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GNC to launch drone delivery

GNC storefront
GNC will deliver online orders via drone.

GNC is adding a high-tech twist to its delivery service.

The specialty health-and-wellness retailer is partnering with drone technology provider Zipline to offer a fully electric drone delivery option in select markets in the U.S. in 2023 and beyond. This follows the launch of same-day delivery in partnership with Shipt in 2021, as well as the introduction of buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup/click-and-collect, and ship-from-store using enVista technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning with Salt Lake City this summer, GNC will work with Zipline to offer residential product deliveries via drone. GNC customers who want to use the Zipline service in Salt Lake County, Utah, will first sign up with Zipline to confirm their delivery address is eligible. Once confirmed, Zipline delivery will be available for those customers when they order from the GNC e-commerce site.

In Utah, GNC will kick off drone delivery by using Zipline's Platform 1 long-range delivery system, which features a fleet of small, fixed-wing, fully autonomous aircraft that operate quietly and release packages with parachutes to a customer's yard.

In 2024, GNC will begin using Zipline's newly announced Platform 2 system, which is designed specifically for urban delivery. Zipline says deliveries with its drones use 97% less energy than traditional automotive methods.

"Partnering with Zipline is propelling GNC to the cutting edge in the retail category," said Alan Chester, chief supply chain officer, GNC. "Drone delivery is an innovative way to make our fulfillment, distribution, and delivery processes more efficient, more effective, and faster, ultimately benefiting our consumers. We're excited for this initial test in one U.S. market while considering domestic expansion."

"The addition of Zipline's drone delivery within our omnichannel mix allows GNC to continue to optimize its transportation and distribution network for efficiencies," Chester said. "It lightens the burden on our dual distribution centers by leveraging the store-fulfillment model during which our expert coaches package the products and have Zipline deliver them. Plus, by fulfilling orders with products that are already nearby, we can get purchases to consumers faster."

"Zipline is faster, more convenient and better for the environment than traditional automotive delivery. We provide the best delivery experience not on earth for consumers and businesses of any size and industry," said Irene Scher, senior VP of U.S. go-to-market at Zipline. "We're excited for GNC customers to use Zipline to achieve their wellness goals in a far more convenient way than before."

Based in Pittsburgh, GNC operates more than 3,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

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