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Duane Reade attacks allergy season with weather-based mobile coupons

March 21, 2014

Walgreens-owned Duane Reade has decided to leverage weather-forecasting service Poncho to deliver relevant coupons to New Yorkers within the service’s SMS and email weather alerts.

Poncho sends customized weather alerts to consumers via SMS and email, and these alerts will now contain relevant Duane Reade coupons. The coupons will specifically target users in alerts related to seasonal allergies.

“The Poncho weather alert service seemed like a natural fit for Duane Reade to collaborate with during allergy season,” said Calvin Peters, public relations and digital communications manager at Duane Reade, New York.

“It will help us own the ‘solution narrative’ around allergy season within the New York Metro area, while leveraging the Poncho platform and user base with timely Duane Reade messaging and value-added assets that are extremely relevant to the consumer,” he said. “Of course, we’ll also look to analyze engagement data and coupon redemption rates from the initiative as well.

“We will also see a lot of Duane Reade related consumer-generated media syndicated around this effort and allergy season overall, outlining how Duane Reade can navigate users to relevant, value-added deals on specified products at the precise timing they really need to act through the Poncho weather alert service that is in-line with our Parallel Persuasion model.”

Allergy alerts
Poncho lets consumers set up personalized alerts to be notified by either SMS or email, depending on their preference, for specific weather-related news.

To sign up for Poncho, consumers simply enter their name on and then fill out information such as ZIP code, when they normally wake up and if they have pollen allergies.

Then they can enter their email address and phone number to finish creating the account.

Among the various alerts Poncho offers are special notifications on days when the pollen count is particularly high. When consumers receive these allergy alerts, they will also receive an exclusive coupon to Duane Reade for specified allergy relief products.

This means that Poncho users will not only get notified of tough allergy times but they will be able to combat it with the help of Duane Reade.

“The dual benefit to our NY Metro area consumer is receiving personalized weather messaging on-the-go, while providing them with value-added savings on specified products that point to an individualized need on a given day via SMS or email to their mobile device during the allergy season,” Mr. Peters said.

Mobile engagement
This partnership is a strategic move from Duane Reade as brands move away from overwhelming consumers with too much content and try to deliver specific, tailored content.

Particularly on mobile, consumers do not want to be flooded with mobile coupons and ads, so retailers and brands need to figure out a way to deliver content that is desirable.

Duane Reade has been getting it right on mobile for some time now.

Last year, Duane Reade promoted its branded hosiery products with a multichannel “Boo-tiful Legs” campaign that blended mobile and social in a Halloween-themed contest (see story).

The pharmacy understands that mobile needs to be leveraged in creative and utility-based ways to engage consumers.

“At Duane Reade, we continue to look for opportunities to reach our customers with creative digital and social resources that allow us to be innovative, but extremely relevant when it comes to our customer engagement and experience efforts,” Mr. Peters said. “Internet traffic on mobile phones is expected to exceed traffic from traditional desktops.

“We need to reach our consumers where they are in a localized manner, as most mobile phone users depend on local search and we continue to look to provide that presence; reaching them with content that’s not only geo-targeted but extremely timely within their daily routines,” he said.

“As the value of succinct storytelling from a brand perspective becomes increasingly paramount within content marketing, consumers being able to leverage that messaging whenever and wherever they are is essential.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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