From The Kitchen

Everything, all the time: Tapingo now delivers from Walgreens

Emmy Gnat | Head Illustrator

One of the hottest menus on the Syracuse University campus just expanded its options.

Tapingo, the popular app that allows students to order food from on-campus dining options and off-campus restaurants that usually don’t deliver, has partnered with a company that doesn’t fit either of those two categories — Walgreens.

The San Francisco-based app last week teamed up with the drug store chain to enable users to order anything found on the shelves of the Walgreens at 2329 James St. That’s a lot of choices.

The idea for linking up with Walgreens started sometime late last year or early this year, said Vivek Wagle, the head of brand marketing at Tapingo. The two parties came together via “mutual business acquaintances,” and the rest moved quickly from there.

Maybe an unexpected move from Tapingo, a brand that since being brought to the SU campus last semester has been a go-to for strictly food items. But now, instead of bypassing the lines at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Schine Student Center, customers can now skip the trip when they need a new toothbrush or a bag of ice.

“Throughout our history we’ve definitely been open to providing sort of all the stuff students might need, and we started with food since that’s something you need every day,” Wagle said. “But the vision for Tapingo is absolutely to be something that’s there for college students wherever they need it, whenever they need it.”

Apparently students have needed Walgreens quite a bit. Wagle said Tapingo is able to keep track of what students are ordering — not on an individual level, but just what is in an order and where it’s headed. And there’s certainly a trend in the data.

Wagle said some of the most popular items have come as a surprise. Ice cream, for example, has been a top seller despite it being the middle of winter. Non-perishable grocery items that go beyond the ready-to-eat meals offered by other establishments available on Tapingo, like McDonald’s, Chipotle or Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, have also been common in orders.

But the real winners have been the medical and general health and wellness items. In fact, they’ve been so popular that Tapingo rolled out a new feature Thursday called “Popular Packages” — pre-bundled orders containing items that go well with each other. When the Tapingo app is opened, a promotional effort to put the bundles into your virtual cart immediately appear. One features a stick figure named Ted.

“Ted got sick. Ted ordered cough medicine and chicken soup on Tapingo and didn’t spread his germs. And he got 10 percent off. Be like Ted. Get 10 percent off Walgreens delivery,” the app instructs.

It’s all a plea to have customers pull the trigger on the Care Package option, which includes Tylenol, Walgreens brand cough drops, Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, Kleenex tissues and Zicam Cold Remedy RapidMelts. The cost: $24.26.

“If you’re feeling sick and you have a cold and are stuck in bed, the last thing you want is to have to get up and have to schlep over to Walgreens in the freezing cold weather,” Wagle said.

Two other bundles exist as well. The Recovery Pack seems to offer a hangover cure with ibuprofen, water, Emergen-C, Tylenol, Zantac acid reducer and Walgreens brand digestive support. The Party Box — red party cups and four liters of both Coke and Sprite — can get students prepared for a night out. Lastly, the Good Roommate Essentials option provides toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent and Swiffer cloths.

Tapingo deliveries are handled by a third party, and often that can mean an SU student is the one doing the job. A customer orders on the Tapingo app with only a few swipes of the finger, and then employees can claim orders and take care of the rest, keeping the customer up to speed with delivery notices via text messages. Think of it like Uber, but for food — and now, just about everything else.

SU is one of 20 campuses where Tapingo has launched the new Walgreens partnership. Other schools include the University of Arizona, Texas Tech University, University of Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech University. Across the country, several students have tweeted their pleasure and amazement at the idea of getting Walgreens via delivery.

Sarah Henry, a freshman nursing student from the University of Arkansas, tweeted that her purchasing a gallon of milk from Walgreens was “ultimate laziness.” Another sentiment echoed by users was the fact that even some contraceptive products are available.

“Tapingo offering Plan B delivery from Walgreens is capitalism at its finest,” tweeted SU student Drew Perdue, a senior studying political science.

The Daily Orange attempted to contact the Walgreens on James Street, but a staff member could not be reached for comment.

But with Walgreens in their corner, Wagle said Tapingo is more than happy with how demand has been so far. They’re offering a 10 percent discount for a user’s first Walgreens purchase, and believes after it’s a strong enough combination that the future bodes well.

Said Wagle: “It’s just a way to make buying better on campus, no matter what it is you need to buy.”

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