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Walmart’s Store No. 8 incubator has announced the launch of its second portfolio company, Spatial&. It will focus on the opportunities to create new virtual commerce (V-commerce) experiences.

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CVS Health has launched three new pilot stores in Houston as part of its focus on creating a destination for wellness.

Developing a new customer-centric healthcare model

The new HealthHUB format has been launched within CVS Pharmacy stores in Houston. Last year, the company outlined plans for a new store format which would offer a range of innovative healthcare services following its $69bn acquisition of Aetna, a leading healthcare insurance company. The combination of CVS and Aetna provides an opportunity for the enlarged business to develop a new healthcare model and create a new customer experience. The aim has been to create a “convenient health care destination” for consumers, blending existing pharmacy support programs and its MinuteClinic services with a new, broader offer.

Source: CVS Health

Extended range of healthcare services

Key elements of the HealthHUB include new product categories, digital tools, on-demand health kiosks and a broader range of healthcare services. Over 20% of store space is dedicated to health services including durable medical equipment and product and service combinations for sleep apnea and diabetes care. The store also offers one-on-one and group counselling on nutritional health, led by a licensed dietitian. Customers can also use iPads at 'Learn Tables' to explore health and wellness apps and shop for an extended range of products online.

Source: CVS Health

’Care Concierge’ role to engage with customers

The HealthHUB is led by a ‘Care Concierge’ to engage with customers around the new service offerings. This includes helping them to navigate the store and events and connecting them to in-store healthcare providers. CVS professionals can make us of new Wellness Rooms, while community partners can host group events including health-focused and yoga classes.

Source: CVS Health

Building resilience against digitised healthcare

Drugstore retailers are increasingly looking to broaden the products and services they offer. In part this is being driven by demographic trends but also a desire to be more resilient against the anticipation of stronger online-based competition in the future. Earlier this year, CVS partnered with SmileDirectClub at six locations, enabling customers to be fitted for invisible braces. Walgreens has also opened a dental office within one of its stores in Florida, while in Chicago, it has been piloting a vision clinic.

Source: CVS Health

Loblaw’s Wellwise format helping shoppers to “age powerfully”

In Canada, Loblaw has launched the Wellwise format, developed to help customers “age powerfully.” The store offers a broader range of products for wellness, active living and mobility, along with healthcare services like those offered by the HealthHUB at CVS. This store format enables it to tap into the trend for a growing segment of the elderly population to remain active in older age.

Aligned with our trends to watch

These developments align with one of our key trends for 2019, ‘Help me be healthy’. This year, we expect to see more retailers developing formats and services which enable them to educate, inform and reward shoppers to live healthier lives.

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We look at the retailer’s launch of Kroger Pay and how it fits into its focus on improving the checkout experience.

Designed to reduce friction

Kroger Pay is a mobile payment solution that combines a customer’s payment and loyalty card information. This has been developed to help it deliver a faster checkout-experience and reduce friction. The retailer also continues to roll-out its self-scanning solution, Scan, Bag, Go, as part of its focus on making its large format stores more convenient to shop. This programme was extended to 400 stores last year. Mobile payments and wallets are a key focus for retailers in the US. Walmart, Target and CVS Pharmacy have launched their own solutions. Several retailers including Costco, Whole Foods Market and 7-Eleven have added Apple Pay as a payment option.

Source: Kroger

How it works

Kroger Pay provides customers with a single-use QR code that is scanned at either a traditional checkout or self-checkout. This communicates payment and loyalty card information, along with any digital coupons and personalised offers. Kroger Pay also rewards customers who use a payment option from the retailer’s personal finance business, enabling them to earn fuel points and grocery rewards with a single scan. Kroger Pay can also be linked to any major debit, credit or prepaid card.

Supports development of new profit streams

As part of this launch, the retailer is also introducing a new ‘REWARDS’ debit card. Customers using this new payment method will be able to gain bonus fuel points, discounts on private brand products and double rewards points when combined with Kroger Pay. Growing its Kroger Personal Finance business is a key element of the retailer’s Restock Kroger strategic plan, supporting its goal to generate alternative profit streams.

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Amazon has launched an online platform, Amazon Live, that allows sellers to live-stream videos showcasing their products.

Amazon Live

Through the Amazon Live Creator app, Amazon enables brands to livestream directly to and the Amazon mobile app. Through live streaming, merchants are able to showcase their products, interact with customers live and tell their brand story. Alongside the videos, shoppers are able to browse product details and purchase the items they wish. Sellers can also pay to promote their videos and reach a wider number of customers.

Amazon Live streams multiple videos at once, so customers are able to chose and watch the ones that interest them the most, changing to a different stream when they want. Recordings of previous live streams are also available, as well as information on which live streams are coming up next.

A wide range of products are available on Amazon Live, including toys, electronics, home goods and games.

More comprehensive content

Amazon’s new streaming platform highlights just how important video is set to be, and also how retailers are increasingly offering shoppers more comprehensive content. The platform has a number of benefits including driving traffic to and the retailer’s app, overcoming barriers to purchase, and inspiring shoppers into purchasing new products.


For more information on Amazon, Retail Analysis subscribers can read and download our Strategic outlook for Amazon report here.


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