CVS Distribution Strategy

CVS’s distribution strategy is toward pharmacy, which in 2022 generated nearly 77% of the company’s revenue compared to front store & others, which generated over 23% of its revenue.

Distribution StrategyDescriptionExampleImplicationsIntegration
Retail Pharmacy StoresCVS operates a vast network of retail pharmacy stores across the United States. These stores serve as the primary distribution channel for prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, health and beauty products, and general merchandise. Customers visit CVS stores to fill prescriptions, purchase healthcare products, and access various services.CVS has over 9,000 retail pharmacy stores located in neighborhoods and communities throughout the U.S. These stores offer a wide range of healthcare products, medications, and services, including MinuteClinic walk-in clinics for minor health concerns.– Provides convenient access to prescription medications and healthcare products. – Offers in-store services, including vaccinations and health screenings. – Requires a network of physical store locations.CVS’s retail pharmacy stores are at the core of its distribution strategy, providing essential healthcare products and services to local communities.
Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM)CVS owns and operates one of the largest pharmacy benefits management companies in the United States, CVS Caremark. Through CVS Caremark, CVS negotiates drug pricing with pharmaceutical manufacturers, manages prescription drug plans, and processes pharmacy claims.CVS Caremark administers prescription drug plans for employers, health insurers, and government programs. It negotiates lower drug prices, provides mail-order pharmacy services, and offers digital tools for plan members to manage their medications.– Leverages negotiating power to secure lower drug prices for clients. – Provides mail-order and digital prescription services for convenience. – Enhances healthcare cost management for clients and plan members.CVS Caremark’s services are integrated with CVS’s retail and healthcare offerings to create a comprehensive healthcare ecosystem for clients and consumers.
Mail-Order and Specialty PharmacyCVS operates mail-order and specialty pharmacies that deliver prescription medications directly to patients’ homes. This distribution channel offers convenience for patients who need long-term or specialty medications.CVS Specialty Pharmacy caters to patients with complex medical conditions, providing specialized medications, education, and support. Mail-order services allow customers to receive 90-day supplies of maintenance medications through the mail.– Enhances medication adherence and patient convenience. – Supports patients with specialized medication needs. – Requires robust logistics and fulfillment capabilities.Mail-order and specialty pharmacy services are integrated into CVS’s healthcare ecosystem, providing convenient options for patients while ensuring medication safety and adherence.
Online RetailCVS has an online retail platform,, where customers can order healthcare products, prescription refills, and over-the-counter medications for home delivery. The online store complements the in-store shopping experience.Customers can visit to refill prescriptions, order health and wellness products, and access digital tools for medication management. The platform offers both home delivery and in-store pickup options for orders.– Provides an additional channel for customers to access products and services. – Supports digital health tools for medication management and adherence. – Offers the convenience of home delivery.CVS’s online retail platform is integrated into its overall distribution strategy, offering customers a seamless omnichannel experience for accessing healthcare products and services.
MinuteClinicCVS’s MinuteClinic walk-in clinics, located within CVS stores, offer a variety of healthcare services, including vaccinations, wellness exams, and treatment for minor illnesses. MinuteClinic is an integral part of CVS’s healthcare distribution strategy.MinuteClinic is available in many CVS locations, providing customers with convenient access to healthcare services without an appointment. Patients can receive vaccinations, minor treatments, and wellness services from nurse practitioners.– Enhances the healthcare services available to customers in-store. – Provides convenient and affordable healthcare options. – Drives foot traffic to CVS stores, potentially leading to additional sales.MinuteClinic services are integrated into CVS’s retail stores, complementing its retail offerings with healthcare services to meet customers’ immediate healthcare needs.

Pharmacy Revenue Dominance:

  • Pharmacy Focus: CVS’s distribution strategy is heavily oriented towards its pharmacy operations. These operations were responsible for generating almost 77% of the company’s total revenue in the year 2022.
  • Core Revenue Driver: The pharmacy segment is the primary driver of CVS’s financial performance, indicating its significant importance to the company’s overall business strategy.
  • Healthcare Services: This strong emphasis on pharmacy aligns with CVS’s role as a prominent healthcare provider, offering prescription medications, health services, and wellness solutions to its customers.

Front Store & Other Contributions:

  • Diverse Revenue Streams: While pharmacy operations dominate, CVS also generates revenue from other areas, including front store products and various additional services.
  • Over 23% Revenue: Front store and other operations collectively contributed over 23% of CVS’s total revenue in 2022.
  • Complementary Offerings: These operations likely encompass a range of products and services available at CVS stores beyond prescription medications, such as over-the-counter medicines, personal care items, cosmetics, convenience products, and more.

Strategic Balance:

  • Pharmacy’s Key Role: The high pharmacy revenue underscores CVS’s commitment to healthcare services and its positioning as a healthcare destination for customers.
  • Diversification: While pharmacy is the primary revenue driver, the presence of other revenue sources reflects CVS’s effort to diversify its offerings and create a comprehensive shopping experience that caters to both health-related needs and everyday convenience products.
  • Customer-Centric Approach: This distribution strategy allows CVS to serve as a one-stop shop for both health and everyday essentials, enhancing customer loyalty and engagement.

Key Takeaways

  • In summary, CVS’s distribution strategy places a significant emphasis on its pharmacy operations, which constitute the lion’s share of its revenue.
  • At the same time, the company maintains a diverse revenue stream by offering a variety of products and services beyond pharmacy, ensuring a comprehensive and customer-focused shopping experience.

Related Visual Stories

CVS Revenue

CVS generated over $322 billion in revenue in 2022, compared to over $292 billion in 2021 and over $268 billion in 2020. In 2022, of CVS’s revenue, most of it came from products, followed by premiums and services.

CVS Profits

CVS generated $4.15 billion in profits in 2022, compared to $7.91 billion in 2021 and $7.18 billion in 2020.

CVS Revenue Breakdown


CVS Distribution Strategy

CVS’s distribution strategy is toward pharmacy, which in 2022 generated nearly 77% of the company’s revenue compared to front store & others, which generated over 23% of its revenue.

CVS Revenue By Channel

In 2022, CVS generated most of its revenue from pharmacy (76.9%), compared to 76% of revenue from pharmacy in 2021 and 76.9% in 2020. The rest is generated by retail & others.

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