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Retail pharmacy in place to deliver on ‘last mile’ expectations, Walgreens COO says

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.— Drug stores are best positioned to deliver along the last mile of the customer journey, Walgreens Boots Alliance co-COO Alex Gourlay told investors Tuesday morning during a "fireside chat" at the Credit Suisse 26th Annual Healthcare Conference. That's even more true now as Walgreens heralded a milestone yesterday with its partner FedEx on providing pickup and drop-off services at virtually every Walgreens in the U.S.

In the wake of CVS Health's announcement Monday on next-day pharmaceutical deliveries, Gourlay said: "The market is changing. It goes back to the point that customers want more flexibility about how they receive products and services in the last mile. The way Walgreens sees this is that we believe we're well-positioned to provide these services, both in our own products, pharmacy and front-of-store items, as well as other peoples' products through our FedEx deal."

Gourlay noted, that like CVS, Walgreens has a number of tests around serving that last mile, including tests with Google and Postmates. "Drug stores, or pharmacy networks, are really well placed for this last-mile challenge," he said. "That's an opportunity for ourselves and clearly CVS sees it the same way."

Whether the proclivity of the FedEx-within-Walgreens offer will pay dividends or not will be evident this holiday season. "The fact that Walgreens and Duane Reade are open on Christmas Day gives [FedEx] a lot of extra capacity," Gourlay said. It's not only a convenience play, Gourlay noted, there is increased security associated with the offer as well. "The trends are very clear, in America it's called 'porch piracy,' where people are more and more concerned about leaving products for collection or delivery on their front doorstep. It's a real opportunity for us."

In addition to solving the supply chain needs of its consumers, Walgreens is also making significant upgrades to the supply chain feeding its more than 7,500 stores. "We continue to invest in technology, particularly as we update a more-than-25-year-old infrastructure," Gourlay said. "We are actively changing our supply chain."

 

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Meijer expands inventory of items available for home-delivery service

BY Gisselle Gaitan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Thousands of general merchandise items have been added to Meijer’s store-to-door home delivery service in anticipation of the holiday season ahead. The latest additions feature the most in-demand toys along with wrapping paper, artificial trees and Christmas decorations. 

Other options available to consumers that continue to be featured are fresh produce, groceries and general merchandise items that have been hand-picked by Shipt shoppers from local Meijer stores. Those include electronics such as TVs, tablets, headphones, drones and gaming systems. 

"We've had tremendous success delivering groceries to our customers across the Midwest, so we are very pleased to offer them the convenience of having their holiday gifts delivered to their doorstep as well," Meijer president and CEO Rick Keyes said. "Whether you are looking for a turkey, toys and gifts or even decorations, our brick–and-mortar stores combined with a personal shopping solution provides something for everyone's holiday shopping needs."

This joint venture between Meijer and Shipt has expanded the service to more than 200 stores in just 148 days and is now on track to make more than 1 million deliveries by year's end. Meijer also has provided home delivery service members the ability to earn mPerks Rewards which can be redeemed in store, while the Shipt app provides consumers access to sales on hundreds of items each week. 

The company’s store-to-door service is available for the yearly fee of $99. Unlimited deliveries are free for orders more than $35, and a $7 delivery fee is added to any orders under $35.

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Jewel-Osco launches online ordering for pickup, delivery

BY David Salazar

ITASCA, Ill. — Albertsons’ Jewel-Osco banner is bringing a new service to its Chicago customers. The chain will roll e-commerce through its website on out on Nov. 7, allowing customers to shop online for groceries that they can pick up or have delivered.

“This gives people another option when shopping for groceries,” Jewel-Osco president Doug Cygan said. “The Jewel-Osco e-commerce department allows for the company to come full circle as we began delivering tea in 1899.”

The banner has designated 11 stores to fulfill the orders, allowing customers to enter their ZIP code to find the store nearest to them. Six of the 11 stores will offer in-store pick-up. The delivery charge will range from $5.95 to $7.95 based on the time of day and window selected, with a minimum order of $49, the company said. First-time orders will receive free delivery.

Jewel-Osco said it has purchased 60 new trucks that are equipped to accommodate fresh food delivery, and said it has hired 100 new employees to fulfill orders. 

 

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