Will the promise of straighter smiles bring more customers to CVS?

Discussion
Source: Smile Direct Club
Apr 26, 2019
George Anderson

CVS announced yesterday that it plans to add Smile Direct Club’s SmileShops, which offer an alternative to braces, to more than 100 of its pharmacies this year. The decision to add the SmileShops follows a successful 13-store pilot conducted by the two companies across eight states.

Also announced yesterday was that health insurer Aetna, which was acquired by CVS in November of last year, will add Smile Direct Club as an in-network option for Aetna Dental members beginning early in the summer.

“CVS Health and Smile Direct Club are aligned in the mission to put the customer at the center of their care by providing easier access to more affordable, more convenient health solutions with proven outcomes,” said Kevin Hourican, president of CVS Pharmacy and executive vice president of CVS Health, in a statement. “SmileShops at CVS Pharmacy support our dedication to enhancing the customer experience with innovative and convenient health and beauty solutions.

According to the CVS press release, cost and availability of services remain a hurdle for many consumers in need of orthodontic care in the U.S. Traditional methods for straightening teeth typically cost between $5,000 and $9,000. Consumers in 60 percent of counties in the U.S. have limited access to orthodontists. The service is recommended for consumers 12 and older.

Smile Direct Club, which was founded in 2014, uses teledentistry to provide access to a network of more than 250 dentists and orthodontists who are responsible for patient care plans. Teeth straightening services are offered for about 60 percent less than what it costs to go to an orthodontist.  

“Our collaboration opens the door for millions of CVS Pharmacy customers to be one step closer to getting a smile that they love, and can afford,” said Alex Fenkell, co-founder of Smile Direct Club. “CVS Pharmacy understands that quality and convenience are what customers crave when it comes to their health, wellness, and beauty needs.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How successful do you expect SmileShops to be for CVS? What impact will the in-network benefit for Aetna members have on the numbers of people who go to the shops to straighten their teeth?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This is smart evolutionary thinking. A big win for the customer with synergies for the retailers."
"Whether mass adoption of tele-ortho-dentistry really works will be interesting to see."
"This is truly something that CVS should be proud to sink their teeth into!"

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11 Comments on "Will the promise of straighter smiles bring more customers to CVS?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

I think this initiative will be very successful for CVS and SmileShops. This is a perfect example of a strategic partnership where the value is clear and compelling for all parties – CVS, SmileShops and consumers. The in-network benefit from Aetna makes the offering even more attractive by creating easier financial access for the service. I like this deal a lot.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Win, win, win. Talk about logical. My favorite combination of companies and services is probably still FedEx + Kinko’s = FedEx Office, but this just became a close second. This is smart evolutionary thinking. A big win for the customer with synergies for the retailers.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

The more services a retailer adds ups the in-store experience. And keeps customers closer. You can get your teeth whitened at tanning salons, and prescription eyeglasses at the grocer, so why not straighter teeth at the drug store?

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Sounds great. An exciting marketing opportunity for CVS, Aetna, and Smile Direct Club. Over time the “proof” will be in the “quality” of a smile. Not all teeth are eligible for the Smile Direct Club process. Smile Direct Club’s system of 250 dentists and orthodontists who will perform teledentistry as a one size fits all, mass implementation of a system and technique is a beginning. Whether mass adoption of tele-ortho-dentistry really works will be interesting to see. Consumer light ortho-dentistry!

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

This is a win on all fronts — profitability, brand enhancement, customer engagement, and buzz. CVS just keeps doing things right.

Herb Sorensen
BrainTrust

The logo looks like a knock-off of Amazon’s.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Why not. I have seen teeth whitening in the hallways of shopping centers. If you can’t afford the dentist, this seems like a good option. I think this will take time to build and, with the Aetna connection, that probably will happen quicker than we think.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

This is truly something that CVS should be proud to sink their teeth into!

It’s the type of “newfangled collaboration” that will drive success at retail. Thinking outside and beyond the traditional box is vital. With empowered consumers and the selfcare movement gaining steam every day, I see this as a match made in heaven.

Paco Underhill
BrainTrust

Saisbury’s, the UK grocer, has had dental offices inside a few of their stores since 2015. Their offer is to drop off the kids for a cleaning while you shop. The issue for CVS in the USA is the patchwork of dental insurance coverage in any US community — even worse than health insurance….

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

I’m a little confused as to exactly what this service offers. At one point the article says it “provide(s) access to a network of dentists and orthodontists” then says “(it’s)…about 60% less than what it costs to go to an orthodontist.” So hopefully the in-store experience will be a little clearer.

Bill Hanifin
BrainTrust

This is a wonderful way for CVS to create additional reasons to visit their stores over a competitor. This partnership delivers on the promise of a pharmacy being a central point in the wellness journey for consumers. I’ve just seen instances of the partnership in my region and it is well-executed and well-needed.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This is smart evolutionary thinking. A big win for the customer with synergies for the retailers."
"Whether mass adoption of tele-ortho-dentistry really works will be interesting to see."
"This is truly something that CVS should be proud to sink their teeth into!"

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