A pedestrian passes in front of a Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. store in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Walgreens is testing a new delivery service on demand with FedEx and Alphabet's drone delivery service Wing, which begins next month, the company announced Thursday.
The pilot program will deliver food and beverages, with no counter medications and other items within minutes, the company said. Prescription deliveries will not be available.
"Walgreens continues to explore partnerships to transform and modernize our customer experience, and we are proud to be the first reseller in the United States to offer an on-demand commercial drone delivery alternative with Wing," said Head of Innovation Manager Vish Sankaran. He said the company wants to offer customers the products they "need anywhere, anytime, and wherever they want them."
Walgreens is just one of the companies that is scrambling to capture customers looking for faster and more convenient deliveries. Amazon said in June that the new delivery drone should be ready "within months" to deliver packages to customers. CVS chief executive Larry Merlo said in January that the company "did some work" to distribute prescriptions with the drone.
"We still have a ways to go before the [drones are] norm in our transportation networks and so on," said James Burgess, CEO of Wing. "There's a lot of sensitivity and concern for the technology, and we're partnering with partners like Walgreens and FedEx to learn and get feedback."
He would not say how soon drone delivery could be available across the country.
The service will be tested in Christiansburg, Virginia, which has partnered with the US Department of Transportation to test delivery of drones since 201
The test allows customers to choose from more than 100 individual products or from packages of curated items for allergies, babies, children's snacks or coughs and colds. In April, Wing was the first drone operator to be certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration, which allows it to deliver commercial goods. Amazon received FAA approval for Prime delivery in June.
Walgreens & # 39; stock has fallen 20% since January and the company has a market value of $ 49 billion.
Walgreens will be the first retailer in the US to test an on-demand drone delivery service with Wing in Christiansburg, Virginia next month.