Could Dollar General become a go-to healthcare resource in rural America?
Dollar General plans to increase its selection of healthcare products and services across the communities it serves in rural America, making the chain more valuable to the locals in areas that have been traditionally underserved.
The retailer intends to establish itself as a destination point for customers in need of cough and cold remedies and dental and feminine hygiene products. Dollar General will also offer a selection of other health aids and nutritional and medical items.
The move, according to the retailer, is a logical step in its expansion strategy that has put one of its stores within five miles of three-quarters of the U.S. population.
“We are always looking for new ways to serve, and our customers have told us that they would like to see increased access to affordable healthcare products and services in their communities,” Todd Vasos, Dollar General CEO, said in a statement. “Our goal is to build and enhance affordable healthcare offerings for our customers.”
Dollar General has made significant customer acquisition gains across rural America since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit last year. The dollar store chain has expanded its selection of consumable and non-consumable goods during that time. Doing so has resulted in customer retention rates and net promoter scores as good as the retailer has ever produced, Mr. Vasos said in May on the chain’s first-quarter earnings call.
The retailer said in a related announcement that it had hired Albert Wu, M.D. to the newly created position of chief medical officer. Dr. Wu is expected to help develop new health care services to be offered by Dollar General and to work with “healthcare product and service providers to build a comprehensive network of affordable services” for the retailer’s customers. The company did not offer specifics on the types of services it might bring to market.
Dollar General’s new chief doctor joins the chain after working at McKinsey & Company since 2016. Dr. Wu led a team at McKinsey working on a variety of projects, including those dealing with improving healthcare for rural patients.
Mr. Vasos said Dr. Wu will bring “a unique perspective” to Dollar General as it moves into healthcare products and services for its customers.
- Dollar General Announces Plans to Increase Access to Health Care Products & Services, Expanding Health Offerings in Rural Communities Across America – Dollar General Corporation
- Dollar General Corporation (DG) Q1 2021 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
- Is now a good time for retailers to open new stores? – RetailWire
- Will dollar stores be the biggest post-COVID-19 winners? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How challenging will it be for Dollar General to move into healthcare product categories and services in rural markets? What types of services do you think Dollar General should pursue to serve the healthcare needs of consumers in rural areas and what hurdles might it face in doing so?