On Tuesday, CVS announced the launch of CVS Express, a mobile ordering and pickup program, in partnership with tech startup Curbside.
With CVS Express, customers can pick up products ordered using the CVS App from outside the stores about an hour after placing their orders. Thanks to Curbside’s arrival detection technology, customers never even have to leave their cars.
“We’re all on mobile phones all the time,” Brian Tilzer, CVS Health’s chief digital officer, told Business Insider. “A mom [can] pick up a sick child from daycare, [then] pick up a few products… without having to get her kid out of the child seat.”
Of course, the CVS-Curbside partnership will help customers beyond parents. Tilzer says dog owners, mobility-challenged customers, and busy professionals shopping for general household products have all also responded positively to the new program.
The service is rolling out in the majority of CVS’ 7,900 retail locations, and will allow customers to buy front-of-store and over-the-counter items (though no prescription options), for no additional costs.
“A visit to a CVS could take 15 minutes,” says Tilzer. “To pick up a Curbside package takes 20 seconds.”
CVS Express promises to be the first of a number of new technology programs from the pharmacy chain, as the company says it is increasingly focusing on “rapid experimentation.” CVS Express was created in less than three months, and is already being tested in San Francisco, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia.
In addition to partnering with the startup, CVS has invested in Curbside, with plans to continue to collaborate on digital projects.
“Probably, by the end of next year in the US, the majority of [e-commerce] purchases will be made on mobile devices,” says Curbside co-founder and CEO Jaron Waldman. “When you’re on mobile, you want everything instantaneously… What’s exciting is that the folks that are in the best position to get you what you need right away is CVS – there’s one within a couple of miles of the majority of the US population.”
As CVS Express rolls out across the country, one of the biggest challenges will be convincing customers to give the program a try. However, Waldman and Tilzer are confident that the convenience of curbside pickup will catch on as more customers give it a chance.
“A channel that works really well is word of mouth,” says Waldman. “The core audience of moms with kids is very tightly networked on Facebook, on the playground. The word travels fast through that audience, and kind of spreads from there.”