CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. and Walgreens are piloting a joint retail concept that combines the supermarketer’s food offerings with the drug chain’s health and beauty mix.
The companies are testing the format in 13 Walgreens stores in northern Kentucky, near Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters. They will conduct the pilot over the next several months, closely monitoring customer feedback.
“This exciting collaboration aligns with Kroger’s vision of serving America through food inspiration and uplift,” said Rodney McMullen, the grocer’s chairman and chief executive officer. “This concept brings together the best of two great brands to rethink convenience and redefine the way America shops for food.”
Initially, Kroger and Walgreens will develop and test a one-stop shopping experience where customers can access products and services from both companies. Customers will be able to order Kroger grocery items online and pickup orders at the participating Walgreens locations. Kroger’s popular Our Brands grocery items, including America’s largest natural and organic brand, Simple Truth, will also be available in the stores. The diversified shopping assortment will complement Walgreens products and services across health and wellness, pharmacy, and beauty.
Walgreens this year finished the second phase of its Beauty Differentiation concept rollout, widely expanding the breadth of its mix with new brands and tonics. In having its beauty offering resemble more closely that of a specialty or department store, the chain is making shopping for cosmetics and other items more experiential and exploratory. And with testers, customers can come in and touch and feel products. The latest Beauty Differentiation enhancements include new lighting and fixtures, as well as cleaner, clearer navigation around displays. New graphic panels have also gone in, along with some new imagery. Featured brands include the retailer’s popular No7 line.
The partnership with Kroger is “an opportunity to test and learn, as we determine how we can best work together to further elevate our customer offering,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “We continue to evolve our offerings to meet the changing needs of our customers and provide a more differentiated shopping experience. We’ve been implementing new approaches to promotions, product selection and other areas to deliver greater value in our stores.”
The latest pilot follows Walgreens’ introduction this year in Gainesville, Fla., of the first versions of a new format focusing on everyday value in health, wellness and beauty. The format unites under one roof many of the services Walgreens has been perfecting — including such health care offerings as in-store lab services, optical services and hearing services. It is expected to be piloted for up to 18 months before being rolled out to more stores.