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CVS showcases new front-of-store experience

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Enhanced format, offerings highlight 'holistic health expertise'

CVS Pharmacy's Judy Sansone and Helena Foulkes

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NEW YORK — As shown by the evolution of its front-end strategy, CVS didn’t change its name to CVS Health and remove tobacco products from its stores more than two years ago for nothing.

Executives at the interactive brand showcase CVS held Wednesday in Manhattan noted that health and well-being underpins virtually all facets of its enhanced front-end experience.

Those in attendance got to view CVS Pharmacy’s newest and current front-end offerings in over-the-counter health care (including connected health), beauty care and consumables — notably exclusive brands and premium store brands that CVS Pharmacy chief merchant Judy Sansone said are no longer “compare” options on the shelf.

Smart signage also groups products into solution sets based on consumers’ needs, whether that be for a health condition, wellness plan or beauty regimen.

Over 800 stores across the country sport the new front-end design and product mix, and more than 3,400 now feature the expanded food and beauty selection. And in the beauty categories, CVS has deployed a new “trend wall” showcasing new launches and niche brands at 2,000 stores.

CVS said it plans to roll out the front-end updates at up to 70 stores this year and several hundred more in 2018.

“We can present customers with solutions and really engage them. And of course, our pharmacists can bring expertise in all of those situations. So the fact that CVS has this holistic health expertise in the store really makes a difference,” Sansone said.

“We found out that our pharmacists are answering questions on skin care. Every day, 73% of our pharmacists are answering an over-the-counter skin care question, which is a startling number. So what we’ve done is provide our pharmacists education about skin care and created an assortment of skin care products right at the pharmacy counter,” she noted. “We want to provide our pharmacists both with an easy way to help the customers get the products they need, and for the customers to know that we have a holistic answer there.”

CVS also plans to roll out more hearing and optical centers at select stores, according to Morgan Diaz, senior director of health services at CVS Health. “Now we’re expanding access to care in two new industries: hearing health and eye health,” she said.

CVS opened 12 optical and hearing centers in stores about a year ago, and by the end of 2017 it aims to expand those services into 50 new locations, Diaz said. The facilities — about 850 square feet for the optical centers and 250 square feet for the hearing centers — are situated next to the pharmacy and/or clinic, in the stores with a MinuteClinic.

“Today, we have seven open hearing centers, and by the end of the year we’ll be opening about 25 additional locations,” Diaz said. “We now have five optical centers, located in Baltimore, and we’ll have two New York City locations that we’ll be opening this year. So we’ll be opening 19 new locations, bringing our total to 24 by the end of 2017.”

Other CVS executives at the New York showcase included CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes; Cia Tucci, vice president of store brands and quality assurance; Michael McEnany, vice president of merchandising for consumables and general merchandise; George Coleman, vice president of health care, pricing and business planning; Michele Driscoll, vice president of loyalty and personalization; Maly Bernstein, divisional merchandising manager for beauty; and Caroline Michaud, director of integrated digital experience.


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