Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) has been testing delivery through Postmates in select stores in New York. Now, the two companies plan to expand that program to 13 more cities.
The expanded markets include: Los Angeles; San Francisco; San Diego; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Atlanta; Charlotte; Miami; Ft. Lauderdale; and Houston. The delivery selection includes health and wellness items, convenience products, and some over-the-counter medications.
Why is Walgreens doing this?
Offering delivery has become table stakes for nearly every retail business. Target and Walmart can deliver everything Walgreens sells, making it essential that the pharmacy/convenience chain add this capability.
"Convenience is becoming increasingly important to our shoppers," said Stefanie Kruse, Walgreens vice president of digital commerce and omni-channel, a press release. "They are looking to retailers, like Walgreens, to help them save time in their busy lives."
Will this work?
Walgreens has come pretty late to the party. It has almost certainly lost business to the many other delivery options its customers already have.
"It's all about getting customers what they need, when and where is most convenient for them," Kruse added.
That's true, but it seems like something the company should have known years ago. This partnership will probably work, but it's not going to be as successful as it would have been had it started much sooner.
Walgreens has squandered a major opportunity and now it's playing catch-up. It needs to move faster if it hopes to hold onto as many of its customers as it can.