Digital health, wearables draw in-store customers

Anne Marie Stephen and Deborah Weinswig presented an Insight Session on digital health on Monday.

DENVER — With the explosion of online shopping, consumers need more of an incentive to go to drug stores. Digital health and wearables have the potential to draw more in-store consumers, according to Deborah Weinswig, head of Global Retail and Technology, and Anne Marie Stephen, CEO and founder of Kwolia.

“I think people use drug stores as a place of influence — a place for advice — and I think that is a very different experience [from going into a department store]” Weinswig said. She and Kwolia presented an Insight Session called “Collision of Digital Health, the Consumer and Wearables” at NACDS Total Store Expo on Monday.

Technology can enhance in-store shopping for beauty and healthcare management products, according to Weinswig. Social shopping apps draw consumers to stores by allowing them to virtually engage with products. TryItOn, for example, lets consumers try on beauty products in stores.

“We think that the consumer wants to go in-store and have a great experience,” Weinswig said.

In addition to apps, wearable technology also could attract in-store consumers. Wearable devices can assist with medication adherence and physician-patient communication. “This is not something that’s going away,” Stephen said. “This is something that we should all be paying attention to.”

Wearables represent “big-ticket items” for drug stores, Weinswig said. “You’re going to start to be able to manage a lot of your health care on your wrist. And so, we’re going to see a real change in how people can take care of themselves.”

In order to effectively market these products, companies should target the “silver” generation, which represents high-income Americans ages 50 years and older, Weinswig said. Expected to expand markedly through 2020, this demographic has different spending patterns from millennials. “They’ve got money to spend, and the millennials don’t,” Weinswig said. “And every retailer that’s only focused on millennials — this is an issue.”

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