CVS reimagines the drugstore experience
The operator of about 7,800 drugstores says it is redesigning its stores to appeal to consumer preferences for nutritious foods and health products.
The company is accelerating a store renovation project, devoting more floor space to health and wellness merchandise.
CVS plans to implement the new format at several hundred stores by the end of 2018, demonstrating the company’s commitment to remake itself as a beacon of healthy living rather than a place devoted primarily to treating illnesses and selling candy bars. Together with its innovative digital programs, these changes represent the next evolution of the customer experience at CVS Pharmacy.
"Pharmacy is the heart of our business and our focus on providing care to patients and customers defines everything we do in our stores," said Helena Foulkes, President of CVS Pharmacy and Executive Vice President, CVS Health. "Our new retail offerings leverage our deep expertise in health to enhance our customers' shopping experience. The same guiding principles that led to the removal of tobacco from our stores extend to our commitment to deliver the most innovative health and beauty solutions."
The new store formats and deeper focus on expanded health, healthier food and beauty assortments are key elements of the next phase of the front-store growth strategy, which was first introduced in 2015. Today there are over 800 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide with this elevated design and assortment and over 3,400 with expanded food and beauty offerings. The latest improvements are designed to drive growth in categories that are most closely tied to the Company's health-focused purpose and expertise, while delivering a shopping experience that no other online or brick-and-mortar retailer can replicate.
"We did a lot of research to understand how to best serve our customers as we began to reimagine our store experience and we found that people are thinking about their health differently and taking a more proactive approach to staying well," said Judy Sansone, Senior Vice President, Front Store Business and Chief Merchant. "With that in mind, we crafted a new shopping journey, all in the name of better health."
Evolution of Store Design
"Our strategy for our new stores is not one-size-fits-all. We will continue to evolve the store experience as we test and learn in order to meet the needs of our customers in the ever-changing retail landscape," added Foulkes. "As we identify key elements that resonate, such as new product assortments, health services and other in-store experiences, we will find ways to bring them to life in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide."
CVS Pharmacy is rolling out major changes to as many as 70 new and existing stores this year, with plans to expand to several hundred more in 2018. The new, health-focused formats have 100 feet of new merchandise in health, beauty and healthier food and use a streamlined layout to highlight themes that make shopping easier. "Discovery zones" in key health categories take a holistic approach to care and product selections, and customers are guided by informational signage with guidance to make finding the right solution easier.
Sick-Care to Self-Care
CVS Pharmacy is vastly expanding its offerings throughout health with a broader selection of vitamins and supplements, including offerings from specialty brands like Irwin Naturals and New Chapter, as well as expanded nutrition products like Vega and Naturade protein powders and Navitas Organics Superfood Mix Ins. Assortments tied to emerging areas like connected health, sleep/mood and immunity are merchandised in "discovery zones" that offer holistic solutions and easy navigation through educational displays.
Beauty with Purpose
CVS Pharmacy continues to enhance the beauty shopping experience by adding new, "on-trend" beauty brands like Wunder2 and Tigi Cosmetics, as well as products that have greater skin health benefits and more natural ingredients. To help improve customer exploration and inspiration, a new "trend wall" has been added to 2,000 stores featuring new launches and niche brands. A beauty discovery zone highlights on-the-go options at checkout. This month, an exclusive Korean Beauty selection curated by notable K-Beauty expert, Alicia Yoon, will be available in over 2,100 locations.
Even more "better-for-you" food options are being added, including 27 new items under the exclusive Gold Emblem Abound™ product line. Healthier choices, including Alo Exposed Waters, EPIC bison bars and That's It. bars will make up approximately 50 percent of all food options found throughout the store. Additionally, products that fit nutritional and dietary preferences including heart healthy, good source of protein, gluten free, sugar free, organic and non-GMO project verified, are highlighted with shelf tags. This summer, the tags will expand into non-food categories, making it easier for customers to make purposeful choices throughout the store.
Making "Better" Easier with Higher Standards
The catalyst for the evolution of the retail stores was CVS Pharmacy's decision in 2014 to stop selling tobacco. As part of its ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility, CVS Pharmacy is taking the following steps:
Removing certain chemicals from beauty and personal care lines: By the end of 2019, all parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde donors in products within the CVS Health, Beauty 360, Essence of Beauty, Promise Organic and Blade store brand product lines will be removed.
New standards for vitamins and supplements: CVS Pharmacy is embarking on the development of new standards for vitamins and supplements, with the goal of full implementation by 2019. The standards will require third-party testing of ingredient listings for vitamins and supplements, as well as product testing for certain ingredients of concern.
CVS Pharmacy was also the first national retail pharmacy chain to announce the removal of artificial trans fats from all exclusive store brand food products. In addition, the company recently removed all sun care products with SPF lower than 15 from its shelves while expanding products with SPF 30/broad spectrum, natural beauty brands and products focused on skin health.
Redefining Personalized and Digital Convenience
In addition to the in-store changes, the mobile experience and ExtraCare Rewards program continue to evolve, offering more ways for customers to order products online and pick them up with CVS Curbside, pay seamlessly via CVS Pay in the app, and even manage their ExtraBucks Rewards, personalized deals, and use manufacturer coupons, all from their phone.
The new developments from CVS Pharmacy were previewed at a media event yesterday during an interactive brand showcase in New York City. More details, including photos from the interactive brand event, can be found in the CVS Health newsroom.
The company said it would re-orient 100 feet of aisle space per store toward products such as nutritious food bars, natural supplements and makeup without harmful chemicals. The company will also sell fewer seasonal products and other general items that are suffering against online competition.
Read more about CVS's plans by clicking here.