As healthcare costs continue to rise, more and more retailers are adding pharmacy and health services in new and creative ways. Heavy-hitting retailers like Walmart (WMT) – Get Free Report and Target (TGT) – Get Free Report have opened pharmacy departments to mixed results, while Dollar General’s new CEO expressed interest in integrating healthcare services in its recent quarterly earnings call. But as of now, the biggest names in the corner drugstore game are CVS (CVS) – Get Free Report and Walgreens (WBA) – Get Free Report.
Never a company to be left behind, Amazon (AMZN) – Get Free Report has made moves to break into the healthcare industry. In 2018, Amazon acquired PillPack, a full-service online pharmacy that will ship medications to your door. This July, the company bought One Medical, a membership service for primary care with 24/7 telehealth access and medical offices located near offices and shopping centers.
The e-commerce giant is currently in the process of phasing out its previous telehealth service Amazon Care and pivoting towards a new service called Amazon Clinic. The service will be available in 32 states, where customers can access virtual care and have prescriptions called in. For $199 a year, consumers can talk to a medical professional about 20 common health conditions like seasonal allergies, birth control, and cold sores.
If Amazon can build a working infrastructure for Amazon Clinic, the company can utilize its expansive, efficient delivery service to outdo its competitors. But Walgreens is making its own moves to keep its leg up on Amazon with a new delivery strategy.
Walgreens Announces 24/7 Delivery Service
Just in time for the busy holiday season, Walgreens has announced that it will be the first to offer retail deliveries 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers within range of nearly 400 24-hour Walgreens locations can choose from over 27,000 different grocery, household, personal care, and over-the-counter medical products to be delivered virtually any time, any day.
Orders can be placed through the Walgreens website or app, which previously allowed same-day delivery on orders placed before 7 pm that day. The pharmacy delivery service is still a separate service that usually provides same-day deliveries for prescriptions filled before 4 pm (for now).
To celebrate, Walgreens is picking up the tab for delivery fees on orders over $20. To take advantage of the deal, use code NOW20 anytime–at any hour–through Dec. 10.
Walgreens Looks to the Future of Delivery Services
As more retailers look for ways to innovate essential home deliveries, the need for drivers continues to increase. According to smart data capture service Scandit, 68% of polled delivery drivers feel that the required speed for getting packages delivered has increased in the past five years. Respondents also estimated that the number of packages they’re expected to deliver has increased by 61%. The industry frequently sees staff shortages, thanks in part to its model running on contract labour.
Walgreens is joining the likes of Amazon and Walmart and looking to last-mile drone delivery to potentially alleviate that concern. Earlier this year, the pharmacy chain partnered with Alphabet (GOOGL) – Get Free Report owned drone service Wing to deliver goods to customers in the Dallas area.