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Companies to pilot drone deliveries in Christiansburg, Virginia beginning in October, bringing greater value and unprecedented convenience to local customers
Walgreens and Wing, a member of the Alphabet family of companies, are partnering on an industry first that will offer unparalleled speed and convenience of “store to door” delivery of health and wellness, food and beverage and convenience items – via state-of-the-art drone technology – in minutes.
Walgreens, with a heritage of innovation in pharmacy and retail, 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 utilize 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 omnichannel 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 capitalize on the convenience of drone delivery if and when it should expand, with approximately 78 percent of the U.S. population living within five miles of a Walgreens-owned store.
The Wing partnership is a strong complement to other successful Walgreens collaborations. As customers’ change the way they shop and adopt new technologies, strategic partnerships like this one help Walgreens expand its omnichannel 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.