March 28, 2013, 9:32 AM

CVS takes its drugstore to the tablet

Consumers can explore and shop a virtual 3-D CVS drugstore from their iPads.

Lead Photo

When feeling under the weather, it can be difficult to change out of pajamas much less trek to the nearest drugstore to pick up medication to ease aches and pains. Now, a new tablet app from CVS Caremark Corp. means consumers don’t have to take off their fuzzy slippers. They can shop the virtual aisles of a CVS store and purchase pain relievers or any other household essentials the drugstore sells.

The tablet app for the Apple Inc. iPad lets consumers shop for items and explore a virtual 3-D CVS store. A consumer can tap each aisle in the store to expand it and shop the products available there and can also tap to access services. For example, a tap of a camera icon brings up the CVS Photo Center and related services.

“About a year ago, we began to notice more and more significant traffic from tablet devices and decided we needed to start thinking about providing an easy-to-use experience geared towards iPads,” says Brian Tilzer, senior vice president and chief digital officer at CVS. “Early on the plan was to create a 3-D virtual store that would feel intuitive to navigate as our customers are so familiar with our store layout, Our plan is to continue to test, refine and augment the app. Customers should check back for updates to this app as additional safety features and interactive functionalities will be launching later this year.”

The tablet also enables a pharmacy customer to swipe with her finger to scroll through her prescriptions, schedule refills and view prescriptions available for pick-up. Caregivers can manage prescriptions for more than one patient by sorting by patient name and refill status. App users can also zoom in to read prescription instructions and details.  

Shoppers who belong to CVS’ ExtraCare loyalty program can sign in to their accounts and manage rewards within the app. For example, loyalty members can redeem coupons or see their rewards balances. They can also sign up for additional ExtraCare programs such as a Beauty Club, ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes and ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards. Once in an account, a reward member can view a rotating display of available offers and discounts and redeem them when shopping through the app or print them to use in a store.

App users also can access the weekly store circular for their local store within the app by using the GPS locator or entering their ZIP code. Customers can search the ad by category or brand, or search for a specific product, and build shopping lists and share them via e-mail with others.

Consumers also can shop by category rather than navigate the aisles of the virtual store and upload photos from their tablet camera roll to be printed for pick-up that same day at a nearby CVS store. Consumers looking to access medical help can locate the nearest CVS with a MinuteClinic, see the types of services and minor illness exams offered, and view the kinds of insurance accepted.

CVS built the iPad app mainly in-house, Tilzer says.  Concept, design and programming was all done by CVS employees, he says.  

In the coming months, CVS will introduce apps for other tablets beyond the iPad, the drugstore says.

In December, CVS beefed up is m-commerce site and apps for the iPhone and smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

The new enhancements to the CVS mobile site include an immunization scheduler. Shoppers enter a location and the patient’s date of birth, select the desired immunization, and schedule an appointment. Other health resources added to the mobile site include the ability for shoppers to view prescriptions available for refill or pick-up, access the Health Information Center, and sign up for and manage their ExtraCare savings and rewards. And, consumers can now purchase electronic gift cards from the mobile site to be delivered via e-mail.

December updates to the apps include a new pill identifier that allows customers to check for drug interactions and identify pills by shape, color and imprint. This update follows a feature in the app that allows users to scan their prescription bar codes to quickly refill their prescriptions.

CVS is No. 100 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400.

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