By: Shannon Patterson, CRP, CMSR
Partner, Kolbe Certified™ Consultant
The trend that disrupted healthcare consumerism a decade ago has entered the orthodontic market. Traditionally, retail clinics have been a convenient way for patients to visit a walk-in healthcare clinic. These clinics are located inside of retail stores, such as supermarkets and department stores and are part of a broader category called convenient care clinics (CCCs) in the medical world. Retail health is emerging as a means of delivering quality, convenient care to millions of consumers, as well as a model for healthcare systems, to consider when providing services to new and existing patient populations.
As traditional and big box retailers have watched consumers evolve, they began to understand that consumers expect convenience, quality, and transparency when choosing where to spend their time and money. Naturally, those consumers have come to expect those same experiences from healthcare providers. Therefore, retailers are aggressively stepping up and opening in-store clinics that offer convenient access to health and wellness products and services across the US, and it’s in serious growth mode. In 2007, there were 351 retail clinics in operation. Today, that number has skyrocketed to over 3,000.
CVS announced in April they plan to open hundreds of SmileDirectClub shops in its stores in 2019, offering a cheaper way to straighten teeth. Maly Bernstein, CVS’ Vice President recently stated in an interview, “This partnership is about how CVS is very much on the lookout for innovative solutions we can provide conveniently, locally and affordably.” The drugstore is trying to keep up with its changing customers. Consumers are shopping online more, especially on sites like Amazon, which hurt CVS and other retail drugstores sales in traditional beauty and household products. CVS thinks focusing on health and wellness services will be a way to draw consumers in its stores.
As of today, SmileDirectClub SmileShops are open in 57 CVS Pharmacy locations in 20 states, with planned expansion to hundreds more by the end of 2019. Click here to see if there is a SmileShop location near you.