From drive-by birthday parties to virtual graduations to socially distanced candy chutes, the world has had to get creative this year for life’s moments, big and small. For some people, this has meant a lot of family time, and for others, not enough.
Now, here we are. Nearly December. ’Tis the unprecedented season.
As we head into the holidays, we’ll hold on to traditions the best we can while embracing the need to celebrate differently. What hasn’t changed? The desire to let loved ones know you care by sending a holiday greeting or personalized gift.
Like every year, Walgreens is here for all your holiday needs, and we’ve got unique photo gifts and new pick-up and delivery options, whether you’re making a list and checking it twice, shopping our digital aisles or dashing through the store on Christmas Day.
Cue our expert, Laura Ruff, senior manager of digital commerce for merchandising, who met with Walgreens Stories to talk about everything new in photo for the 2020 holiday season:
- You can order photo cards and gifts for in-store pickup almost instantly. “What has always set Walgreens photo apart is our wide assortment of products that are available for same-day pickup in store, and the convenience and value that it brings customers. Not only can you get photo products super quick, but there are also no shipping costs when you pick up these items in store. The company is really behind photo and knows how important it is to the business, so we've invested a lot in innovative equipment to be able to do much more than our competitors. A great example of this is the quality of our premium cards, which offer our best heavyweight cardstock. We also offer two other photo card paper options to meet every customer’s preference.”
- But you don’t have to come inside the store – curbside, drive-thru and delivery are also available. “For the 2020 holiday season, our mission is really about making it even more convenient for customers to get what they want, when and how they want it, in a way that feels safe. We recently introduced Pickup at curbside and drive-thru, and this includes photo products that are available same-day. We also just launched an option for Express Local Delivery, which means that for any product we can produce in store, if you prefer not to come to the store at all, you can pay a flat rate of $4.99 and we’ll ship your photo items to your home via our partnership with FedEx within three days.”
- Photo mugs, blankets, stockings, ornaments – we’ve got it all. “Photo cards are most popular for us during the holidays, but our strategy has been to also invest in other types of products that people are using more and more to preserve their memories. We sell a lot of really fun photo items that we partner with third parties to produce, such as mugs and drinkware, pillows and blankets, even a Christmas stocking. For these items, you can either pay to have them delivered directly to your doorstep or have them shipped to your Walgreens store for free. Canvas is our best-selling wall décor and makes great gifts. We offer many different sizes and can produce those products in store. Our floating frame, calendars and ornaments are also big during the holidays. We have one ornament we can produce in store for same-day pickup – a 2x2 photo cube – and several others you can order online. Mouse pads have been doing incredibly well all summer, and I think we’ll see them move into one of the top spots during the holidays.”
- You can personalize a pandemic favorite: puzzles. “We're super excited about photo puzzles because we can produce them in store for same-day pickup. It’s a 10x14 size photo with about 250 pieces, and it comes with a photo tin to store the pieces. We had actually seen an opportunity with puzzles over a year ago, and ended up being ahead of the trend that really set in during the pandemic as more people looked for ways to stay entertained safely at home. We launched it this past July, and also had a mail-order puzzle available the year prior, which skyrocketed. We expect it to really take off during the holidays.”
- TilePix makes decking the walls a no-brainer. “Anyone who has ever assembled a gallery wall knows how hard it is to make sure every photo is perfect and straight. So we saw consumer demand for an easy, mistake-proof way to build a gallery wall, and it has really taken off. TilePix is an 8x8 print or set of three in a black resin frame, and what’s unique about our offer is that instead of an adhesive strip on the back, there’s a magnet on the back of the frame and a magnetic pad that sticks to your wall. This way, you can spin it all the way around, and it’s error-proof. No one else is using this kind of magnetic hanging mechanism. The other cool thing is that we've added templates, so when you upload your photo, you can pick a border that looks like matting. These are also available for same-day pickup.”
- We can stamp and send your greeting cards so you don’t have to. “The pandemic has driven a consumer need for convenience, safety and a limited-touch, no-touch shopping experience. So what we’ve done with our photo greeting cards is we now have a service called ‘Mail-for-Me Cards,’ which allows you to upload your photo, add a personal message and then enter your recipient’s address, and then we take care of the rest by stamping and mailing the card for you. Postcards are $3.99 per card, and folded and flat greeting cards are $4.99 per card. We also offer a unique 7x10 trifold option for $4.99. These are not intended to be for large batches of holiday cards, but rather the one-to-one greeting card occasions. It’s a great option if you want to avoid a trip to the post office.”
- You can customize your face mask with a photo or name. “This summer, we launched a digital tool that lets you make personalized face masks. There are a ton of masks out there, but what makes ours unique is that you can upload photos and add your name or any sentiment you want. We've been selling a lot of face masks, and we have some nice plaids that are really holiday-oriented.”
- You can always find a great deal on photo prints, cards and gifts. “Photo is a very promotionally driven category for us, and during the holidays, you can essentially find any photo product we offer on sale. This year, during the week of Dec. 13, our photo puzzle will be a promotional ‘Gift of the Week’ item. This week is Cyber Week, and we have a ton of great promos running: 60 percent off photo cards, stationery and canvas prints; 50 percent off everything in photo; free return address printing on premium cards, and more. We run a lot of steep offers on our wall décor products, and we do a lot of email exclusives – free 8x10s and other offers – to reward our most loyal customers.”
- You can order photo cards and gifts down to the very last minute. “A lot of other retailers have set shipping deadlines earlier this year to accommodate a surge in digital orders during the holidays. For Walgreens, on mail-order photo products like mugs and blankets, our standard shipping deadline is Dec. 15. And for our photo gifts and cards produced in store, you can order with Express Local Delivery until Dec. 21 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas Day. The best part is that for all of the items we’re able to produce same-day, you can still pick them up in store, at curbside or drive-thru every day, even on Christmas. So it’s a perfect option for last-minute gifting.”