Walgreens Teams With Alphabet’s Wing For Drone Delivery

Walgreens And Wing Team Up For Drone Delivery

Pharmacy retail giant Walgreens and Alphabet-owned drone company Wing have teamed up on a pilot program to deliver products to the doors of customers, according to a Sept. 19 release

Wing is the first drone operator to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration as an air carrier, and the drone delivery service will be available to eligible residents in Christiansburg, Virginia, starting in October. 

The companies want to take advantage of the pilot endeavor to get products to customers in minutes, and continue to develop the technology. 

“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 chosen as the test market because Wing already had a relationship with Virginia Tech, located in nearby Blacksburg, to test the delivery drones in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Integration Pilot Program, starting in 2016. A Walgreens store is within 5 miles of about 78 percent of the population in the United States, so Walgreen’s wants to make sure it can capitalize when and if the program expands. 

“As customers’ change the way they shop and adopt new technologies, strategic partnerships like this one help Walgreens expand its omni-channel offerings to meet the needs of its customers’ lifestyles — whether it be a busy working mom or a consumer with limited transportation options — and deliver greater value, convenience and accessibility to products and services,” the company said.