Walgreens opens up to external mobile apps

Walgreens, the drugstore chain and $71.6 billion retailer, builds an open API layer that lets mobile app developers connect to its corporate systems. For example, Instagram app users can send their photos to Walgreens for printing.

The Project: Open Walgreens' application program interfaces (APIs) to third-party mobile apps. By building an "open API layer," companies can let external developers connect mobile apps to corporate systems and create new capabilities for customers.

The Business Case: Walgreens.com gets 12 million visitors per week, 36% of whom head directly to a local store. And those online visits are increasingly originating from mobile devices. "It's the perfect multichannel device," says Abhi Dhar, Walgreens' CTO of online technology. "Customers initiate a conversation and communicate an intention with the brand on the mobile device and finish it in the store."

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