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As Walgreens Goes, So Goes the Country

Walgreens is the second largest drug store company in the country (behind CVS, which has more stores but does not make as much money). Walgreens, founded by a man named... you guessed it, Walgreen, started in Chicago almost a hundred years ago. Walgreens grew rapidly mainly because the soda fountains featured something new, a chocolate malted milk shake. Today, with 425 new stores opening each year and 7,000 planned by 2010 it is a marketing force to be reckoned with.

If you are even sleepily observant you have seen digital signs at the curb, under the big Walgreens logo. BIG Deal, you say. They ARE a big deal because they are not your father's digital signs with letters made of light bulbs that are turned on and off to make a scrolling pitch for headache remedies at half price. These boards are digital. Sort of a scaled down version of the jumbotron giant TVs in all the big stadiums.

No longer is Walgreens limited to scrolling text; the nifty new digital signs can display product logos and many fonts of text. They can roll, ripple, fade and twist.

CVS has them, too. And other companies are looking hard at cost vs return. The Walgreens and CVS signs are not huge, like a billboard, so they usually feature one special at a time.

Take it one step further and you can see some impressive behind-the-scenes deals going on about how many times Walgreens will show the tissue box each day and what's in it for them. Yup, they can get paid for pushing products on the digital sign. The signs are now electronic billboards and can generate cash for the operator. Paid advertising one step up.

Inside the store is something else, too. Many Walgreens have Plasma LCD displays, not unlike the new HD TVs on sale in the big box store, hooked up to play continues advertisements about items and specials in the store. Wal-Mart has been doing this for years with 800 pound television sets hanging from the ceiling blasting thinly veiled content and pushing product. Flat panel TV technology is revolutionizing the way in-store sinage is used. On the horizon will be digital prices on the shelf in front of the product, instead of the paper card that is squeezed to fit in the slots. The new digital price displays, same size, will be able to change prices remotely. Hot selling items could see the price go up every hour, and no one would know, unless a customer came back to get another one.

It is only a matter of time until all small businesses are using digital signs inside and out.

2007 BIG Mike McDaniel is the Small Business Advertising Expert. Get BIG Mike's free newsletter for small business at http://tinyurl.com/q27zv Find hundreds small business articles at http://SmallBusinessAdvertisingArticles.com

Source: www.articlesbase.com