Retailers, put money where your mouth is

Articles
April 01, 2010

Retailers, put money where your mouth is

Sometimes when trading partners look to do good work on behalf of the industry, pairings can occur that appear peripheral to the core missions of at least one company.

Sometimes when trading partners look to do good work on behalf of the industry, pairings can occur that appear peripheral to the core missions of at least one company. Such is the case with The Hershey Co. and Walgreens, who have agreed to run a shopper marketing pilot program in two markets in the third quarter of 2010, with the aim to drive trips and incremental purchases.

Both companies belong to the In-Store Marketing Institute’s Retail Commission on Shopper Marketing, established this past autumn to develop industry standards and benchmarks for the shopper marketing collaborative process. Walmart, Supervalu and others belong too.

The Lempert Report certainly understands the appeal and convenience of candy sales in the drug store, and the ability of collaborators such as Hershey and Walgreens to create strong everyday and seasonal promotional appeals. What we don’t see is the connection between this supplier and the core health premise of the drug chain. If a credible health products manufacturer was on the Commission (we don’t believe there is), that company would be a more central partner for Walgreens—and the pilot could leverage some of the primary purposes why shoppers frequent the chain.

For decades we’ve seen drug stores sell cigarettes. We’ve watched John Mackey of Whole Foods self-implode on his blog. And we’ve seen many other examples of retailers not ‘putting their money where their mouth is.’ Then again, we applauded when Trader Joe’s committed early to non-GMOs in all of its store brands, and when it removed all Chinese imports from its shelves because China was shown to be lacking in food-safety oversight.

We’re not saying candy has to ‘go away’ at any drug stores. We are calling for chains of all kinds to stay true to their missions, so consumers can feel confident in what they’re buying and the enterprises they’re supporting.  Perhaps an element of the Hershey-Walgreens pilot could focus on high-antioxidant chocolates or sugar-free varieties for diabetics, for example.