Inside the Walgreens mobile experience

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How do companies design smooth mobile experiences? Most retailers keep this question top of mind, and Walgreens is no different. Senior Product Manager Benjamin Weiss focuses on bringing the company’s promise of excellent customer care to mobile platforms, especially the Walgreens app. On this episode of Retail Gets Real, Weiss takes us behind the screen for a view of how the app was developed and integrated into the overall Walgreens brand experience.

Walgreens has successfully tapped into the Boomer market with its app — over 20 percent of users are 55 or older. To make the mobile experience compelling for Boomers, Weiss and his team pay special attention to design details like typography and spacing around elements. “The honest truth is,” Weiss says, “if it works great for them, it actually just works fine for everybody else too.”

To Weiss, designing for “mobile first” makes the digital customer experience simpler for the user. “When you really solve for mobile,” he says, “it forces you to think about the task at hand in a way that doesn’t allow for other distractions.” Prioritization is key when considering all the possibilities of mobile and demands from across the organization. To make decisions, Weiss refers to Walgreens’ brand identity. “For us, it’s all about trust and providing convenient care and access for our customers,” he says. If a solution does not speak to this brand promise, Weiss will not spend resources on it.

Benjamin Weiss (middle) joined co-hosts Jennifer Overstreet (left) and Katie McBreen (right)

Benjamin Weiss (middle) joined co-hosts Jennifer Overstreet (left) and Katie McBreen (right)

Weiss describes the Walgreens app not just as a tool, but a communication channel that helps the team better understand the customers it serves. The team regularly brings in caregivers and their patients to observe and understand real-world behaviors: One major revelation was that a caregiver might use the app to set up reminders for the patient. The observation that the person using the app may not be the patient led the team to make specific enhancements.

Weiss first started as an intern at Walgreens and made a career for himself after realizing the impact of the industry and the great career opportunities available. “There’s so many different angles that somebody can come into retail and specialize in a whole range of topics that you wouldn’t normally think of as retail,” Weiss says. “Technology, of course, is a huge one.”

Listen to the episode to hear what Weiss sees in the future of mobile technology. Write us at to tell us what other topics you would like to hear about in future episodes.

Jennifer Overstreet is a co-host on NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.