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The two largest pharmacy chains in the U.S. have both opened redesigned stores that dedicate more space to health services and less space to staple products like greeting cards. As people shop online more, CVS and Walgreens are trying to give people reasons to keep coming into their drugstores.
While their redesigns are just tests at this point, they could become models for future stores. Here's a look at CVS and Walgreens' new stores.
CVS opened three concept stores, called HealthHUBs, in the Houston, Texas area in December. These locations dedicate much less space to typical drugstore products like greeting cards and seasonal items. Instead, these stores offer more health products like sleep apnea masks and devote space to services aimed at helping customers manage chronic conditions.
Sleep apnea masks are among the durable medical products CVS has added. Walkers are also sold at the redesigned stores.
Endcap displays show off technology to get seniors help when they're having a medical emergency.
The store's wellness rooms host yoga classes, nutrition seminars and other health events.
CVS' walk-in clinics, MinuteClinics, now offer more services, including a lab for blood testing and health screenings. Nurse practitioners can screen patients for diabetic retinopathy, or vision loss associated with diabetes, as well as sleep apnea. The HealthHUBs also include a dietitian who can counsel patients in stores or connect them with Noom, an online weight-loss service.
Each HealthHUB staffs a "care concierge" to help guide customers through the new health services and provides more care coordination between the pharmacy, the clinic and the other services. iPads are also stationed for people to browse health and wellness apps and shop on CVS' website.
Walgreens renovated a store down the street from its Deerfield, Illinois, headquarters last summer. It combines many of the new concepts Walgreens is testing at stores across the country into one location.
Large light wooden beams hang from the ceiling with signs for the health services: optical, lab services, hearing, the "health corner" – where patients can make appointments, and pharmacy. The health services share one waiting room though they each have their own room.
People can head to the health corner to speak with a Walgreens employee, who the company calls a health guide, to book appointments. There, they can also schedule appointments on a tablet. They can also make them online or on the Walgreens app.
Inside the optical section, pairs of glasses dot the walls, including glasses from NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal. In the back is a room where independent optometrists perform eye exams. Walgreens is still testing optical services, having opened 10 in the Chicago area.
LabCorp providers perform a handful of services, including blood work and drug tests. Walgreens started opening LabCorp testing sites in some of its stores in the summer of 2017. In October, the two companies announced they would expand their existing partnership and open at least 600 more locations.
Walgreens has partnered with Starkey, a hearing aid manufacturer, to perform hearing tests and fit patients for hearing aids. They've opened nine locations across Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Florida.
The pharmacy counters also got a makeover. They're a bit more private now and there's a dedicated lane for express checkout. To use this, customers link their credit card to the app and simply scan their app at check out.
While not health related, Walgreens dedicated a desk to "services," including recent partnerships with FedEx and Sprint. In 2017, Walgreens inked a deal with FedEx to allow deliveries to be dropped off and held at Walgreens' stores. Walgreens has also been working with Sprint to advise shoppers on phones and plans and let them pick up products they bought online in its drugstores.
To make room for the health services, the store shrank its stock room by 60 percent, according to a store employee. Most of the same products are on the shelves, though now beauty and health and wellness products are in the front aisles. The store still sells snacks and candy, but they're in the back now.
Beauty products are the first items shoppers encounter when the walk in the store, with multiple displays placed on a diagonal to direct people's attention to them. Walgreens has made this department one of its priorities, which was evident in the redesigned store.
— CNBC's Bertha Coombs contributed to this report