The Power of Mobile Optimization: CVS Has Your Number

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on June 2, 2021

And The Company Has Never Been Doing Better, Thanks To The Power Of Mobile

It stopped being trendy a few years back to write about the “power of mobile”. In the early 2010s, that phrase — in some form or other — furnished every marketing website, crowning seemingly every headline. But the now ubiquitous technology is no longer a luxurious novelty; mobile is simply an expectation for every effective loyalty program. Once in a while, though, it’s rewarding to take look at just how powerful mobile optimization is — and the kind of results a robust implementation can garner.

There is no debate around CVS’ results. The retail-pharma behemoth currently has over 9,900 retail locations; it cleared 2020 with nearly $270 billion in revenues, a $12 billion year-over-year climb, with further growth projected for 2021. The stakeholders are happy and customers are glowing. Is there a single narrative responsible for this story? Perhaps there’s more than one, but a good answer would be the way CVS engages its customer base with mobile.

CVS leverages mobile devices to drive personalized campaigns that precisely target market segments through its ExtraCare® card program, which is one of the largest and most successful retail loyalty programs in the United States. On the pharmacy side of the business, CVS offers CarePass®, granting benefits such as free national pharmacy delivery on eligible prescriptions when customers sign up. The program charges a fee of $5 per month, or a discounted annual membership fee of $48.

Upon close tactical analysis, it’s easy to see how a network of interwoven factors work together to build a powerful mobile implementation. Here are three ways the mobile component of CVS’ loyalty programs tick:  

1. The Convenience Factor of Mobile-Centric Touchpoints at CVS

The success of mobile isn’t because it has a lot of heart. In fact, when it comes to physical attributes, it doesn’t have a lot of anything — and that’s exactly the point. It’s a small, discreet device that snuggles into any pocket, teeming with immense digital empowerment which continually stretches boundaries. The influence of this convenience might seem obvious, but its contemporary omnipotence makes studying mobile causes and effects mission-critical, especially in these turbulent times.

Take a look at this digital convenience from the perspective of COVID: over half (56%) of consumers tried a new retailer during the pandemic, encouraged by convenience-focused offerings like curbside pickup, printerless returns, and bracketing, all which benefit immensely from smooth mobile rollout. That’s why CVS prides itself on mobile-centric touchpoints that allow customers to quickly and efficiently interface with the broader program platform.

According to Michele Driscoll, Vice-President of Customer Engagement, Loyalty, Personalization & Promotions of CVS Health: “We recently created a Rewards Tracker within the ‘Deals & Rewards’ section of our 5-star CVS App.” Driscoll explains that the tracker allows ExtraCare members to monitor progress and access the $10 monthly promo reward they receive as a bonus gift all in one convenient, digital space. Even more importantly, CVS takes steps to quantify this convenience aspect for its customers. The app provides tools that make it easy to track savings over time, which helps amplify the brand across social networks through invaluable won media like word of mouth. Driscoll says: “We have even seen people taking to social media to tell the world how proud they are of their savings.”

2. The Right Communications Channels

It’s not just about picking the right words to match the right eyeballs. You also need the best route to access those audiences and cut through the clutter of countless competitive messages. That’s why direct text messages offer hyper-personalized communications opportunities that are difficult for customers to ignore.

For many customers, receiving texts is their preferred way of communicating with brands; 70% of customers say that SMS marketing is a good way for businesses to get their attention. Ross Kramer, CEO of Listrak, a digital marketing cloud technology provider that powers the software infrastructure to support SMS text messaging, says: “Customers are expressing a desire for increased personalization and segmentation, bringing enhanced sophistication throughout a subscriber’s entire SMS journey.”

CVS is taking this strategy in stride, utilizing SMS text messaging to distribute special offers to ExtraCare Rewards members that reflect timely trends and seasonal periods, such as special deals on spring cleaning supplies or allergy remedies.

3. The Hard Results Made Easy

Nothing is more essential in a modern marketing or loyalty strategy than the ability to monitor real results, harness quantitative evidence, and make adjustments or re-map program characteristics as needed. With mobile devices rapidly advancing in technological capability every year, they not only afford customers unique ways to interact with brands, but allow simplified ways for brands to measure these interactions and translate intangible attitudes and beliefs into hard results. CVS has kept a firm eye on this mobile landscape, which has continued to shift in favor of increased adoption, especially in light of pandemic behaviors. Here are just a few of tangible wins CVS has been able to net with their blossoming mobile implementation:

  • ExtraCare texts have grown by more than 45% over the past year.
  • The CVS Pharmacy App has witnessed double-digit increase in downloads.
  • Coupons sent to users’ ExtraCare cards from the App have more than doubled.