Drone deliveries by Alphabet’s ( (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report) Wing began in the suburbs of Dallas last week as retailers such as Walgreens Boots Alliance ( (WBA) – Get Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc Report) are seeking ways to make deliveries easier and faster to meet demand from consumers.
Walgreens Boots Alliance is the first major retailer to adopt the use of drone delivery for consumers and is the largest customer for Wing.
A test delivery was conducted on April 7 in a Walgreens parking lot in Little Elm, a Dallas suburb. The test delivery showed the drone dropping off a package on the driveway of a home.
Another delivery was conducted in Friso, another Dallas suburb.
Customers can only choose from 100 items from Wing’s drone-delivery app, but they include over-the-counter medicines and household essentials, a Walgreens spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.
“This third-party delivery model will give businesses the ability to reach their customers in faster and cheaper ways than ever before,” said Alexa Dennett, head of communications for Wing.
Wing eventually wants customers to be able to use their own drones to receive deliveries.
The launch was the largest rollout in the U.S. so far by Wing, which was founded in 2012 and has been making deliveries in Finland and Australia. The drone company said it can travel six miles within six minutes as well as up to 65 miles per hour with a package as heavy as 3.3 pounds.
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The company said it is also delivering items in the Dallas/Fort Worth area from Blue Bell Creameries, an ice cream company, first aid kits from Texas Health and pet prescriptions from easyvetclinic.
The deliveries are limited currently as the drones are being tested – the service is only available Friday and Saturday afternoons for a limited numer of neighborhoods for Blue Bell.
The company began making deliveres in Christiansburg, Virginia first and consumers can receive coffee, cupcakes or even library books as well at items from Walgreens.
Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at EMarketer, a research firm, said delivering prescriptions via drones is ideal because they are lightweight and often patients need them quickly, according to the Wall Street Journal article.
Wing has made 200,000 commercial deliveries in Australia as of March. The company said it was making the equivalent of 1,000 deliveries each day. Wing now has a partnership with Coles, one of Australia’s major supermarket chains.
Amazon had launched its own drone delivery service back in 2013, Prime Air. The company was supposed to start deliveries in 2018, but instead the company has laid off employees during the pandemic. Prime Air encountered other major obstacles such as icnrease in workload and a work enviroment that contained expectations that were not realistic, former employees told Wired in 2021.
Walgreen’s Uses Several Delivery Services
In February, Walgreen’s added Shipt as an option for customers who want their purchases delivered. Consumers can receive even over-the-counter medications (OTC), beauty, personal care, household and convenience products.
The service is available from over 6,300 Walgreens for most of its items.
“Through a community of Shipt Shoppers and a convenient app, Shipt provides a personal shopping and delivery experience to 80% of households in more than 5,000 cities nationwide,” said Rina Hurst, chief business officer of Shipt.