CVS on Tuesday said that it has expanded home delivery of pharmacy and retail orders through 9,800 of its locations nationwide, nearly all of its stores. Same-day prescription delivery, which costs $8.99, is now available in New York City, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., according to a company press release.
Otherwise, the delivery fee for one- or two-day delivery is $4.99. Customers can place orders for prescription delivery service using the CVS Pharmacy app or by calling their local CVS Pharmacy.
The drugstore retailer last month said first quarter net revenues rose 2.6% to $45.7 billion, as overall same-store sales in the quarter rose 5.8%, thanks mostly to a 7.3% pharmacy same-store sales rise. Front store same-store sales rose 1.6%.
CVS has struggled when it comes to front-of-the-store retail sales — those areas appear to be an afterthought, and "remain down-at-heel and dingy, with no flair or imagination," and represent a lost opportunity, according to a note last month from GlobalData Retail analysts.
But in healthcare and pharmacy, where CVS is putting most of its energy, it's a different story. Executives spent most of their conference call with analysts last month discussing the company's health care services and sales, noting that its proposed merger with health insurance company Aetna has garnered over 95% shareholder approval from both companies. The company is seeking regulatory approval from federal and state regulators on various aspects of the deal, they said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the call.
This latest move could help solidify the retailer's position with seniors as well, who often take a lot of medications and could use the help of home delivery.
In fact, the service could help ward off any challenge from Amazon in the space as well. Earlier this year, Amazon launched an exclusive line of over-the-counter medications and has been reportedly working with AARP to research and develop technology for older people. But, aside from its partnership with JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway to explore broad healthcare reforms, the e-commerce giant seems to be holding off on entering the space in a major way. Last November, the company even assured regulators that it was not looking to sell prescription medications.
Not that the e-commerce giant couldn't still break into the space. More than a third of consumers (35%) would use Amazon to fill prescription orders online, with 61% of those saying that quick shipping would spur that, 54% saying that they trust Amazon and 43% saying the process would be easy, according to the 2018 Walker Sands Future of Retail report.
Younger consumers would also be more willing to use Amazon pharmaceuticals (46% of those 18-25 and 51% percent of those 26-35), according to that research. By contrast, just 12% of shoppers aged 61 and older are likely to order their meds through Amazon — which may be squarely in the demographic most likely to take CVS up on its home delivery offer.