The Latest Traffic Driver: Swine Flu Shots
By Tom Ryan
In a bid to
boost traffic and promote their in-store clinics, many retailers are aggressively
marketing themselves as the place to go for H1N1 vaccine shots.
the Wall Street Journal, Rite Aid is placing signs that read, “Protect
Yourself: H1N1 Vaccinations Are Available,” on its front doors along with
similar banners inside. Kroger is promoting its H1N1 flu shots on the cover
of its weekly ad circulars. Starting next year, Walgreen plans to advertise
vaccine shots in television spots. Others offering vaccines include Wal-Mart,
CVS Caremark and Safeway.
began distributing the shots via retailers just before Christmas. Until
then, most vaccination efforts were focused on priority groups.
The Journal said
that with the vaccine becoming more widely available, stores are taking
the opportunity to publicize their enhanced health-care solutions beyond
the pharmacy. Many now have in-store clinics staffed by nurse practitioners
and physician assistants to provide basic services and advice. Kroger owns
a stake in a chain of clinics that operate in around 100 of its nearly
see flu shots as a traffic driver in a tough market. While H1N1 infections
have been declining for several weeks, the government is running public-service
ads to boost awareness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
said last week that about one-fifth of the U.S. population has been vaccinated
and about half still want the shot. An active H1N1 vaccine program may
also lead to a bump in other flu-prevention products, such as hand sanitizer.
see potential opportunity” in the vaccinations, Brian Dowling, a spokesman
for grocer Safeway, told the newspaper. “The vast majority of our pharmacy
customers shop the rest of the store.”
the Journal, retailers don’t appear to make much money directly
off the shots, which cost between $10 to $18. The federal government supplies
the vaccines free to stores and retailers can charge an administrative
fee no higher than the regional Medicare payment rates for seasonal-flu
vaccines. Retailers claim these fees cover the costs of shipping
and handling, as well as labor.
Questions: Is marketing H1N1 vaccine shots a smart way for retailers
to drive traffic and promote health care options? What’s the likelihood
that retail’s possibly widescale role in distributing H1N1 vaccine shots
will lift its profile as a health care solution?
- Retailers Jockey
to Market Swine-Flu Shots – The Wall Street Journal
and MinuteClinic to Provide H1N1 Vaccinations Coast to Coast – CVS