The adage of “health is wealth” is pertinent now more than ever. Flip the phrase over its head, and there is relevance there too. Wealth is health, or rather, wealth is in health. This notion had validity far before 2020. In fact, in 2019, I was prompted with the subject of“healthcare in retail” for my internship presentation here at ShopCore. The coinciding research colored the healthcare industry for me. At the time, healthcare accounted for ~17% of the national GDP. Estimates bring 2020’s to over 20%.
Healthcare has permeated far beyond the doctor’s office. Whether you are getting tested at a drive-through urgent care clinic site, vaccinated at a CVS, or completing a curbside pick-up for PPE at a nearby Target, you are capitalizing on the convenience, affordability, and safety of these alternate options. You are also affirming that these locations are essential. In a distanced world of online ordering and zoom calls, we still need these physical sites.
2021 began with an influx of COVID-19 vaccinations. And while they have not been distributed to the mass public yet, retailers are already anticipating what this could mean for their businesses. Drugstores and supermarkets are looking to become superheroes.
“Cost, convenience, co-tenancy” – a mantra that hums through the ShopCore collective will apply to this scenario as healthcare in retail will aid with all three (while saving lives)! As of July 2020, 5.4 million Americans had lost their health insurance amid the pandemic. Retailers like Walmart strive to aid in this loss of access by providing affordable and convenient primary care clinics inside their megastore wheelhouses, truly creating a one-stop-shop.
As we know, getting a consumer in the door is half (if not more) of the battle. I foresee that these vaccinations may act as a catalyst to renew in-store shopping. The difference between visiting a COVID-19 testing site at a retail center and visiting a vaccine site at a retail center is paramount. Often, consumers are getting tested because they are under the impression that they have been exposed to COVID-19 or have already begun feeling ill. However, if a vaccine is administered within a store, the “well, I’m already here” mentality may kick in. This may be the first time a consumer has been back inside a physical store in nearly a year, which means that the process of “returning to normal” starts inside a physical retail space for many people.
Outside of the optimistic outlook for existing tenants are the opportunities that vaccine administration creates for vacant units. Hundreds of closed Sears across the nation are aiding in the nationwide effort to vaccinate the COVID-19 vaccine to millions of Americans. Baseball stadiums, fairgrounds, and even a Disneyland Resort parking lot are being converted to vaccination sites in California.
A shot in the arm for consumers could end up being a shot in the arm for retailers. These vaccination sites reiterate the need for physical space is not going anywhere. Rather it is changing. Health has the opportunity to boost spirits and the economy alike.