retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC has a story about how CVS and Walgreens, the nation’s two largest drug store chains, “have both opened redesigned stores that dedicate more space to health services and less space to staple products like greeting cards. As people shop online more, CVS and Walgreens are trying to give people reasons to keep coming into their drugstores.”

Some of this has been reported previously on MNB, such as CVS’s decision to open three Houston-area HealthHUBs that “offer more health products like sleep apnea masks and devote space to services aimed at helping customers manage chronic conditions.”

In addition, “while not health related, Walgreens dedicated a desk to ‘services,’ including recent partnerships with FedEx and Sprint. In 2017, Walgreens inked a deal with FedEx to allow deliveries to be dropped off and held at Walgreens' stores. Walgreens has also been working with Sprint to advise shoppers on phones and plans and let them pick up products they bought online in its drugstores.” This doesn’t even count Walgreens’ deal with Kroger, which will allow customers who order product from Kroger’s website to pick them up at Walgreens.
KC's View:
It is interesting to me how, to some degree, CVS and Walgreens seem to be choosing divergent paths to relevance, with CVS doubling down on trying to be an important element in the broader health care system, and Walgreens working to be part of a larger consumer-retailer ecosystem.

They could both be right about their choices, but I must admit that while I’m not always the biggest CVS fan, I tend to like its strategic choice better … it has the advantage of being both more audacious and having greater recognition of gaps in the health care system where it can create accessible solutions. I like that way of thinking.