Walgreens is a trusted name in the pharmacy industry, offering a wide selection of pharmaceuticals and other products. However, it’s a bit expensive compared to other retailers, and you may wonder what drives these costs.
Walgreens is expensive because you get products from every category at the same place and can even shop 24/7.
A few products, such as colognes, premium shampoos, electronics, etc., are luxurious and affordable by a select few. The store also charges a convenience fee for healthcare and pharmacy products.
Below, we have written a guide to explain why Walgreens is so expensive and what sets it apart from other retailers.
12 Reasons Why Walgreens Is So Expensive
Walgreens is one of the largest retail drugstore chains in the United States and has a long history of providing pharmacy and several grocery items to meet the diverse needs of customers.
Walgreens run over 8,000 stores currently in the United States.
Despite being so popular, Walgreens can sometimes leave your wallet slightly lighter than its competitors, like Costco, CVS, and the always budget-friendly Walmart.
So, let’s dive a little deeper and explore why products are so expensive at Walgreens.
1. One-Stop-Shop for Convenience
Gone are the days when there were specialized stores for every little thing. Instead, these stores operated for limited hours and only sold one type of product. So they had a lot of customers and could afford to keep prices low without competition.
But over time, people started to value convenience more than anything else, and bigger stores like Walmart, K-Mart, and Walgreens became popular.
All such convenience stores, including Walgreens, sell various products in different categories under one roof and deal with many suppliers, resulting in increased costs.
Many Walgreens stores are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it convenient for customers to access products and services quickly.
That’s why they charge a convenience fee for healthcare and pharmacy products which contributes to high prices.
2. Top-Notch Quality Products
Walking into Walgreens, you may have seen the high-quality products on the shelves. From cosmetics to candies to gadgets.
It is clear that the store specializes in medicines and carries top-brand and premium items from various categories.
As you browse, you find yourself surrounded by expensive fragrances and colognes, premium shampoos, high-end electronics, and even a carefully curated selection of groceries.
All of these things contribute to a shopping experience that feels premium and luxurious, with a higher price tag than you find at other retailers.
3. Dedicated Departments
Walgreens is a store with dedicated departments, ensuring each section is staffed and ready to serve the customers.
The pharmacy section is a prime example, with its drive-through, consultation area, and private vaccine room.
Moreover, the cosmetic and fragrance section also has a dedicated cashier and a person to help you select the best perfume.
The photo section has evolved from a one-person operation to a full-service graphics station, providing personalized photo prints, books, cards, posters, and other photo-related services. You can also enjoy same-day photo printing.
So all of these specializations and extra services come at a cost.
Walgreens is one of the U.S.’s largest employers and has over 400,000 people on board.
4. No Insurance Coverage
Like many other retail pharmacies, Walgreens may charge higher prices for individuals who pay for their prescriptions without insurance coverage.
This is because insurance companies often have established agreements with drugstores, such as Walgreens, to receive discounted prices for their clients.
As a result, if you are a non-insured customer, you may have to bear the cost of these reduced prices, leading to higher expenses for prescription drugs.
5. my Walgreens Reward Program
Usually, Walgreens keeps its prices higher against the competitors to urge customers to sign up for their myWalgreens Reward Program.
By doing this, customers can earn points and receive discount coupons for each purchase to cut costs.
This creates a cycle where customers think they are paying a low price, but the company is locking them in for long-term purchases.
6. Free Vaccination Programs
Walgreens’ commitment to offering free vaccines impacts the prices of items in its stores.
The store has a long-standing tradition of offering free flu shots and has added COVID vaccines and boosters. Additional free vaccines may be available depending on the location and other factors.
Moreover, it has a well-known vaccine program for the elderly, attracting many participants.
Although these vaccines are free, the company eventually absorbs the cost through other means, such as increased prices on other products in the store.
7. Environmentally Friendly Practices
Recently, Walgreens has adopted a more environmentally friendly approach by using geothermal energy, wind turbines, and solar panels to power its stores. However, this transition is a massive project expected to cost considerable money.
The step is amazing for the environment but, unfortunately, not so great for consumers’ pockets.
Customers are more likely to do business with a company that makes an effort to use renewable energy.
8. High Demand Leads to Increased Costs
If there is a high demand for a specific medication, the company may take advantage of this situation and raise the prices.
Customers who need the medication will have no choice but to pay the higher price. In this way, Walgreens benefits from the high demand and ensures its profits are not affected.
9. Making Up for the Lower Priced Items
Walgreens always has something in the store for discounted prices. However, it’s just a tactic to influence customers to buy more. The store keeps a few items for lowered prices while increasing the price tag of other products to balance out.
As a result, some products may be more expensive here than similar ones in other stores because they are used to make up for the reduced prices on sale items.
According to a recent survey, over 1,000 shoppers stated that sales promotions and discounts significantly impact their decisions on what products they purchase and where they shop.
10. No Government Regulation on Medicine Prices
Sadly, in the United States, the pricing of drugs is not directly regulated by the federal government. This lack of regulation results in a free market where drug prices vary greatly across different states, locations, and pharmacies.
Therefore, Walgreens and other pharmacies take advantage and are free to determine the price of their drugs. Unfortunately, this often leads to high prices as they aim for increased profits.
11. Matches the Competitor’s Prices
Walgreens often tracks and aligns its prices with competitors in the same state or location.
If a competitor store, like CVS, is selling a drug for a certain price, Walgreens will make sure to sell that same drug for at least the same price and not less than that.
This practice ensures that Walgreens does not have to compete solely on price, as it offers other benefits and conveniences to customers.
12. Offers a Range of Additional Services
Walgreens offers a comprehensive experience beyond just medications and regular grocery items. The company provides additional services designed to make the customers’ experience more convenient and stress-free.
From automatic prescription refills to regular text reminders, free shipping, and a flexible returns policy, Walgreens provides a level of service that is unmatched by traditional pharmacy stores.
This is why Walgreens charges more for its products and services, as you get more value for each penny spent.
This article delves into why Walgreens is so expensive and how the company’s pricing strategy has impacted its customers.
We hope this information has been insightful in understanding how Walgreens sets its prices and why you need to pay a bit more compared to other retailers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the Prices at Walgreens Worth the Convenience?
Some customers may find satisfaction in shopping at a nearby Walgreens location because of easy access or utilizing the store’s additional services, making it a worthy option.
However, others may prioritize finding the lowest product prices and opt for other retailers.
Does Shopping at Walgreens Have Any Benefits Over Other Retailers?
Yes, shopping at Walgreens can offer several benefits over other retailers, like access to some of its branches 24/7, quality products, and excellent customer service.