Where Can You Find a Retail “Boost” to Your Bottom Line?

In case you haven’t noticed, many healthcare services are now on the fast track toward “retailization.”

For example, within the past two weeks I have seen flu shots sold at the airport, the upscale gym I frequent, and also my mother’s Walgreens pharmacy.

Of these new-kid-on-the-block flu shot providers, Walgreens was the most sophisticated. They had a large banner facing a heavily trafficked street, plus internal point-of-purchase signage to boot. This particular pharmacy serves a large senior population, and I noticed several “sweet little old ladies” waiting in line, their sleeves dutifully rolled up.

Please note that Walgreens not only gets extra revenue from providing the flu shots, but also generates goodwill, foot traffic and add-on sales from seniors who wish to avoid the flu without the inconvenience of a formal doctor visit.

What struck me about all this is how fast things are changing.

LASIK surgery is really a competitive retail business these days, doc-in-a-box retail locations abound in drug and grocery stores, and flu shots are offered nearly everywhere.

While many providers (doctors and hospitals) often gloomily complain about declining revenues, savvy retailers and others recognize competitive voids in the marketplace and seize the day.

After all, every flu shot my mother’s Walgreens provides does NOT come from a neighborhood doctor.

Of course, I am not saying everyone needs to provide flu shots (though some of you should).

Rather, I merely wish to remind you that creative thinking can open new opportunities, especially when you look at things from the consumers point of view. You may think offering flu shots would appear “salesy,” but consumers see it as “convenient.”

There are dozens of services beyond flu shots that providers can offer, including:  therapeutic massages, teeth whitening, cosmetic services, sports enhancement programs, work and school physicals, workplace evaluations, supplements, weight loss programs and others. These kinds of other services can open whole new, non-insurance, “consumer direct” opportunities.

Sometimes you can build revenue easily, by asking patients during their office visits something like, “Have you had your flu shot?”

Other times, your new idea might be bigger, and lead to an entirely new business. Of course, whole new businesses usually will require time, money and courage.

Either way, I have to ask you….

Which new consumer-direct services are you going to provide this year?