CVS will offer same-day prescription drug delivery from 6,000 of its 9,800+ locations across the U.S., nearly a year after launching two-day and next-day delivery across all stores. The delivery service charge is $7.99 and the packages will be delivered by Shipt.
Customers can add items beyond prescriptions to their delivery carts, including cold and flu remedies, allergy medications, pain relief, vitamins and baby products.To receive deliveries, shoppers have a choice of using the CVS mobile app and selecting on-demand delivery, requesting it through an SMS text or by calling their local pharmacy.
The drugstore first added same-day prescription delivery trials in New York City at the end of 2017, before extending them to Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. last year. The service initially cost $8.99.At the time, the pharmacy chain said that 80% of orders were delivered next-day.
CVS later piloted CarePass in Boston, a service that provided shoppers with free delivery on prescriptions and online purchases for $5 per month (or $48 annually). The program offered a 20% discount on CVS-branded products, access to a pharmacy helpline and a $10 coupon each month.
CVS and chief competitor Walgreens are feeling the pressure to ramp up online and delivery options as Amazon continues to wield greater influence within healthcare and pharmacy. In January 2018, The e-Commerce giant first formed a joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase aimed at reducing health care costs for employees at the three companies. Later that year, Amazon acquired online pharmacy service PillPack, which delivers pre-sorted doses of prescribed medicines to customers in envelopes.
“The concept of offering a prescription delivery service has rapidly gone from a needed-to-win to a needed-to-play service for chain drug,” wrote Steve Montgomery, President of b2b Solutions LLC in a RetailWire discussion. “With an aging population the demand for prescriptions will continue to grow. The only question is who the customer trusts to do it right and do it cheaply.”
Other startups such as Capsule and Zipdrug also are trying to woo consumers with the ease of filling their prescriptions without ever walking into a pharmacy or standing in line.
Walgreens launched its Express next-day delivery service with FedEx on a nationwide basis in December. The drugstore chain also is expanding a same-day delivery program it began with the parcel service last year. Walgreens could spend as much as $300 million on digital healthcare initiatives, Chief Financial Services Officer James Kehoe revealed in an earnings call.