Wal-Mart Tuesday said it’s expanding its health and wellness initiatives, including moving protein bars into more prominent places on grocery shelves and near point-of-sales counters.
The retailer will also be offering free health screenings like blood pressure readings at all of its U.S. stores this Saturday, an event Wal-Mart is calling a nationwide health fair.
Select stores will also offer vaccines, and the retailer will offer consultations to help customers choose health exchanges.
The move by Wal-Mart is a big push to increase its market share in the increasingly competitive health space, which Target and many drugstore retailers are also targeting.
Any services -- which at Wal-Mart Stores include banking and insurance resources as well as health and wellness -- that bring customers into stores will help the retailer compete with Amazon because, despite its popular search capabilities and price competition, Amazon has no stores. Target, however, does have stores and is also focused on boosting its wellness offerings, although it has also ceded its pharmacy business to CVS, which will run pharmacies inside Target stores once the sale of Target’s pharmacy business to CVS is complete.
These new services are a way for Wal-Mart to ensure that traditional customers don’t gravitate to the many drugstores (and Target) that are also increasingly offering clinics, health screenings, basic health care services, medication management, and health products.
“We’re probably a little bit ahead of the customer here but we certainly think that that’s where the customer is going,” Michelle Gloeckler, EVP for consumables and health and wellness at Walmart, said on a conference call. Gloeckler indicated that the prominent placement of nutrition bars in Wal-Mart stores opens the door for the retailer to grow its number of health and wellness product offerings.
“Those are all great opportunities to serve the Wal-Mart customer better, and gets them to be more and more sticky,” Jason Goldberg, VP of commerce at digital marketing firm Razorfish who also blogs at Retail Geek, told Retail Dive. “Do your taxes here, cash your paycheck, do your grocery shopping. This is how to improve the share of wallet for that core Wal-Mart customer, more so than trying to move upscale and appeal to style shoppers" the way, say, Target and others do.