As the holiday shopping season gets under way, CVS/pharmacy and Walgreens have served up expanded functionality for mobile device users.

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Mobile capabilities added by CVS, Walgreens

November 18th, 2011

NEW YORK – As the holiday shopping season gets under way, CVS/pharmacy and Walgreens have served up expanded functionality for mobile device users.

CVS on Friday unveiled enhanced shopping and prescription refill functionality for its mobile site ( as well as iPhone and Android apps for on-the-go customers. The drug store chain said shoppers can now use mobile devices to manage their ExtraCare Rewards accounts, scan and send prescription refills, and order photo prints photos from CVS Photo Centers.

The mobile site enhancements enable customers to load select ExtraCare coupons received via e-mail directly to their ExtraCare card via the "Send to Card" digital savings option; view the available balance of ExtraBucks Rewards; check ExtraCare transaction history; and order a new ExtraCare card to replace a missing or lost card.

New "mCommerce" options for smartphone users accessing photo services include the ability to view photo albums and slideshows, order prints for in-store pickup in about an hour, and easily share photos with friends and family, according to CVS.

CVS noted that customers who have downloaded its iPhone or Android app can now manage prescriptions more easily, anywhere and anytime. Via their iPhone or Android device, customers can scan and send rapid refills (no sign-in required) to their local CVS/pharmacy for up to six prescriptions at once by using the camera in their smartphone and the CVS/pharmacy app. The refills can be sent by scanning the prescription label directly. The apps also include a QR code scanner for scanning any QR code at CVS/pharmacy stores or any other retailer.

In addition, CVS said, the same ExtraCare program management available through the CVS/pharmacy mobile site has been added to the CVS iPhone and Android apps. That functionality is in addition to current features that allow shoppers to locate nearby CVS stores with their phone's GPS, check their weekly circular, and find MinuteClinic locations and services.

"CVS/pharmacy customers are increasingly using smartphones to do everything from shopping to social networking while on the go," Rob Price, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for CVS/pharmacy, said in a statement. "Given the popularity of mobile devices, CVS/pharmacy has added new mobile innovations that make it easier for our customers to order refills and manage their ExtraCare account."

For its part, Walgreens on Thursday said it has added scannable coupons to its mobile apps offering exclusive discounts to smartphone customers starting on Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving, known in retailing as "Black Friday."

The company said coupons will range in value from 50 cents to $5 and will be good toward a range of products — including beauty items, gifts, consumables and everyday essentials such as diapers — through Dec. 24. Scannable coupons don't require clipping or printing; cashiers scan the coupon straight from a user's smartphone, the retailer noted.

Walgreens reported that with mobile scanning capabilities at all of its roughly 7,800 drug stores, the effort marks the nation's largest retail mobile coupon program.

The drug chain added that this year is expected to be a breakout holiday season for mobile shopping.

"We’re enhancing the shopping experience by giving our mobile customers greater convenience and exclusive savings during the holiday season," stated Sona Chawla, Walgreens' president of e-commerce. “Through our mobile application, no matter where people are, they can find an easy way to save next time they come to Walgreens — just download the app, and you're ready to shop.”

Other mobile shopping features offered via the free Walgreens mobile app include the ability to view the weekly ad and the latest sales; shop directly from any smartphone; browse products and check their in-store availability; and receive text alerts on special offers and exclusive deals, the retailer said.