CVS is launching a curbside delivery mobile app at its stores in three states with the idea of expanding its current test markets making it available across most of its 7,900 standalone US locations by the end of the year. Many other chains of all types, of course, have been deploying similar services as they seek to boost their convenience quotient in the battle with Amazon and other online-only retailers that will deliver right to your front door.
The drugstore giant invested an undisclosed amount in Curbside, which developed an app that works with the chain’s main smartphone app, will come without any price markups or fees, and will have orders ready to be picked up within “about an hour.”
CVS customers must sign up for the click-and-pick-up service, called CVS Express, and access it within the CVS app — and then go to specially designated parking spaces at the store where helpful personnel will come out with their goods.
“We think this is an answer for people who are looking for convenience and know and trust us,” Helena Foulkes, CVS Pharmacy president, told USA Today.
Brian Tilzer, SVP and chief digital officer for CVS, added in a press release that CVS Express comprises 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.”
As TechCrunch notes, CVS Express is “currently available in 350 locations in San Francisco, Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA, allowing customers to select from close to 10,000 SKUs — or about three-quarters of CVS’s inventory, save for some locally distributed items.”
The investment and launch of CVS Express follows pilot tests with the startup in the San Francisco Bay Area that last summer. In October, CVS decided to launch a co-branded experience with Curbside. And based on those trials, CVS opted to deepen its relationship with the startup.
CVS Express will cover only about 75 percent of the average CVS store’s retail products, and it won’t include prescription drugs, which are already available at drive-through pickups.
Urban locations without easy vehicle access are unlikely to get the service, USA Today noted. And there was no word about whether CVS Express would be offered at the 1,900 pharmacies it bought from Target last year and will be operating within Target stores, though presumably the service wouldn’t be offered there.
And CVS Express won’t be integrated with the in-store inventory system, so order pickers won’t find out if items are out of stock for their curbside customers until they actually walk through their bricks-and-mortar store to find the goods.
Presumably, Carl’s Jr. will have a much less complex system as it also launches a new on-demand delivery service via DoorDash at select locations in Southern California. It’s Carl’s Jr.’s first official delivery partnership, and DoorDash’s first partnership with a national QSR burger chain. Additional Carl’s Jr. and sibling Hardee’s outlet across the country will get the service in coming months.