CVS Health customers now can order items online and pick them up at a nearby CVS store in less than an hour. But they are out of luck if they order via their PC. The program, called CVS Express, only works when shoppers place an order via the CVS Pharmacy app.
The new store pick-up program is designed to work with Curbside, which offers a store-pickup app used by retailers including Target Corp. as well as at least 25 stores at the Glendale Galleria mall in the Los Angeles area. Consumers can order products from participating merchants in the Curbside app and pick them up outside thestore. This is the first time a retailer has incorporated Curbside services into its own branded app.
For now, the program is available at CVS stores in San Francisco, Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta. As part of the deal CVS also is investing in Curbside but it did not say how much.
CVS Health created the store pick-up option in less than three months in the CVS Digital Innovation Lab along with Curbside, CVS says. Launched in June, the Boston-based CVS Digital Innovation Lab develops online and mobile programs for the retailer. The goal of the lab is to enable CVS bring to market new ideas quickly and keep up with the fast evolution of digital commerce, CVS says. CVS said at the time of the lab launch that shoppers who use its mobile app spend four times more than those who don’t. As of late 2015 the CVS Pharmacy app had been downloaded more than 12 million times, the company says.
For now consumers cannot use CVS Express to buy and pick up prescriptions, a CVS spokeswoman says. But the program allows for purchase and pick-up of about 75% of CVS general merchandise. The spokeswoman would not specify why CVS chose to offer the store pick-up option only in its app except to say that, “Digital is no longer tied to a desktop and our goal is to make it easier for people to stay healthy and save time and money by accessing all of our unique assets when, where and how they want.”
“We believe digital tools are the key to making health care convenient, personal and affordable for our customers, and CVS Express is a perfect embodiment of our digital mission,” says Brian Tilzer, senior vice president and chief digital officer for CVS Health. “By working closely with our retail team and partnering with Curbside, we rapidly developed a seamless and simple solution that creates a significant time savings for customers. We are committed to redefining convenience and this will be one of many steps on that journey.”
Curbside in June raised $25 million in Series B funding from Sutter Hill Ventures, Index Ventures and AME Cold Ventures.
“We founded Curbside to help make shopping at neighborhood stores faster and easier,” says Jaron Waldman, co-founder and CEO of Curbside. “Our proprietary location technology ensures seamless, reliable order handoff at the moment a customer arrives and our app powers an efficient pick and pack operation for CVS Pharmacy colleagues to prepare orders in the store. In partnership with CVS Health we’ve created a fast, convenient new shopping experience that busy CVS Pharmacy customers are going to love.”
CVS Health operates 9,600 retail pharmacies and more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics. In November, CVS rolled out a slew of new ways it customers can use mobile devices to refill prescriptions. Consumers wearing a web-connected Apple Watch can now scan paper prescription and insurance identification information using the CVS Apple watch app and their smartphones and transmit the data to a CVS store’s point-of-sale system for ongoing use. Shoppers also can use their Apple Watch or smartphone to order prescription refills, receive pharmacist alerts on their mobile devices, such as a notification when their prescription is ready to be picked up, and to schedule reminders for taking medication.
CVS redesigned its app in February to make it easier to use. It added functionality, including a drug interaction feature that allows a consumer to check whether a prescription he is taking might have any potentially adverse reactions with other medications he takes or over-the-counter products, foods, or lifestyle influences, such as sun exposure.
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