Clinically Speaking, Wal-Mart Sees Healthy Opportunity

Discussion
Apr 13, 2007

By George Anderson

Wal-Mart has tested 75 in-store clinics in 12 states and it has all the information it needs to make an informed decision on what it will do next, according to Reuters.

Alicia Ledlie, senior director for Wal-Mart’s health business development, said the information has led the chain to determine it needs to speed up the rate in which clinics open in its stores.

Ms. Ledlie said Wal-Mart is not the only one on to the in-store clinic opportunity. She told attendees at Healthcare Retail ’07 in Orlando that Wal-Mart projects there will be more than 6,600 clinics operating in various retailers’ stores within the next five years.

Wal-Mart, said Ms. Ledlie, is considering providing in-store clinics with automated systems to allow medical records to follow consumers as they use facilities in different stores. She said she saw an opportunity to develop a universal record system that could be used for all in-store clinics and not just those located inside a Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club.

Discussion Questions: How will Wal-Mart’s clear intention to accelerate in-store clinic openings affect what others do? Do you see reasons why others should or should not play follow-the-Wal-Mart-leader in the in-store clinic space? Do you believe any particular trade channel or store format type stands to benefit the most from having medical clinics on the premises?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

8 Comments on "Clinically Speaking, Wal-Mart Sees Healthy Opportunity"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
David Livingston
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Is it me or am I just imagining this? Every time I go buy one of those in-store clinics, the nurse is just sitting there reading a magazine or trying to look busy. I rarely see them occupied with a customer. They want to charge money for the same shots that the county health department does for free. Until I see people lined up to get treated, I’m not buying into any of this.

Dick Seesel
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Wal-Mart in particular stands to benefit, and the strategy goes hand-in-hand with its focus on more affordable generic prescription drugs. It’s a good way to establish a “headquarters” positioning on health issues that resonate with its customer base (and the aging population in general) along with leading the national dialogue on more affordable health care and health insurance. Wal-Mart has also taken on the leading position on “green” issues among national retailers. Both of these are smart strategies to drive sales and traffic, and will help smooth out the short-term bumps in the road related to faulty fashion merchandising and marketing.

cathey gordon
Guest
cathey gordon
15 years 1 month ago

These convenient, quality care clinics are such a great idea, and provide affordable health care when you need it. Consumers are demanding these services as they become more aware of their own personal health.

Consumer Driven Healthcare will drive these clinics into being much more than they are today and they will be the connection for the patient and their physicians. Wal-Mart is going down the right path here and everyone should be watching and following in their own way!

Bernie Slome
Guest
Bernie Slome
15 years 1 month ago

In-store clinics is not new. Wal-Mart doing it means news. Wal-Mart is looking to compete with the CVSs and Walgreens of the world. If Wal-Mart is more aggressive in opening up clinics than the drug chains, then they could also gain an advantage. If both Wal-Mart and the drug chain has a clinic, it will all come down to who the consumer trusts.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

The average Wal-Mart location has way more traffic than the average chain drugstore location, so in-store Wal-Mart clinics will probably do better than in-store clinics elsewhere. Let’s see if a price war erupts.

Alison Chaltas
Guest
Alison Chaltas
15 years 1 month ago

With foot-traffic in the 130MM plus range per week, Wal-Mart certainly has the opportunity to leverage the sheer number of shoppers in their stores. Compare this to the marketing benchmark of the 90MM+ people who sit down on a specific Sunday afternoon in February to tune in to the Super Bowl.

Consumers are already purchasing items that historically would have been unlikely for a Wal-Mart shopper: high-end electronics, expensive jewelry and furniture in Wal-Mart, so while medical care is a more personal “purchase,” the leap is not such a big one.

As has already been mentioned, consumers are flocking to Wal-Mart for low-priced prescriptions. If any retailer has a chance to successfully make this a significant opportunity to offer services to consumers as well as to leverage clinics to continue to build relevancy and a consistent connection, it’s Wal-Mart. Their challenge will be doing so in a way that feels professional, clinical, and comfortable and keeping the value and convenience Wal-Mart shoppers expect.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 1 month ago
The real benefit derived by large retail employers from in-store clinics will be controlling the costs of healthcare and workers’ compensation for their employees. Having worked closely with this industry here in California where workers’ comp and healthcare costs are, some say, the highest in the nation, I’ve seen how quickly costs escalate through the use of third-party brokers and of care providers who are not sufficiently controlled. As we’re learning from domestic auto manufacturers, large retailers, and other employers, healthcare (including workers’ comp costs) is among their largest expenses. If a retailer can offer healthcare benefits to their employees predicated on the notion that they must receive all their clinic-type care from their employer’s in-store clinics, control is asserted, third-party brokers are eliminated, and costs drop. A great deal of workers’ comp-related care can also be provided there, as well as prescriptions. Retailers get the “good guy” award for providing healthcare benefits while operating a profitable clinic business. Also, since we know that it’s cheaper to prevent health problems than to treat them, employees… Read more »
Bob Armstrong
Guest
Bob Armstrong
15 years 1 month ago
With sales flat in many store locations, Wal-Mart’s meager growth has been in their new store development. The medical business is booming, and is outpacing inflation three to one with the need to provide low-cost healthcare solutions never having been greater than now. The middle-class has a desire for reasonable healthcare costs. The company or entity that can deliver quality care for less will win a respectable market share of that multi-trillion dollar industry. I say, why not Wal-Mart? It’s estimated that since January 1, 2007, Wal-Mart’s $4 for 30 day prescriptions has already saved their customers over $200 million dollars in prescription cost. That’s money now being spent in their stores on clothing, sporting goods, cosmetics and toys and brings customers back more regularly. The great marketer, Jay Abraham, has said that businesses can only grow 3 ways. First, by developing more customers; second, by having customers visit more often and third, having customers spend more of their money each time they visit. Most businesses focus on the first method generally. Wal-Mart is focusing… Read more »
wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Which trade channel/store formats do you think stands to benefit most from the presence of in-store clinics?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...