NEW YORK Valley Hospital’s foray into online retailing marks the second healthcare provider to make its way into the wired retail space after Medco Health went live with its online site powered by Drugstore.com earlier this summer.
Successful online retailing of over-the-counter and nutritional products is driven in part by an increasing comfort level among baby boomers shopping online. Consider this, according to a ThirdAge/JWTBOOM survey on boomer online shopping habits released last summer, boomers who shop online are Reaganesque in their desire to “trust but verify.” As many as 83% reported online content needed to be attributed to experts, authors or authorities with subject matter credibility; and 66% said they trust sites whose content is sponsored by a company they “know and trust.” What better source for credibility than your local hospital or employer’s healthcare provider (or local neighborhood pharmacy, for that matter)?
Online retailing is becoming the latest frontier for healthcare purchases, as evidenced by the growing success of such pureplay Internet retailers as Drugstore.com and Amazon.com, as well as such brick-and-click retailers as RiteAid.com, Walgreens.com and CVS.com.
The danger for brick-and-click retailers, however, is the potential of a lost shopping trip, which would place even their own online retail destinations as competitors to their corner stores. And that means one less opportunity to grow the size of the marketbasket through impulse buys.
However, Rite Aid may have figured out how to translate that engaged online shopper into a physical store visit. Earlier this month the chain announced its Rite Aid Video Values program, which takes its online visitors and entices them to view product promotions by providing coupon offers good on their next visit to Rite Aid.