Walgreens announces industry-first on-demand drone delivery service pilot

News Videos

Walgreens, one of the USA’s largest pharmaceutical chains, will be the first retailer in the country to test an on-demand store-to-door drone delivery service with Wing, a member of the Alphabet family of companies.

The company is partnering with Wing Aviation, the first drone operator certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year.

The drone delivery service will begin next month (October) and will be eligible to residents of Christiansburg, Virginia.

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 US Department of Transportation’s Integration Pilot Program since 2016.

With approximately 78% of the US population living within five miles (8km) of a Walgreens-owned store, the company says it hopes to capitalise on the convenience of drone delivery if and when it should expand.

Vish Sankaran, chief innovation officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance, said: “Walgreens continues to explore partnerships to transform and modernise our customer experience and we are proud to be the first retailer in the USA to offer an on-demand commercial drone delivery option with Wing.

“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.”

The companies will utilise the pilot program to 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.

With more than 100 products available via the app, customers can either choose individual products or pre-built packs in the following categories: allergy, baby, cough/cold, first aid, pain, and kids’ snacks. Prescription deliveries are not available via this service.