An aging population and up to 30 million newly insured people without regular doctors are just two of the reasons that many see in-store clinics as a means for retailers to capture share of the growing healthcare market.
The rationale behind the clinics make sense: a consumer visits a store for a physical, a vaccination, etc. and winds up also purchasing prescription medicines, over-the-counter remedies and other products that may or many not have anything to do with their medical condition.
As a Bloomberg News piece points out, former Walmart CEO Lee Scott was bullish enough on the concept to announce back in 2007 that the chain would have 2,000 clinics operating in its stores by 2012. Mr. Scott's vision did not come to fruition, however, as only 130 clinics now operate in Walmart stores. Third-party providers who operate clinics in Walmart locations complain, according to the report, of a lack of support from the retailer.
On the other end of the spectrum is CVS with its MinuteClinic operation. Today, the chain is opening about three new in-store clinics a week and plans to go from its current 630 number to 1,500 in the space of four years.
Walgreens, which also slowed in-store clinic openings since the Great Recession hit, is looking to ramp up its Take Care facilities again. The drugstore chain currently has 364 clinics in operation.
"Everyone who plays in this space is expecting a big bump on January 1, 2014," Peter Hotz, vice president of Take Care Health Systems, told Bloomberg. "With President Obama being re-elected, it's full-steam ahead."
Which is the more effective strategy for retailers looking to cash in on the in-store clinic opportunity?