Walgreens to trial drone delivery in the U.S.
Walgreens has partnered with FedEx Express and Wing, part of the Alphabet family of companies, to offer “store to door” delivery of health and wellness, food and beverage and convenience items – via drones – in minutes.
Walgreens and Wing Aviation LLC, the first drone operator certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year, will begin offering drone delivery service to eligible residents of Christiansburg, Virginia beginning next month.
The companies will utilise 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.
“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 omni-channel partnership and offering that can redefine convenience for our customers and communities – delivering items to homes in minutes, not hours or days.”
Christiansburg was selected as the test market as 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 capitalise on the convenience of drone delivery if and when it should expand, with approximately 78 % of the U.S. population living within five miles of a Walgreens-owned store.