How CVS Transformed Customer Experience with Mobile

Read Time: 5 - 10 min

Editor’s note: It’s always exciting to hear a Localytics customer talk about their mobile strategy. Today we had just that opportunity when CVS Chief Digital Officer Brian Tilzer delivered the keynote address at eTail East 2016. CVS has been in the media recently for their forward-thinking approach to mobile, and Tilzer gave us an insider’s view of CVS's road to becoming such an innovative, mobile-first company.

“Business success for CVS means solving real customer problems.”

That’s how Brian Tilzer, Chief Digital Officer at CVS Health, kicked off his keynote address at the  eTail East 2016 conference yesterday. While Brian's responsible for Digital at CVS, he noted that a better customer experience for this Fortune 7 company has always meant stronger numbers across all CVS touch points, including in-store, pharmacy, and digital (web, mobile, email, SMS, etc.).

Brian Tilzer, Chief Digital Officer, CVS Health

So what's Brian and the CVS Health team’s approach to improving customer experience? They focus on how to:


1. Enable healthier lifestyles.

2. Save the customer money.

3. Save the customer time.



Pretty straight forward, right? But as Brian pointed out, if at the end of the day “cool” technologies and concepts don’t solve a core challenge like the three above, the team won’t invest resources into it.

Brian told us about Beth, CVS’s core customer. Beth has 2 kids and a husband. She and her husband work full-time, and Beth is the Chief Health Officer of the household. Beth’s son has a cold, her daughter has a chronic disease like Crohn’s, and her husband has diabetes.

Beth relies on:



  • Push notifications via the CVS app to alert her when her family's prescriptions are ready (avoiding unecessary trips or phone calls)
  • An online portal to add, remove, or modify existing prescriptions, and even get price recommendations for generic brands to save money
  • Scheduled prescription delivery for recurring needs
  • Automatic ExtraCare rewards linking to purchases and mobile in-store experience (made seamless with CVS Pay)
  • Text alerts for flu vaccinations
  • Easy Minute Clinic appointment setup for her son
  • Health follow-ups (like flu vaccinations) 








It’s pretty remarkable that all of these services can be managed by one company, and in one seamless, digital and real-world experience. 
Clearly, traditional marketing outcomes aren’t the goal. Providing utility to the customer makes CVS a critical part of Beth's life and it makes their services even more valuable.

More tactically, Brian also showcased some of the more recent contributions to this effort: 

  • CVS released a Digital Receipts program to much fanfare on programs like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, in an effort to resolve customer complaints about long, cumbersome receipts (not to mention the waste of paper). Now, users can have receipts emailed or sent directly to the mobile app, automatically linking their ExtraCare rewards to promotions loaded to the card.

  • The team also added Mobile Perscription Pickup functionality to their mobile app,  allowing users to pick-up prescriptions by scanning a barcode at the pharmacy.  Customers avoid potentially awkward verbal communication about refills, and piII concerns. The pharmacist can get right to work, and the customer feels good knowing their request will be handled quickly and securely.

  •  CVS Pay brought CVS right into the mobile payment game. The app links Credit/Debit/HSA accounts, loyalty accounts, receipts, and promotions into one product, with the goal of drastically improving customer checkout and pharmacy experience. With CVS Pay, it doesn't take long for customers to get in, find products, and go on their way.

It was all of the above initiatives that resulted in CVS Health being ranked by Fast Company as  one of the top 3 most innovative companies in digital. How were they able to take such a large, traditional brick and mortar company and do a 180 towards digital? By recognizing that a shift in consumer mindset towards mobile-first was looming, and that investing early was key to not only capitalizing, but surviving.

Through his focus on digital marketing, Brian spearheaded the creation of CVS's Boston Innovation Lab, as well as a partnership with CurbSide, a same-day-pickup app. CVS has rolled out CurbSide functionality in the CVS mobile app in 800 stores and counting. Customers make a purchase on their mobile devices and roll right up to CVS, where an employee immediately appears with their order. It’s the epitome of how to delight your customer. What CurbSide and CVS understand is that mobile is key to empowering these types of always connected, omni-channel services.

As a CVS partner, we're excited to see how the team pushes their customer experience even further with mobile. Want to learn more about how Localytics works with CVS or other brands to bring their mobile strategy to life? Check us out.