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[10 comments]

CVS supports military vets with big discounts

March 26, 2014

Americans appreciate the service of the nation's military veterans and it's doubtful any retailer has ever gone wrong running promotions that reward the men and women who have served their country. CVS is the latest retail case in point.

Yesterday, the drugstore chain announced it would participate in a new 20 percent discount program, operated by Veterans Advantage, for active duty and retired members of the military services, National Guard and reserves. The program is open to eligible individuals who have enrolled in the Veterans Advantage's VetRewards Card which charges its members $3.33 to $4.99 a month, depending on the length of commitment.

"CVS/pharmacy is proud to honor military and veteran families with this new benefit for Veterans Advantage members, allowing them to access significant savings whether they shop with us in our stores or on CVS.com," said Rob Price, chief marketing officer of the drugstore chain, in a statement. Free shipping is included in the offer for online orders.

Companies that participate with Veterans Advantage include Apple, Foot Locker, Omaha Steaks, Overstock.com, Orvis, Target, Sears, 1800flowers.com and others.

FINANCIALS:     [NYSE:CVS] [ ]

Discussion Questions:

Will CVS's announcement also help attract military vets who do not participate in the Veterans Advantage program? How will the partnership with Veterans Advantage go over with consumers who are not connected to the military?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

How effective will the CVS partnership with Veterans Advantage be in increasing the business it does with current and former military personnel?

Comments:

In a word: OUTSTANDING!

Our veterans never get enough recognition or support. I'm not connected with the military and I'm personally moving my business to CVS.

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Chris Petersen, PhD, President, Integrated Marketing Solutions

It is great to see more and more companies recognizing the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served this country. I am not sure it will encourage more veterans to join Veterans Advantage, but should encourage those who are part of the program to shop at CVS.

The partnership between CVS and Veterans Advantage should have no negative impact with those not connected to the military. Unlike the Vietnam era when the soldiers were often personally blamed for participation in an unpopular war, today even people who do not support the military's effort understand soldiers go where they are commanded to go.

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Steve Montgomery, President, b2b Solutions, LLC

Simple answer - YES, if for no other reason than it will create more awareness and remind vets that it is out there. I question whether they spend enough to earn back what the program is costing them or not, and wonder where the dues they pay are going.

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Mel Kleiman, President, Humetrics

For the sacrifice that many military families are willing to give, this is a small, but well-deserved reward. Sadly, many military families qualify for Food Stamps, so any savings would be welcomed.

Those who are not connected to the military should be thankful for those who are. Congratulations to CVS to providing a program that supports our veterans.

'RetailRetell'

As more retailers participate, it can't help but create the awareness and support of the program by active service members and veterans.

It is a net positive for even for consumers that are not connected to the military in any way themselves. It can also influence those not connected to the military in supporting these retailers that participate, if they have a passion for supporting these great men and women.

We owe each of them a debt we can never repay. I remain grateful to each and every one of them for what they do each day to protect all of us. They do so whether or not they are even supported by all. They simply do it for all.

These types of programs could have even more success with regular retailers as service members face looming cuts in the defense budget that impact commissaries. If price of goods is impacted at these locations due to the pending cuts, regular retailers that find ways to be competitive stand to gain. They have nothing to lose and are smart to begin to find ways now to make inroads to the opportunities that may come about in the near future.

Estimates I have seen indicate the savings to an average military family as a result to the commissary system range from $3K-6K per year. Many of these families risking everything for all of us live on an unsustainable income. If their savings are impacted, they will be looking for every alternative possible to survive best on their limited income.

Not having served, but working with families that have members of their family serving, I can say that we have little understanding of the sacrifice of the family as a whole of our service members.

This is an absolute positive for any retailer that takes advantage of opportunities to help them, and to be rewarded by non-serving - non-veteran consumers as well.

'Scanner'

This is excellent marketing coupled with excellent citizenship by CVS. Special treatment for our vets and their families is one of the few "blocs" that does not raise hackles that "somebody else" is getting a better deal or better pricing.

'Liatt'

While I agree this is good and important to support our military folks no matter where or when they served, what I do not agree with is a charge to belong to a program that will give you a discount; especially to our military heroes. There is no reason for this to have a fee except that another company is managing the program. Guess who will make the most from this - the management company.

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Ed Rosenbaum, CEO, The Customer Service Rainmaker, Rainmaker Solutions

"It's doubtful any retailer has ever gone wrong running promotions that reward the men and women who have served their country." Except when it charges them (as much as) $4.99/mo. Maybe I'm just an old curmudgeon, but to me, this takes away a lot of the altruism one would hope for in such a program. If everyone from the local bus company on down can offer a well-earned "thank you" discount with nothing more than a military ID - or maybe a missing limb - as evidence of service, I don't know why CVS needs to put a price tag on it.

'notcom'

The veterans advantage is a step forward in recognizing all that our veterans have done. Most consumers are mindful of the extraordinary sacrifices our military makes, and support initiatives that recognize their service on our behalf. Hope the Veterans Advantage program continues to expand to include more retailers and increase the value of membership to the vets.

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Anne Bieler, Sr. Associate, Packaging and Technology Integrated Solutions

There are many kinds of military service, and hardships endured as a result of service vary in many more ways. In all types of military service, our brothers and sisters in arms are enduring their jobs while being rewarded with low pay and working when and where they are told to. Tens of thousands of them are forced to serve away from family events and holidays every day. Millions have been left with a quality of life that is from any perspective, a horror story.

Retailers all over the USA are aware of this and in many cases willing to minimize the profits they work hard for to give back something to those that give and/or gave so much. Whether or not these benefits are due the military veterans is and will remain subjective. Support for companies that have programs like we see here with CVS is met with little negativity, but it does exist and will for the foreseeable future. As for myself, I tend to think more of what they gave up instead of what the get in return.

'gjarnoldjr'

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