings objectives,” Rob Price, senior VP and CMO for CVS/pharmacy, said.

One of the key highlights of the revamped site is the pharmacy page, which is designed for easy management of health information so shoppers can not only remember to refill and pick up prescriptions but also gather the information they need about what’s in their medicine cabinet. Visitors also have access to a Drug Information Center to check for drug interactions and identify pills by shape, color and imprint.

The new site also features a hub for ExtraCare members to help them manage their savings and deals. ExtraCare members can view their ExtraSavings and ExtraBucks Rewards and send ExtraBucks Rewards and select coupons directly to their card via the "Send to Card" digital savings option. In addition, shoppers can turn toward the new deals hub for even more exclusive offers including "Deal of the Day" flash sales.

As part of its digital commerce initiative, CVS has also developed the Endless Aisle, which features those items available only online or offers a deeper product assortment than what might be available in the store.

“We are going to be looking at a number of categories where we have the credibility and the trust from our customers to add to our assortment online, and there will be more to come on that in the coming months,” Price said.

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Ashish says:
Mar-02-2013 10:32 am

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OPERATIONS

Gymboree engages LogicSource for print and retail procurement

BY Staff Writer

San Francisco — The Gymboree Corp. and procurement management firm LogicSource announced Thursday an agreement under which LogicSource will provide procurement and management expertise to deliver cost savings to Gymboree.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

LogicSource conducted a detailed analysis of Gymboree’s procurement spend and identified significant savings opportunities. LogicSource will give Gymboree access to its broad-reaching procurement industry expertise, provide a comprehensive vendor network, and drive efficiencies through smart centralization.

“We look forward to the opportunity to drive savings through LogicSource’s industry expertise and gain efficiencies through centralization. The LogicSource partnership will give us access to a broader supply chain resulting in savings through their unique gain share model,” said Gymboree CEO Matthew McCauley.

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OPERATIONS

The Container Store Deploys Voice Picking

BY Marianne Wilson

The Container Store credits its “employees-first” culture as integral to its success, believing that if you make employees your highest priority, they in turn will take better care of customers. It’s a business model that extends to all facets of the chain’s operations — including the decision to deploy a voice-directed warehouse picking system.

“As a company, the first thing we consider in anything we do is: How is this going to help our employees?” said Christy Parra, logistics systems director, The Container Store, Coppell, Texas. “It’s very important that any new technology we install be something that is going to make life better for our employees, in addition to the company, our stores and customers.”

After reviewing voice-directed warehouse applications, the chain decided to deploy Jennifer VoicePlus, from Lucas Systems, Pittsburgh. The tool, in essence, creates a conversation with warehouse workers that frees their hands and eyes to focus on the job at hand.

“Our distribution center employees had a big part in selecting our voice system,” Parra said. “We had to make sure it was right for them.”

Parra said employees preferred Jennifer’s human voice and voice-enabled help functions.

“We also liked the ability to tailor what the user hears, not just for ease of use and efficiency, but also to keep things fun and interesting,” she said.

The application integrates with The Container Store’s warehouse management system and supports order picking in the 1.1 million-sq.-ft. center for direct-to-consumer fulfillment and store replenishment. It includes the flexibility to use speech recognition and bar code scanning interchangeably using a standard multi-modal mobile computer.

Also, Jennifer gives distribution center supervisors increased visibility into real-time operational information and the tools they need to effectively manage their work.

Parra emphasized that for The Container Store, voice picking is about more than efficiency.

“For us, it’s not just about being faster,” she said. “It’s about safety and making things better for our employees.”

Parra said that the new system makes picking easier and also more consistent compared with the RF-bar scanning system that The Container Store used previously.

“With Jennifer, you just have to follow directions,” she said, “as opposed to reinventing the wheel on an RF device. Also, the RF bar code-scanning device is big and a little clunky to hold. Voice picking frees up both hands, which is a big plus.”

Prior to deployment, the retailer conducted training sessions for every employee who would touch the system.

The training was less about the actual operation of Jennifer — the system is easy to use — and more about getting employees comfortable with the new technology.

“Change can make people feel nervous,” Parra said. “We wanted to make sure everyone felt comfortable the day we went live, so we did a lot of training and let people practice on the system.”

The retailer also assured employees that they were not going to be “automated out of a job” by the new technology.

“We try to be as transparent as possible and make sure everyone knows the end goal,” Parra said. “So we held a meeting for everyone in the distribution center and made it clear at the outset that [the voice-picking system] wasn’t about cutting anyone. Instead, it was about helping employees be safer and do their jobs better and allowing us, as a company, to stay ahead of our growth, keep pace with technology and be continuously evolving.”

The actual deployment went very smoothly and only took two to three days.

Since going live with voice picking last fall, The Container Store has seen steady increases in picking productivity, and a sharp reduction in employee training time.

“Our employees think it’s much faster, and it is,” Parra added. “We can pick 10 to 12 times faster than before. Employees also like that they don’t have to ask someone what to do next. We deploy the work and Jennifer takes them through the day in a very fluid manner.”

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