In response to a nation increasingly sheltering in place and socially distant, Walgreens announced this week that it is expanding its delivery program with Postmates to 7,000 stores nationwide.
To access delivery from Walgreens, customers just need to download the Postmates app. From there, they can shop for health and wellness items, including over-the-counter medications, and have them delivered via no-contact to their homes.
Today’s news is the latest in a string of announcements illustrating how traditional food delivery companies are broadening their services to meet the demands of both businesses and consumers.
Yesterday, Uber Eats announced a number of delivery partnerships with convenience stores in France, Spain and Brazil. Also yesterday, DoorDash announced a new Convenience category to deliver food and more from conveniences stores like 7-Eleven, Wawa and Circle K.
These expansions should ideally be a win/win/win scenario. Third party delivery companies can expand their market share into new verticals, a necessity given how many restaurants, their primary business right now, are shutting down. Businesses can help make up lost revenue from depressed in-store traffic resulting from social distancing by offering delivery. And consumers that still need items can get them while remaining socially distant.
The Walgreens expansion also reinforces how important delivery people are in this time of outbreak. They are risking their own health to bring us food and other essentials. Postmates currently classifies its workers as contractors, which makes them ineligible for things like health insurance and sick leave.
That may be changing though. Earlier this week, my colleague Jenn Marston reported that a New York federal judge ruled that “Postmates couriers are employees and therefore eligible for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The one constant in this coronvirus world is change. We are watching in real-time as the food world is upended. Now we just have to see how many of these changes, like nationwide delivery from drug stores, will last once the pandemic subsides.