- As big-box retailers continue to ink partnerships with DTC brands, Walmart is looking to elevate its health and wellness aisle. Healthcare technology company Ro launched its exclusive Roman men's over-the-counter products at 4,600 Walmart locations and on Walmart's website May 1.
- For Ro's first retail partnership, the company will debut a line of vitamins and supplements for heart health, stress relief, testosterone support and prostate health, as well as swipes and condoms, according to a company press release. Roman products will be at 97% of Walmart stores in the U.S. by June.
- Walmart customers will also have the option to take advantage of Ro's telehealth services for additional healthcare needs, per the release.
When it comes to choosing which DTC brands to add to their consumer packaged goods mainstays, retail giants are seeing the value of forming partnerships with health and wellness companies.
Walmart's partnership with Ro is "one of the first times" a DTC brand has joined the retailer's lineup with a cross-category merchandise offering, the release said.
"We know people are starting their healthcare journeys in a number of places," George Koveos, Ro's chief operations officer, said in a statement. "For some, it's in a doctor's office or online through a telehealth visit. For others, it may be in their local Walmart or retail pharmacy."
The collaboration between traditional retailers and digitally native brands can benefit both sides.
Being in physical locations gives DTC brands the potential for more sales and direct access to consumers who might not be aware of their existence. Feminine hygiene brand Lola partnered with Walmart last year and sold over 10 million products through the retailer in its first six months, Retail Brew reported last year. Wellness brand Care/of released a new vitamin line exclusively at Target in March.
For traditional retailers, teaming up with DTC brands allows them to form a relationship with a new consumer demographic that might not typically shop with them.
The popularity of DTC brands seems to have caught the eye of investors too. Ro raised $500 million in a Series D funding round in March led by General Catalyst, FirstMark Capital and TQ Ventures, according to PitchBook data. The recent funding brings the company's valuation to $5 billion, reports indicate.
The company was valued at $1.5 billion in July last year, according to PitchBook.