This week we’ll see at how Walgreens caters to Baby Boomers in its mobile app, and how thredUp is planning to use data from its online shoppers to build a better in-store shopping experience. Then, we’ll look at marketers’ perceptions about innovation in digital publishing as revealed in a new Sailthru research report. Turns out that when it comes to audience growth and retention, email still comes out on top.

Walgreen Recreates Personal Pharmacist Relationship via Mobile App

Walgreens recently released data showing that 20% of its mobile app users are at least 55 years old. That’s more than twice the industry average. Among those that use the app’s pharmacy tools, 37% are at least 55. Walgreens is intent on engaging these customers, even though they’re not stereotypically thought of as early adopters.

With the Baby Boomer crowd in mind, the app features simplified navigation, support for font-size adjustments within the app, TouchID and secure auto-login.

In addition, Walgreens has implemented features to digitally replicate the strong connections that these customers often have with their pharmacists. This includes pill reminders, prescription alerts, and 24/7 access to pharmacists through online chat. The idea is to give customers a “high-value, personalized experience even when they can’t make it into a store, says Mindy Heintskill, Walgreens divisional vice president.

Digital Pure Play thredUp Goes Brick-and-Mortar, Using Online Data to Inform Inventory

ThredUp is the world’s largest online thrift store, with 20 million customers, many of whom are new to the thrift store experience. “We’ve found that once customers experience ThredUp…they just keep coming back,” said company CEO James Reinhart to Chain Store Age

The company is expanding on this success with plans to set up brick-and-mortar locations. These new physical thredUp locations will be powered by proprietary technology and a massive amount of online customer data.

Just as with Amazon’s bookstores, the choices of thredUp’s most active customers will help determine physical store’s inventories. Every day, tens of thousands of items sell online at thredUp, providing data on the specific brands that are trending in specific areas and cities. The store’s product selections will reflect the items that are trending online in their geographic locations. The company plans to refresh inventories daily.

ThredUp’s new strategy highlights the power of online commerce and data. Even as the company moves to physical retail channels, the core of its strategy is based on data yielded by engaged online customers.

Email Remains Publishers’ Favorite Channel for Audience Growth and Retention

A Sailthru survey of 100 digital media marketers reveals that email remains the clear favorite among publishers for driving both audience growth and retention. Of those surveyed, 44% say they plan to increase email investments in 2017.

Email (30%) beat out social media (14%), digital advertising (16%) and mobile (16%) as the primary channel for audience retention by a significant percentage. Email (26%) also won over social media (18%), digital advertising (16%) and mobile (13%) as the favorite tool for reaching and engaging new readers.

Among those surveyed, 94% think email offers room to innovate. Top email innovations include personalized email content; personalized lifecycle management (e.g. onboarding and re-engagement); segmentation based on predictions; and predictive list optimization.

With this emphasis on personalization and segmentation, publishers should double down on collecting the most useful audience data points. These include readers’ behaviors, interests, purchases, engagement levels, predicted actions, and the devices and browsers being used.