With the sheer number of loyalty programs on the market today, brands are on a continuous search for any way to distinguish themselves from the pack. Many companies find this distinction in unique avenues through which consumers can earn points. In a joint study with the Scripps Translational Science Institute, for example, Walgreens has examined the effectiveness of its Walgreens Balance Rewards program, which grants points based on health behavioral tracking.
According to the study, the key to engaging customers through the program may lie in the ease with which members are able to track behaviors. The research found that 77 percent of users stuck with the program for five weeks manually tracking activity, while averaging a full 20 weeks when behaviors were tracked automatically with associated apps and other connected programs.
This ease of use, the study has proven, makes all the difference when it comes to members and keeping them engaged with the program.
“Consumers are increasingly more engaged in their own healthcare and wellness. Digital technology that enables easy data tracking of healthy behaviors, combined with incentives, and trusted professional support, provide additional motivation for our customers to more easily manage their health,” said Harry Leider, M.D., chief medical officer, Walgreens. “We’re especially encouraged by the results of this study. In the two years since it was initiated, we’ve seen a shift from the majority of members in the program tracking their activities manually, to most now tracking them automatically. We’re pleased to continue our relationship with Scripps to advance our work in a way that results in a positive impact on behaviors and outcomes.”
The results paint an optimistic picture for brands looking to engage customers with unique loyalty offerings, a commodity that has proven to be at an all-time premium given the wealth of generic “punchcard” format programs. Besides giving customers incentive to exercise, the connectivity of the program engages customers who have come to expect brands to extend engagement to the mobile space.
“This is the first chapter of a remarkable collaboration with Walgreens, enabling us to understand real world connectivity with mobile device health applications, along with behavior and outcome patterns, in an exceptionally large and diverse cohort,” said Eric Topol, MD, director, STSI.

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