CHICAGO -- By the end of next year, most Walgreens customers will be able to pick up prescriptions and packages in a single stop.
To accommodate a growing number of e-commerce packages -- particularly for customers who can't easily have orders shipped to their homes -- Walgreens will let customers pick up and drop off packages shipped through FedEx at thousands of pharmacies, the companies said Wednesday.
The service initially will be available in a few dozen stores this spring, said Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin. Walgreens, headquartered in suburban Chicago, expects to begin expanding the program this summer, bringing it to "thousands" of stores by the end of the year and nearly 8,000 by fall 2018, he said.
FedEx packages likely will be handled at a counter near Walgreens' photo services, Polzin said. A secure cabinet behind the counter will hold packages until they're picked up by FedEx or the customer.
Customers dropping off packages will need to pack and label them in advance since Walgreens won't sell other FedEx services or let customers print shipping labels on-site, Polzin said.
Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx did research showing customers consider pharmacies "a preferred location for accessing their e-commerce shipments," Raj Subramaniam, FedEx's chief marketing and communications officer, said in a news release.
FedEx isn't the only shipping company trying to give customers more convenient ways to pick up a growing number of online orders. Amazon has self-service lockers where customers can have packages delivered if they don't want them shipped to their homes. UPS lets customers choose to have packages shipped to similar lockers, a nearby UPS store or neighborhood business that's agreed to serve as a pickup spot.
Walgreens declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal with FedEx but said it's an extra service that gives customers another reason to choose the pharmacy chain and could lead to extra sales if customers make an extra purchase while grabbing their packages.
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