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Walgreens rolls out Web pickup to Chicagoland stores

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is making online shopping more convenient for its customers with its new Web pickup service.

The drug store chain said Monday it has rolled out the service to more than 300 stores in the Chicago market. The service allows customers to shop online at Walgreens.com’s Web Pickup, build a cart of any size and dollar amount, then pick up their orders at a Walgreens store in less than one hour. The full market rollout of Web pickup, which will include more than 480 Walgreens locations, is expected to be completed by August.

Walgreens president of e-commerce Sona Chawla said that the company also eventually will implement curbside delivery, where stores offering the service will have designated parking spots for Web pickup customers. A $20 minimum order will be required for curbside delivery.

“Our customers value choice, control and convenience, and Web pickup brings all of these together to cater to on-the-go shoppers,” Chawla said. “We’ve developed many innovative ways to engage our growing numbers of online shoppers and to make Walgreens.com a great shopping experience. By adding the convenience of in-store pickup — and soon curbside delivery — we’re making shopping easier than ever before.”

Chawla added that traffic to Walgreens.com has grown 50% over the last two years.

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Does Walgreens need Express Scripts? Maybe not

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Walgreens certainly has the clout to pull off a Mexican standoff with Express Scripts. Some might think all of the tough talk last week is just the kind of posturing one puts on for negotiations and that this will all blow over, similar to last year’s standoff between Walgreens and CVS Caremark. So why is it different this time?

(THE NEWS: Walgreens to walk away from Express Scripts in 2012. For the full story, click here.)

Walgreens sold its own pharmacy benefit management business because the pharmacy operator believed that its Walgreens pharmacy, Take Care Health operations, specialty pharmacy, home infusion services and other programs can be bundled as a comprehensive healthcare-services package directly to the largest employers. And they’re right.

So Walgreens may really not need Express Scripts as much as Express Scripts may need them, after all.

Another difference between now and last year: Express Scripts doesn’t have to prove its business model is economically viable, or that it’s pharmacy network doesn’t artificially steer patients to one pharmacy over another. Because as a pure-play PBM, Express Scripts equally sticks it to all pharmacies.

Separately, the National Community Pharmacists Association is using these discontinued negotiations as an opportunity to highlight just how much community pharmacy is caught between a rock and a hard place in its support of legislation that would give independents the same kind of negotiating heft that Walgreens has. A company the size of Walgreens can afford to face off with a PBM like Express Scripts — in other words, if Walgreens and Express Scripts did part ways, Walgreens will still be filling prescriptions. But what happens when a community pharmacy operation reaches its 127th hour in dealing with PBMs? They either stop filling prescriptions or learn how to adjudicate those prescriptions with just the one arm they have left.

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Coinstar appoints new chief customer officer

BY Allison Cerra

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Maria Stipp has stepped into a new role at Coinstar, the company announced Monday.

Stipp, who will serve as Coinstar’s chief customer officer, joins the company from Activision’s owned properties global business unit, where she served as EVP and general manager.

At Coinstar, Stipp will report to company CEO Paul Davis. Coinstar’s interim chief customer officer, Tim Hale, will continue in a sales management role at Coinstar.

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