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Chains add contactless ways to shop

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NEW YORK — Even as retailers extend their store hours, they are offering consumers more ways to shop without coming into the store at all.

Walmart this month is rolling out its new Express Delivery service, which promises to let customers get more items from the store delivered to their doors in less than two hours.

Walmart said it accelerated the development of the service in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, piloting Express Delivery in 100 stores April and then rolling it out to nearly 2,000 total stores in the following weeks.

“We know our customers’ lives have changed during this pandemic, and so has the way they shop,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer at Walmart. “We also know when we come out of this customers will be busier than ever, and sometimes that will call for needing supplies in a hurry.”

Among other recent moves, Rite Aid Corp. is partnering with Instacart to allow customers to order and receive essential health care and grocery items delivered directly to their homes.

Instacart delivery is now available from Rite Aid’s more than 2,400 locations across 18 states, the company said.

Walgreens, meanwhile, has added a digital enhancement to its recently launched On the Spot drive-through shopping experience. Customers and patients can now order selected household essential and health and wellness products online in advance and then pay for and pick up these items at the company’s more than 7,300 participating pharmacy drive-throughs nationwide.

“During this current COVID-19 pandemic, we recognized the need for safe, alternative shopping options that help promote social distancing,” Walgreens president Richard Ashworth said.

And Publix Super Markets Inc., working with ScriptDrop, is now offering home delivery of prescriptions within a five-mile radius of each in-store Publix Pharmacy for a $5 delivery fee. There are no limits on the number of prescriptions ordered for delivery; however, age-restricted products, controlled substances and prescriptions needing refrigeration are excluded. Prescription home delivery is not available for individuals with Medicare Part B and Medicaid insurance.  


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