CVS: Convenience, Variety, Service

Jun 01, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

CVS has gotten the message from consumers in Southern California, Helene Foulkes, senior vice president of merchandise and marketing for the drugstore chain told the Los Angeles Times.

“What we heard a lot is how time-starved (consumers are). There’s not really another market where we heard that in such a loud and clear way.”

CVS is reentering California after leaving the market 12 years ago.

To accommodate busy Southern Californians, CVS plans to make a number of the locations 24-hour operations. It will open other stores at hours that make it easy for shoppers to pick up prescriptions and front-end items before hitting the state’s busy freeways on their way to work.

Consumer research and focus groups have made it clear to CVS that it will need to focus on delivering convenience, variety and service. Expanded hours of operation, drive-thru windows, expanded selection of consumables and targeted offers through CVS’ customer loyalty program are just some of the ways the chain intends to fulfill these promises to customers.

One example of CVS’s customer-centric focus will be the chain’s inclusion of beauty products such as the La Bella and Vitacilina brands, popular with Latino consumers.

Moderator’s Comment: What is CVS up against as it reenters the California market? What will it take for it to succeed?

Location is clearly key and, with plans to open 25 stores, we can only hope CVS has found prime real estate to get Californian consumers to make a pit stop
before they hit the on ramp to get wherever it is they’re going.

CVS faces an uphill battle against Walgreen’s, which is quickly picking up busy corner locations wherever it can find them. According to the LA Times
report, Walgreen’s plans to have 150 stores operating in Southern California by the end of the year.

George Anderson – Moderator

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