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CVS launches its digital innovation lab

June 22, 2015 01:52 PM
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CVS Caremark Corp.’s digital test kitchen is cooking up new offerings for digital consumption.

The pharmacy and retail giant, No. 109 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, announced that it has opened its digital innovation lab in Boston to develop online and mobile programs. The retailer has not said how many people work there now, but says it hopes to have up to 100 people working here eventually, which would nearly double the size of its current digital team.

"Digital technologies are ubiquitous and highly configurable—a powerful combination, because it allows us to empower our customers anytime and anywhere,” Brian Tilzer, chief digital officer for CVS Health, said in a statement. “That's why we are doubling our digital investment, anticipating our customers' increasing preference to manage their health digitally. The opening of this Innovation Lab is a significant step forward on this path."

CVS says the lab will feel more like it’s part of a startup than a multibillion-dollar corporation, enabling the digital team to bring to market new ideas quickly and keep up with the fast pace of digital commerce evolution. The retailer says it is planning on rolling out a number of online and mobile initiatives in the near future, but did not disclose details.

Company executives have spoken recently about how its mobile app has reinforced its ExtraCare rewards program. CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo told analysts on the company’s Q4 2014 earnings call in May that “customers using our mobile app with ExtraCare are spending four times more than our average customers,” according to a transcript of the call obtained from Seeking Alpha.

Top500Guide.com data shows that online sales at CVS have grown steadily in recent years but still have a long way to go before catching Walgreen Co., No. 44 in the Top 500. Over the past five years, online sales at CVS have grown to an Internet Retailer-estimated $329.4 million in 2014 from $232.7 million in 2010. Data shows that its online audience skews more toward older consumers, with 59.11% of its online shoppers over the age of 45. 

 

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