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A love letter to the CVS app development team

CVS barcode

Thanks for the bar code, CVS! Now, what do I do with it?

Okay, CVS, let me make sure I got this right. You have a new service called Curbside Pickup, which means I can pull into a special parking spot outside the store and an associate will use Location Services to know when I’ve arrived and bring the goods right to my car. Sweet!

So, let’s put together an order. Whoops, only a very limited selection is available for Curbside Pickup including almost none of the sale items in your weekly ad. What’s up with that? Well, I have a code good for $10 off my first $15 order so I’ll shop from what’s available. Combs are good. Let’s buy some. Order done!

Whoops, turns out the combs I ordered aren’t actually stocked in my local store so they’re cancelled from the order after I complete it. And now I’m below the minimum to apply the coupon. I am asked to add replacement items but can only choose items from the same manufacturer (no opportunity to search) and whoops, those other items are not available either.

I do try a second order just to see if we can consolidate the two. Nope. Soon I’m getting a flurry of text messages and am off to the store to pick up my two orders, sans discount. Well, not to worry, says the very nice sales associate who brings it out to the car. The discount code never appeared on your order for some reason.

Next I pull into a regular parking spot because there’s a prescription to pick up. That’s right, prescriptions are not available through Curbside Pickup. The CVS non-drug business has been completely separated from the drug business which seems like a bad idea; historically, drug stores started carrying non-medical items as an add-on to build customer loyalty. Now I can get my Curbside Pickup at CVS and move on to Walgreens for my meds, why not?

But wait, there’s something special about my prescription at CVS… they provided me a barcode! Does this bring relief from the very long line of sufferers waiting for their meds? No, it just gives me the opportunity to “share” the barcode instead of stating my name and birthdate when I finally get to the front of the line. How about a separate express line for folks who went the trouble to complete their order in advance?

Before I leave this love letter I will comment on the smart-looking CVS mobile app, which is necessary to finish most of the above transactions. Said app requires me to frequently log in even though I am responding to a text which includes all my data. Also, many functions are available on the web but not through the app, including the ability to apply that Curbside Pickup discount code. Hmm… I thought mobile apps were supposed to improve on the web experience, not make you revert to it.

I do know what’s going on here, dear CVS app development team. You’ve got some great resume fodder going. But the apps you have built have very little to do with the actual shopping experience. Be warned, your next employer may be less dewy-eyed.

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