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Walgreens turns physical store space into an online delivery hub

Walgreens turns physical store space into an online delivery hub
Walgreens turns physical store space into an online delivery hub

Walgreens has closed a dedicated e-commerce warehouse, opting to streamline operations using its stores for order fulfillment. The brick-and-mortar location now has a double purpose. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the pharmacy giant recently closed a warehouse in Edwardsville, Ill., dedicated to filling e-commerce orders for household items. The aim is to “do double duty” as both retail outlets and hubs for home deliveries.

Walgreens will have employees pick and pack items for same-day delivery through third-party apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats. 

WSJ has confirmed that the strategy doesn’t include the company’s pharmacy operations. The purpose is to make online orders more efficient with a single system for handling goods instead of multiple distribution networks for e-commerce and in-store purchases. This will make sense only because nearly 80% of Americans live within 5 miles (8km) of one of the Walgreens stores. 

Cost-cutting tips to learn from Walgreens

Every business is trying to cut costs and maximize profits. With the current economic climate, where start-ups fold as fast as they open, e-commerce businesses need to think out of the box and learn from others’ mistakes. 

Here are lessons to draw from what Walgreens is attempting, and evaluate if this will work for your business.

  • Leveraging existing infrastructure: Consider turning your brick-and-mortar location into a hub for in-store sales and online deliveries. 
  • Eliminate redundant warehousing: Evaluate if maintaining separate distribution networks for e-commerce and in-store sales is cost-effective for your business.
  • Explore same-day delivery opportunities: Look into partnerships with third-party delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats to facilitate same-day delivery. It can improve efficiency and cater to evolving consumers who want faster options. 
  • Tap into proximity advantage: If your business is close to your customers, capitalize on it. Evaluate if your business can benefit from fulfilling orders closer to the point of purchase. 
  • Optimize online order handling: A unified system for handling goods. That’s precisely what Walgreens is doing. This will streamline the processing of online orders. It can enhance efficiency and reduce the complexity of managing separate systems, online and in-store.

Reaching a broader customer base

Focusing on same-day delivery could reduce the need for expensive shipping methods. To increase the customer base for these faster delivery, Walgreens could even consider offering incentives, such as discounted or waived fees for same-day delivery options. 

Exploring multiple delivery channels like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Instacart can help diversify the customer reach while offering them more options for placing orders. 

Walgreens’ success will now depend on how they monitor the customer experience. Adapting strategies to cater to customers’ changing shopping behavior can save a business. 

The retailer pharmacy giant has worked hard to speed up prescription fulfillment and delivery. 

It will use DoorDash and Uber Eats to deliver same-day orders for prescriptions ready for collection. 

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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