Tool helps social viewers learn more about products and wellness.
Walgreens has added an "Answers" tab to its Facebook page, offering a Q&A tool for drugs, supplements, and health queries. The move represents how Walgreens and other major brands are increasingly utilizing the social site as a customer care hub.
Sona Chawla, president of e-commerce for the Deerfield, IL-based retailer, said in a prepared statement: "With the success of our online health initiatives, such as the ability to chat live with a Walgreens pharmacist 24/7, this is yet another example of our commitment to innovation in the digital space that gives people greater access to Walgreens pharmacists and other clinical experts."
While the Q&A tool on its face looks like a service, it's also a product search feature. For instance, a "cold sores" query produces a link to a branded remedy only one spot below the top result, which offers a definition for the fever blisters condition. Viewers can tap a "Pharmacy Chat" button while clicking through to a Walgreens.com page, where they can live chat with a rep.
Like other brands in 2011, Walgreens showed it's serious about emerging media by hiring its first social media marketing director, cherry-picking an ad agency for talent. The brand, which has 1.9 million Facebook fans/likes, is using technology from Sharecare for the new Q&A service.
Meanwhile, CRM products like Sharecare's could become a bigger marketplace in the coming months. Now that Facebook marketers can direct message with consumers, app developers will likely offer brands tools in order to take advantage of the social site's one-to-one communications channel. The features could include the ability to capture email addresses and phone numbers, letting brand reps follow up through additional channels to alleviate consumer concerns.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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