Walgreens Seeks Progress, Not Perfection, During Pandemic

How the drugstore's pharmacists and Sesame Street contributed to growing the bottom line

Similar to other retailers during the pandemic, Walgreens has had to make several adjustments to keep pace with a capricious year.

To help keep its customers safe, in May Walgreens rolled out digital drive-thrus, allowing people to order products online then pick them up at one of its 7,300 participating pharmacy drive-thrus. The following month, the drugstore chain introduced contactless same-day curbside pick-up at more than 8,600 locations nationwide.

Walgreens also began offering Covid-19 testing, completing more than 500,000 tests per month, according to a September statement by the company.

“We partnered with the CDC and the White House to be able to provide Covid testing in our store footprint, in our parking lot,” Alyssa Raine, group vp of customer marketing platforms at Walgreens, told retail reporter Richard Collings during Adweek’s New Customer Experience virtual event Wednesday. “So Covid testing is really, really important to us.”

For the three-month period ending Aug. 31, Walgreens Boots Alliance reported sales of $34.75 billion, a 2.3% increase compared to the same quarter last year. In comparable terms, filled prescriptions increased 3.6% in the U.S.

Hear more about how Walgreens leaned into its pharmacists, formed a partnership with Sesame Street and navigated a very different Red Nose Day in the full video of the session:

@hiebertpaul paul.hiebert@adweek.com Paul Hiebert is a CPG reporter at Adweek, where he focuses on data-driven stories that help illustrate changes in consumer behavior and sentiment.