21 April 2017
CVS Pharmacy raises the bar on health with new store design

CVS Pharmacy has developed a new store design to enhance the retail customer experience. This includes a new range of healthier food, health-focused products and an expanded beauty offer.

Planning 70 remodels this year before extended roll-out in 2018

The new store design has been developed to reflect the ongoing evolution of the customer experience at CVS Pharmacy. The new elements are aligned to the retailer's front store growth strategy which was first introduced in 2015. They will build on the improvements which have been made to over 3,400 stores over the last two years and are designed to drive growth in relevant categories. The major changes will be rolled-out to 70 new and existing stores this year, with plans to expand to several hundred more next year.

New discovery zones to highlight on-trend products

The new health-focused format features 100ft of new products in health, beauty and healthier food, and uses a streamlined layout to highlight themes that make shopping easier. 'Discovery Zones' in key categories take a holistic approach to care, and customers are guided by signage to make finding the right solution easier. Ranges tied to emerging areas such as connected health, sleep/mood and immunity are merchandised in these areas. CVS Pharmacy is also expanding its range of vitamins and supplements.

Healthier product choices to account for 50% of all food options

Within beauty, the retailer is adding new, on-trend brands, along with products that have greater skin health benefits and more natural ingredients. To help provide shoppers with inspiration, it is adding a new 'trend wall' which will feature new launches and niche brands. As part of its plans to grow its healthier food options, CVS Pharmacy will be adding 27 new products under the Gold Emblem Abound private brand. Healthier product choices will account for around 50% of all food options found throughout the store.

Enhancing the digital experience

Alongside the changes being made in-store, the mobile experience and ExtraCare Rewards program continue to evolve. Customers will have a growing range of options to order products online and pick them up with CVS Curbside, pay seamlessly via CVS Pay in the app and manage their personalised offers and supplier coupons.

Competitive area as retailers extend their better-for-you zones

The catalyst for these changes was the retailer's decision in 2014 to stop selling tobacco. Following this major strategic decision it has expanded its range of healthier food options and natural beauty ranges, and seen a positive response from its shoppers. However, the competitive environment in these categories continues to intensify. Retailers such as Sprouts Farmers Market and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market have developed their propositions at the intersection of fresh foods and health and pharmacy. These retailers offer an extensive range of vitamins and supplements alongside a strong fresh-led grocery offer. This is increasingly being mirrored within mainstream grocers, many of which now feature dedicated health zones at the front of store which incorporate natural, organics, specialty and healthier product ranges.

However, this is a fast growing segment of the US grocery market providing a growth opportunity for those with relevant and credible offers. This is an area we also expect to see more innovation over the next two to three years. This will include the launch of more unique products and services, further private brand developments, and more space being allocated to healthier food options.

Stewart Samuel, Program Director, IGD Canada
Based in Canada, Stewart heads up all of IGD's research and coverage on CVS Health. He is also responsible for shaping IGD's research program across North America. Contact Stewart at for further insight on the region.
Related subjects: