CVS Health Launching Free Curbside Pick-Up Service Nationwide

Image courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie

When you’ve got a ferocious cold or a clanging headache that won’t go away, sometimes the thought of facing other people is horrible enough to keep you from procuring cough syrup, aspirin, and other comforts at the drug store. If you can handle a car ride, CVS Health will now deliver customers’ orders to them with a new free curbside pick-up service launching nationwide.

CVS Express, in a partnership with a company called Curbside, will let shoppers buy products on an app. Customers will then receive a text or email when their order is ready, about an hour after they place their order. The app notifies the store when the customer arrives to pick it up at their local store, where a worker will bring the goods out to their car, the Associated Press reports.

Customers cannot refill and pick up prescriptions using CVS Express, however; that’s what CVS’ thousands of drive-thru locations are for.

CVS first tested a program that involved customers buying online and then had them going into stores to pick up their orders. That wasn’t doing it for customers.

“We knew we could help the people who are in a rush, or with children or are just sick and can’t get out of their car for whatever reason, so we felt like this was a bigger innovation for the consumer,” Executive Vice President Helena Foulkes told the AP.

CVS started the CVS Express service last December at a dozen stores in San Francisco, and has expanded to Atlanta and Charlotte, NC since then, offering the option in 361 stores. The company plans to roll out the program to the majority of its more than 7,900 retail locations by the end of the year.

The chain isn’t the only retailer trying out the curbside pick-up idea: Walmart added eight new markets to its free curbside service including including Austin, Texas, and Charleston, SC. By the end of this month, it will offer the service in about 200 stores in 30 markets. Farther on down the line, Walmart might even use drones for curbside pickup.

Target has also been working on a curbside program with the same tech firm as CVS, with a test it’s running in five markets that cover 122 stores.

Drugstore chain CVS pushes convenience with curbside pickups [Associated Press]