Posted: Dec 12, 2017
Both Wine.com and FedEx are using the drugstore's branches for wine delivery
As wine shipments become harder to fulfill in many states, wine retailers and carriers have become more practical in terms of how to deliver the goods. Wine.com, as well as the national carrier FedEx, have both started using a number of Walgreens, Duane Reade and other retailers such as Jewel-Osco, Albertsons and Safeway as wine drop-off points for consumer pickup.
“Many of our customers welcome a way to receive shipments in a way that is safer and more secure than home doorstep delivery,” said James W. Graham, senior manager of media relations at the Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreen Co. He added that, “Wine shipments are a great example of this. Receiving FedEx shipments of wine at Walgreens pick-up locations is a great convenience and give our customers more ways to complete both day-to-day tasks and special errands alike.”
“Walgreens has approximately 8,100 stores nationwide and of those more than 7,500 stores have FedEx pick-up/drop-off locations,” he added. “At all Walgreens/FedEx locations you can pick up an incoming wine shipment from a sender, but you cannot ship wine outbound to someone else,” he clarified.
Rich Bergsund, the San Francisco-based CEO of the Wine.com national retail platform, said one of his customers said that she really liked the option of shipping her order to Walgreens, as it was very convenient location, near her home.
Convenience is Key
Home wine delivery poses a number of challenges as someone over 21 must be present with ID at the time of delivery to sign for the wine. Dropping off these packages at local retailers allows consumers to claim their wines when it is convenient for them. Also many of these drugstore and supermarket locations are much closer to buyers’ homes than a number of FedEx offices, where the wines might be returned after three delivery attempts.
Christian Miller, the proprietor of the Berkley-based Full Glass Research data analyst noted that FedEx and Wine.com say that they are offering customers this service to “avoid the hassle of having to wait at home to sign for packages. I can say that in research I’ve done with wine club members [and ex-members]; this has been seen as a barrier by a small but significant minority of consumers. High shipping costs are usually more important when it comes to delivery issues. On the other hand, if you aren’t regularly shopping at Albertson’s/Walgreens [going there to pick up wines is] an extra trip.”
Bergsund said that more than 8,000 Walgreens and Duane Reed locations were currently participating in 43 states and Washington D.C. He added that the time frame for pickup includes normal store operation hours, which often go well into the evening.
Neither Walgreens nor FedEx would share wine pick-up statistics or feedback from wine producers who have used the drop-off system. However Katie Wassmer, the manager of FedEx Global Media Relations at the company’s Memphis-based headquarters added that, “By teaming with Walgreens, a well-known and trusted brand, FedEx now offers our customers more than 10,000 FedEx Hold locations around the country, including more than 7,500 Walgreens, 1,800 FedEx Office stores and select Kroger and Albertsons locations.”
She added that for, “Adult consumers, redirecting wine shipments to a FedEx OnSite location, such as Walgreens, is simple and convenient. Since these shipments require a signature and ID from a person over 21 years of age, holding a package at a Walgreens allows the customer to sign for and pick up a wine shipment when convenient, helping to avoid missed deliveries.” Albertsons did not respond to email queries about the chain’s experience as wine shipment pickup location.
For both Wine.com and FedEx’s wine deliveries adding pickup locations would seem to be a smooth move to make the delivery process more convenient. It might also offer other benefits to Walgreens. “I wonder if Wine.com promoted the service to them on the basis it would get upscale consumers visiting their stores,” questioned Miller.
The one time I recently asked FedEx to deliver my wine to my local Walgreens on Russian Hill in San Francisco, I was since been told twice that it never arrived and was surprised that no one on Walgreens corporate or on behalf of the producer advised me that the wine shipment has probably since been returned to the shipper. One only hopes that national pickup services are performing better in other markets.
By Liza B. Zimmerman
December 11, 2017
Image Credit: Walgreens
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