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Drugstores Going After Baby Boomers' Dollars

NATIONAL REPORT -- When it comes to attracting Baby Boomers, Rite Aid Corp. and The Walgreen Co. are capitalizing on the changing health care climate with new marketing initiatives.

According to a report by Marketing Daily, retirees spend approximately $93 billion on prescription drugs every year, "making marketing aimed at Baby Boomers increasingly valuable."

Rite Aid is rolling out a campaign promoting its new wellness65+ loyalty program. Customers over the age of 65 can enjoy a special 20-percent savings the first Wednesday of every month and the ability to earn points based on drug co-payments.

"Amid new health care legislation and the growing array of options, health care can be more confusing than ever," the company stated in a news release. "Retail brands have an opportunity to create in-store experiences and offerings that foster stronger relationships and truly build loyalty."

Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid is running television, radio and print advertisements, and using direct and digital channels including social media. It is also launching a country mobile tour that will host health and wellness events for seniors and their families in more than 30 markets.

Meanwhile, Walgreens renamed its 370 in-store clinics to Healthcare Clinics in the hopes of attracting new customers, the news outlet reported. The clinics will extend their scope to address chronic diseases prevalent in older Americans, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma.

As CSNews Online previously reported, Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson sat down with Fortune Magazine to explain his vision for the drugstore chain.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to differentiate ourselves and step out of the traditional drugstore format and create something completely new and unique," he said. "In the past, we were a pharmacy with a front end that had convenience goods. We don't want to lose that. We're on the best corners of America for that reason. But we can move from just convenience to more health, daily living and beauty."

The effect of the drugstore chains' emphasis on clinics to attract Baby Boomers, however, remains to be seen, Larry Oakner, managing director of strategy for Corebrand, a branding consultancy, told Marketing Daily.

"These clinics are kind of a mixed metaphor for Boomers and older patients who typically have more complex medical issues and more involved medical records," said Oakner. "Trust is really important and so much depends on how well the brand is delivered. Who wants to get their health care needs met in the same place that someone is buying greeting cards, beach balls and shampoo?"

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