Today, I saw a stat on Good Morning America stating that 36% of respondents would visit an in-store medical care center. This information was shared in the context of an announcement that Walmart will be opening Care Clinics in rural areas of South Carolina and Texas. These clinics will provide affordable medical treatment to residents/shoppers who cannot afford treatment and/or do not have access to care because of their remote locations. A visit will cost clients $40; and after the visit, prescriptions can be picked up at the pharmacy where Walmart offers a 30-day supply for only $4. An additional perk is the fact that shoppers can coordinate their medical visit with their grocery shopping trips, maximizing their time and transportation.
So how is this different from what Walmart already does? Well for starters, Walmart does not run the existing medical clinics; it hosts leases with local hospitals. These new clinics will be fully owned and operated by the company and branded explicitly as one-stop shops for primary care. In addition, the clinics will be open longer and later than competitors: 12 hours per day during the week and another 8-plus hours per day on weekends. This format is similar to what Walgreens currently offers in its retail stores.
So why is this a big deal for shopper research? This concept is being offered when medical care is a big issue, and it provides shoppers with more power and control over how and where they spend their money in a market that is controlled and restrictive. Also, this concept overlays efficiency and expands on one-stop shopping. We should monitor how this influences shoppers’ behavior and how it changes the landscape.
Picture source: Walmart Care Clinic