Will the promise of straighter smiles bring more customers to CVS?
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.”
- CVS Health and Smile Direct Club Team Up to Expand Access and Affordability to Innovative Solution for Achieving a Straighter Smile – CVS
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?