Walgreens inks a deal with Uber Eats to expand same-day deliveries

Discussion
Source: Uber Eats/Walgreens
Jun 17, 2021

Walgreens has put a full selection of its products on the menu for same-day delivery through Uber Eats across the U.S.

Health and wellness products, household essentials and over-the-counter medicine are all available via the Uber Eats app as of this week, according to a CNET article. The companies are promoting the new service by offering $20 off purchases of $30 or more. The feature will be available through more than 7,800 Walgreens locations. Uber Eats has also introduced COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling to its app to allow customers to take advantage of that aspect of the Walgreens pharmacy.

Walgreens has already been making products available for delivery through rideshare-based delivery services like Postmates (which was acquired by Uber in 2020), DoorDash and Instacart. CVS, Walgreens’ main rival, also offers delivery through Instacart, DoorDash and Shipt.

The major players in the retail pharmacy space have become big adopters of same-day delivery services in recent years. This has come as the sector has tried to up its level of convenience for both medical and non-medical needs to compete with incursions by Amazon.com, which has introduced competitive services like prescription drug delivery.

Walgreens is not the only recent non-restaurant brand to get hooked up with Uber Eats for same-day delivery.

Uber Eats established a relationship with Estée Lauder in May and made products from sub-brands Origins and Jo Malone London available for purchase in 60 markets through its own service and Postmates. (Editorial note: after the publishing of this article, a representative from Estée Lauder clarified that Jo Malone London is no longer involved in this partnership.)

Uber has not been secretive about its intentions to continue moving its restaurant delivery service into adjacent categories. In May, the company announced a partnership with delivery startup Gopuff, which delivers convenience store fare, and set up the Uber Eats app to allow customers to place Gopuff orders alongside those from restaurants. Uber has also been folding general product delivery service Postmates into the Uber Eats app.

Uber has gone as far as saying that it plans to outdo Amazon.com in speed of delivery.  Raj Beri, global head of grocery and new verticals, recently told The Wall Street Journal that he foresees Uber powering what it calls “next-hour” commerce, in the same way Amazon powers next-day commerce.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How important will delivery options become within the pharmacy space for both prescription and front of store sales? Do you see “next-hour” deliveries becoming a key factor in where consumers choose to make purchases for both food and non-food environments?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"When every competitor offers same-day delivery, and you want to stay in the game, you need to offer same-day service too."

Join the Discussion!

14 Comments on "Walgreens inks a deal with Uber Eats to expand same-day deliveries"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

In the race of keeping up with the Joneses, Walgreens has no option but to invest in same-day delivery with partners that have discovered there is profit in delivering product other than food. As long as there is need for same-day or next-hour delivery options, there will be a need to offer the service or else someone else in the competitive arena will fill the gap.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Consumer expectations continue to raise the bar on delivery speed. A couple years ago, consumers were thrilled with two-day delivery. Today, same-day has become expected by many consumers and for some product categories (like restaurants) the expectation is one hour or less. There is a race among third-party delivery services to offer the fastest service levels, as most retailers can’t afford to execute hyper-fast deliveries.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

I read an article titled “The All Delivery Economy” about two years ago. Given the importance of Walgreens’ products as well as the pressure cooker of competition from Amazon, you have to ask, what took you so long? Executing something so crucial so late says a lot about their M.O.: bureaucratic hairball.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

It is interesting how long it has taken companies to expand from same-day to faster deliveries. In the 1970s, our local drug store offered free, same-day delivery of prescriptions.

Suresh Chaganti
BrainTrust

DoorDash also started doing regular retail deliveries. From the point of view of delivery service providers, non-restaurant deliveries are far easier to do – there is less time sensitivity (no one is hungry and angry), the food will not go cold, and there are fewer wait times in peak periods.

Retailers have to give delivery options to customers to protect the revenue. Someone like Walgreens has enough analytics capability to understand the immediate impact on margins as well as the strategic impact. Smaller retailers may not have either, or the ability to increase prices to offset.

John Karolefski
BrainTrust

For retailers, home delivery has become The Amazing Race. Every merchant wants to be number one. Walgreens’ new program is the latest example of speedy delivery.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

When every competitor offers same-day delivery, and you want to stay in the game, you need to offer same-day service too. It’s that simple. Doesn’t this make you wonder what’s next? Beam me up, Scotty!

Brian Cluster
BrainTrust

Yes absolutely important. Being able to deliver an RX in an hour is or soon will be the standard and needed to compete against Amazon and CVS. HBA is also a critical category for them to deliver quickly. From the food and beverage and Bev-Al departments, particular categories will vary in importance. Competition could be from grocery and c-stores. A few have local coverage like Walgreens. 7-Eleven has 10,000 stores and boldly states that they can deliver locally within 30 minutes. Walgreens is doing a little bit of catch-up in the Bev-Al department because many other third-party delivery companies are already executing on the one-hour delivery.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

OK, so same-day delivery is about to become table stakes. My question is, how efficient and how competitive will this game become? I’m just guessing, but it seems like the opportunity to deliver both people and packages will give these delivery companies a significant operating cost efficiency boost. Cost per mile or cost per hour or however they calculate it. So efficiency + competition will hopefully drive the cost down to the point where both retailer and customer benefit. The concept and model of the brick-and-mortar store with the customer as a “temporary employee” (picker and packer) is changing before our very eyes.

John Orr
BrainTrust

Delivery will be increasingly important. I’m glad to see this expansion. Next-hour delivery may be most important for elderly 70+ customers whose needs are centered around prescriptions with ancillary spend complimenting the compelling event of receiving medications.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

I agree! In the pharmacy space especially, where patients may struggle to easily access their medications when they’re ready, this is a key capability for Walgreens to offer.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

“Next-hour” delivery is becoming the new “extreme discounting” in terms of consumers deciding which retailers to buy from in the moment. Eventually everyone will be doing it but until then, it’s very much a differentiator.

Venky Ramesh
BrainTrust

One-hour delivery in pharmacy will soon become table stakes. Amazon won’t need to compete on that to win. There are so many inefficiencies to unlock in the industry and that is what Amazon is really after.

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

With the growth of Uber Eats, Door Dash, Shipt and other delivery services, it appears that the market for home delivery is still growing. Of course this will include pharmacy orders for prescription and front of store items. Walgreens must offer the service as does its competitors. With many items, especially food, being delivered more and more quickly, Walgreens and many others will have no option to compete in the “Next Hour” space.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"When every competitor offers same-day delivery, and you want to stay in the game, you need to offer same-day service too."

Take Our Instant Poll

How important will the Uber Eats partnership prove for Walgreens?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...