In retailers’ rush to grow media networks that can score more advertising dollars, Walgreens is a bit of a latecomer. The chain not only tails its biggest competitor, CVS, which launched the CVS Media Exchange in August after months of speculation, but also others in the brick-and-mortar category like Walmart, Target and Kroger.
Walgreens clearly sees its expansive loyalty program as a linchpin that can win over more brands, and the company is propping up WAG as a full-service operation. WAG offers creative services, for instance, along with the measurement, analytics and campaign optimization tools that are more typical to a media network. And while CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the U.S., Walgreens wins out on the loyalty front: CVS’ ExtraCare rewards program has about 78 million active members, according to Chain Store Age, compared to Walgreens’ 100-million-plus.
Retailers’ push to establish media networks is a reaction to a number of factors, chief among them is Google’s deprecation of third-party cookies and the mounting threat posed by Amazon, which itself has steadily built out an impressive advertising business along with continuing to disrupt the retail category with a massive e-commerce operation shored up by the pandemic.Retail Dive