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Innovating the Retail Experience

September 18, 2018 | Innovation

With the retail environment evolving faster than ever, it’s crucial to constantly innovate and find new ways to improve upon the customer experience. That was the message delivered by Kevin Hourican, executive vice president for CVS Health and president of CVS Pharmacy, at, the National Retail Federation’s annual conference, which took place September 12-14.

Speaking to 2,500 of retail’s top ecommerce and multichannel executives in Las Vegas, Hourican presented “Innovating for Tomorrow: The Power of Purpose and a Customer-First Mindset,” a talk that focused on the experiences and insights he's gleaned starting with his early days in retail to his current role at CVS Pharmacy.



Hourican’s presentation centered around the three key elements he believes are critical to success in today’s retail environment:

  • Leading with Purpose

  • Customer-Focused Innovation

  • Wherever, Whenever, However

He went on to describe some of the ways CVS Pharmacy is focusing on each of these elements to stay ahead of the curve.

Purpose-Driven Decisions

“You can choose to do lots of things in your life,” Hourican said during his presentation. “I recommend doing something that matters.”

CVS Health is grounded in its purpose of helping people on their path to better health, and our retail teams, Hourican explained, are on the front lines in communities around the country to do that every day. Hourican discussed how CVS Pharmacy has used its purpose to guide the decisions that have become some of the most important moments in the company’s history, including:

Putting Customers at the Heart of What We Do

Hourican stressed to the audience that prioritizing innovation that is customer-facing is critical. At CVS Pharmacy, that means finding solutions to address customer concerns like the rising cost of prescriptions, which led to the creation of the Rx Savings Finder, and the desire for simplified medication schedules, which spurred the development of the ScriptPath Prescription System.

Hourican described how CVS Pharmacy is working to improve the overall retail experience, with new health-focused store designs complete with “Discovery Zones” that highlight emerging products and specific wellness needs, as well as designs tailored to the communities where they are located, such as the CVS Pharmacy y más stores.

Meeting Customer Needs 24-7

Hourican touched on the CVS Pharmacy focus on meeting customers wherever, whenever and however they need. While 75% of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a CVS, making it a convenient option for most, Hourican explained that the definition of convenience is changing, which means customer options need to as well.

To address those changing expectations, CVS Pharmacy offers 24-hour store locations, drive-thru pharmacies and the CVS Pharmacy app to access services. In addition, CVS Pharmacy has continued to expand its services, adding convenience-focused offerings such as nationwide delivery and video visits through the MinuteClinic app over the past year. CVS Pharmacy is also utilizing best-in-class technology and analytics to constantly improve the ExtraCare rewards program for its 77 million active cardholders.

While CVS Health is always working to innovate, the company consistently stays true to its core value of helping people get and stay healthy, every day, which is an important component for success, Hourican offered to the audience.

“You can’t try to be too many things to too many people. Do what you do well, and do it relentlessly.”