In this week's eCommerce retreats, Walgreens has announced that it will be pulling the plug on Beauty.com and Drugstore.com in favor of focusing on its core Walgreens.com sites.
According to reports, both sites will be shut down by the end of September.
“There were several options we considered to focus on shareholder return, but right now our intention is to focus on Walgreens.com,” a company spokesman said.
The two sites have been part of the Walgreens family since their acquisition in 2011 in a deal valued around $409 million.
According to the experts, the shutdown hints at a broader plan on the part of Walgreens to centralize their digital brand on health, wellness and beauty.
“Walgreens is bolstering its presence online to compete with the likes of Amazon, which is stealing sales from it,” noted Paul Schrimpf, an associate partner at brand and marketing consultancy firm Prophet.
“The misperception is that Walgreens’ greatest competitor is CVS. It’s not. It’s Amazon in retail, and the likes of OptumRx in prescription drugs.”
By bringing in the focus, Schrimpf believes Walgreens is looking to present a more unified product offering to consumers.
“It’s about winning online, and to do that it needs to build a strong, single brand,” Schrimpf says. “It is not only more efficient to invest in one brand, but also more effective because you’re able to cross-sell other products.”
VisionDirect, Walgreens eCommerce site for eye care, will remain a separate entity.
So far it remains unknown if Walgreens will sell either domain after shutting them down - by holding them Walgreens can prevent a competitor from grabbing up the valuable digital real estate.