CVS Health and Walgreens want to give customers something to (they hope) grin about. Both pharmacy giants are taking steps toward offering dental care in stores, with the chains now offering pilot programs of dental-related services in select locations, according to CNBC.
Six select CVS locations now offer in-store kiosks to create models for invisible braces sold by SmileDirectClub, one of several startups in the smile-straightening space. SmileDirectClub has 200 locations nationwide. (Patents on Invisalign’s technology expired in Oct. 2017, which dramatically expanded the market for teeth-straightening kits and the companies that sell them direct to consumers.) And Walgreens has made room for an Aspen Dental office inside a Florida location of the pharmacy as an early test to see how consumers respond to the partnership.
The Florida location makes sense, with a high population of retired and elderly residents in the state. Because Medicare benefits do not typically include dental care, seniors relying on federal healthcare coverage still have to pay out of pocket for any dental work. By offering onsite dental options within a Walgreens location, Aspen Dental may be able to reach a new demographic that needs its services.
CVS Health and Walgreens have been experimenting with new ways to attract and retain customers in the past few years. In 2018, for example, CVS launched delivery for prescription drugs and other medication in order to compete with Amazon.