Walgreens to Pilot On-Demand Drone Delivery
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Wing Aviation LLC are partnering to test drone delivery in Christiansburg, Va., starting next month.
The companies will use the pilot program to further explore the future of health and wellness product and retail delivery through the air, offering product availability and home delivery minutes after placing orders via the Wing app, according to Walgreens.
"Walgreens continues to explore partnerships to transform and modernize our customer experience and we are proud to be the first retailer in the U.S. to offer an on-demand commercial drone delivery option with Wing," said Vish Sankaran, chief innovation officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. "With a customer-led focus, we continue to create differentiated shopping experiences that provide the products and services consumers need wherever, whenever and however they may want them. This is the kind of omnichannel partnership and offering that can redefine convenience for our customers and communities — delivering items to homes in minutes, not hours or days."
Eligible customers in the Christiansburg area will have access to more than 100 products and six convenient "packs" via the Wing app that include many of Walgreens most sought-after products in store. Customers can either choose the individual products they need, or choose one of the pre-built packs for categories including: allergy, baby, cough/cold, first aid, pain, and kids' snacks. Prescription deliveries are not available via this service.
Christiansburg was selected as the test market because Wing has been working closely with nearby Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to test drone delivery as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Integration Pilot Program since 2016.
Although currently a pilot in one market, Walgreens is in a unique position to capitalize on the convenience of drone delivery if and when it should expand, with approximately 78 percent of the U.S. population living within five miles of a Walgreens-owned store, the company stated.
Wing Aviation is a member of the Alphabet family of companies. It is the first drone operator certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Deerfield-based Walgreens is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. It operates 9,560 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.