CVS Health is staging a makeover that shows intent on forming a new retail category in the U.S.Exciting things are happening at CVS Health. While it’s already a well-established leader in the drugstore sector, the retailer has its sights set on expanding its reach and changing the way consumers think about the brand as a whole. As Barbara Thau explains in a piece for Forbes, we may even come to think of CVS as “the Whole Foods of Drugstore Retailing.”
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“CVS Health is staging a makeover that seems intent on creating an entirely new retail category in the U.S.: a national health-and-wellness drugstore chain,” she writes.
For CVS, that means a bit of a shift in its overall vision. As George Coleman, vice president of healthcare, pricing, and business planning for CVS explains, that means focusing on what has become the hottest segment of its overall business: health and wellness. Coleman notes that there was a lightbulb moment “when looking at how customers are seeking more holistic and proactive solutions for health goals and concerns.”
In essence, the retailer is hoping that it can take a niche-oriented market such as wellness and transform it into something that will resonate in a mass-market retail space.
“When looking at the market as a whole, classic, over-the-counter health products, characterized traditionally as acute symptom relief treatments are more than 90% penetrated in the mass channel," Coleman continued.
As Thau explains, the new vision of CVS doesn’t stop with the usual suspects in the health and wellness niche such as supplements and creams, but it also means an expanded assortment of foods that would normally only be found in a health food store.
“The 9,600-store merchant is on a mission to transform its stores into destinations for healthcare, beauty, and food with organic and natural bona fides, and is nurturing a product mix that it hopes will be known more for items like Spectrum flaxseed than Kellogg’s Fruit Loops,” Thau continued.
On the food front, CVS has its sights set on what the company refers to as “better-for-you” options. That means an expansion of in-store displays touting specific products and their health benefits, as well as expanded offerings of on-the-go items like raw and vegan snacks, and products that fall in line with specific dietary requirements such as heart healthy, gluten free, non-GMO.
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The new format means a revamping of its existing stores. Less space will be granted to familiar items such as books, magazines and greeting cards moving forward, while an additional 100 feet of merchandise featuring health, beauty and food products will be prevalent. The new format will be introduced in 70 stores this year, and another 100 more are slated for makeovers in 2018.