Alipay Steps Up Its Mobile Payments Connection to Walgreens

February 18, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

For many of us, a quick trip to Walgreens is a comparatively normal occurrence. Whether we’re getting ready for the next cold with a little cold medicine and Sprite or we’re just picking up a quick gallon of milk, it’s a fairly prosaic operation. This is apparently also true of Chinese tourists visiting the US, as Alipay recently announced its new connection to Walgreens, which allowed the mobile payments provider in its stores.

This isn’t exactly a new deal; reports note that there was already an agreement between the Alibaba Group—Alipay’s parent company—and Walgreens Boots Alliance, a move which helped put Alipay in 3,000 Walgreens locations throughout the US. But with the new arrangement, the number of stores boasting Alipay will more than double, reaching 7,000 locations. That’s actually still not every Walgreens location, as there are better than 2,500 outlets that still won’t have Alipay access even after the ramping-up phase is accomplished.

Walgreens’ president of operations Richard Ashworth noted “This collaboration has particular significance to our Chinese customer population, which now has a new way to experience Walgreens. Not only can they buy our products via our dedicated store on Alibaba’s Tmall mobile marketplace, but they will now also be able to shop in the US using Alipay as they would in China.”

It’s not surprising that any business adds on a new way to make purchases from that business. It can’t be; after all, any business wants to open up its operations to as many people as it can handle.  A business with excess capacity is a business experiencing waste conditions, and no business really wants to waste money or resources. Adding Alipay to the mix just helps ensure that Walgreens reaches the widest range of potential customers it can, and in the process, makes every sale and lands every dollar it can get.

This is a comparatively simple addition to Walgreens’ operation, and one that may realize some extra revenue for the company. It’s a smart move, and one that likely won’t cost much, so most everyone should come out ahead on this one, with the possible exception of Walgreens’ competitors.