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CVS heats up competition with Walgreens via mobile-enabled curbside pickup

While a few startups have been making moves in mobile delivery for pharmacies, mainstream drugstores have been absent, but CVS’ partnership with Curbside takes it one step further. Users of CVS’ app can now order, purchase and pick up front-of-store items curbside directly through Curbside’s program.

“CVS Health’s retail team saw new delivery models as an important and strategic growth area for the business, and worked closely with the digital team to develop a solution that both improved customer experience and advanced industry offerings,” said Brian Tilzer, chief digital officer at CVS Health. “Many retailers are trying to solve the omnichannel problem of driving the digital customer to brick-and-mortar stores, but results have been mixed.

“Our partnership with Curbside is a major step towards closing this gap and making the omnichannel experience more seamless,” he said.

Mobile order and pickup
CVS customers can now browse and search for products they need and have them delivered to their vehicles all through its mobile app. Users select products they want within the CVS Express tab of the app and arrive at a bricks-and-mortar location to have the items delivered to their vehicles.

The service excludes any prescription and is currently only a curbside pickup program. Currently only available in San Francisco, Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA, the service will roll out to other CVS locations later this year.

Other startups, such as Zipdrugs and GetMyRx, feature services that deliver prescriptions, and while CVS does not a have a program such as this in place, the opportunity in this sector is vast.

CVS Express keeps competition with Walgreens strong, and contends with the latter’s in-store pickup program but takes it another step further with curbside delivery.

CVS features
The drugstore also previously rolled out a revamped mobile app with a more user-friendly layout, text alert options for prescription pick-up and a streamlined experience in the ExtraCare rewards section, proving that pharmacies must offer in-store features on mobile to retain customer loyalty (see more).

CVS also recently opened the doors to its mobile pharmacy, featuring a variety of tools giving customers the ability to manage their health while on-the-go, which the retailer hopes will decrease healthcare costs as well as encourage prescription refills (see more).

“CVS Health is dedicated to making health care convenient, personal and affordable, and digital tools are the key to delivering this experience,” Mr. Tilzer said. “That is why the company has made significant investments in digital over the past few years.

“Curbside’s technology capabilities and the expertise will allow us to invent things that do not exist in the name of a better pharmacy and healthcare experience,” he said. “We also believe that this is just the beginning for this partnership, our investment in Curbside means we will continue to iterate and innovate together to find new and compelling ways to bring this technology to bear for our customers.”