Carpet design

Walgreens taps Starbucks vet for new role as ‘Format Concepts Lead and Design Lead’

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Diving brief:

  • Walgreens has created a new role – Head of Format Concepts and Design – who will oversee store design and architecture, the company said in details emailed to Retail Dive.
  • Min Cho, formerly vice president of global concepts within the growth and concepts organization at Starbucks, will assume the role at the end of August and report to Chief Customer Officer Tracey Brown.
  • Cho also has experience with Nordstrom, and at Walgreens he will focus on “innovative store design and architecture that embraces creativity and functionality to put our customers, patients and team members at the center of everything we do,” the company said.

Overview of the dive:

Walgreens is investing in its store design with a new role that aims to rethink how the drugstore chain connects with shoppers in its physical locations.

“Our nearly 9,000 stores are a valuable asset and we need to provide a physical environment that leverages our stores and other locations as vehicles to communicate our company’s culture of caring to customers, patients and members of the community. ‘team,” Walgreens said in an email to Retail Dive.

A photo of Min Cho, an executive at Walgreens.

Cho was previously vice president of global concepts within the growth and concepts organization at Starbucks.

Courtesy of Walgreens

That will be Cho’s directive, and he comes to the role with a background in store architecture, construction and design, as well as time spent developing brand experience strategies. Some analysts say Walgreens and its drugstore rivals may need help with the in-store experience, especially as they ambition to reinvent itself as healthcare and wellness destinations for shoppers.

“Most pharmacies are still poorly lit boxes with gray carpet tiles that encase razor blades and feel completely daunting,” GlobalData chief executive Neil Saunders told Retail Dive earlier this year. last. “These are places to go and feel down, not places to go and feel good. There is a lot of work to do.

Over the past few years, however, Walgreens has tried several ways to reinvent its stores. In 2018, the retailer announced that it was working on a concept with improved beauty and health offerings and later that same year announced an agreement for bring Birchbox beauty brand in some of its stores as an in-store shopping experience. Two years ago, the retailer opened a slew of small format pharmacies which included a limited assortment of products in the health and wellness categories.

Rival CVS has also evolved its store strategy over time, test a concept centered on beauty with Glamsquad in 2018 and expand its HealthHub store format which emphasizes health services. More recently, the company announced that it invest in your digital experience how it works for close about 900 stores and make a stronger pivot to health care.