Let’s talk about Walmart and Amazon and retail clinics. These retail giants have been causing quite a stir in the healthcare industry lately — but they’re not the only ones. Retail clinics are on the rise, as leaders at major retailers feel that healthcare is becoming too expensive. In order to offer alternative options to their employees and their customers, many companies have taken the matter into their own hands. But what does this mean for traditional healthcare providers and their market share?
Understanding the New Players
Both Amazon and Walmart are playing to their strengths right now. Amazon is entering the industry with pharmaceutical fulfillment and delivery, and Walmart is opening clinics in their already-established brick and mortar stores. They are also both facing a similar challenge at the moment, too: building trust with healthcare consumers. They might already have loyal followings in the retail sphere, but healthcare warrants trust on a deeper level.
Walmart isn’t the only physical retailer moving into the healthcare space. CVS and Walgreens are also establishing themselves as an outpatient-care option. These stores are causing trouble for hospitals, especially, whose patient volumes are decreasing. Retail clinics are often lower cost than traditional healthcare facilities, and they can also be more convenient.
Competing with Retail Clinics
These retail clinics are attracting low-level, fairly simple cases. Patients with the flu or strep throat or someone needing a vaccination would be likely to visit this outpatient option. Sicker, more difficult patients are still visiting private practices, which can make delivering care more strenuous than before.
Let’s face the elephant in the room: your practice most likely won’t be able to compete on price. Retail clinics are typically very low-cost, and they usually have fewer regulations to handle. If you won’t win the budget battle, here are some other tactics you can use to retain your current patients by building patient loyalty and attract new patients to increase your market share.
- Offer Extended Hours
While this won’t be easy, it will make life much more convenient for patients who are unable to leave work for a somewhat minor medical concern. By opening early or staying late, you can show your patients that you care about their wellbeing and are willing to adapt to their schedule, even if it’s only two days a week. If you really can’t change the hours you’re open, consider offering telehealth services instead.
A big draw for the retail clinics is that busy patients can visit quickly before or after work. Experiment to see what kind of schedule flexibility you can offer your patients to best serve them.
- Post Your Prices
Price transparency is becoming critically important to patients. By showing your prices upfront, patients will feel more confident in choosing you. Besides, the retail clinic is probably advertising low prices everywhere. Your prices might not be as high as patients think, but if you don’t tell them, they’ll never know.
- Deliver a Great Patient Experience
Highly satisfied consumers are more likely to recommend products and providers they love. If you can improve the patient loyalty among the people who are currently choosing you over the retail clinics, they will likely share your name the next time a friend or relative asks them who to see about a sore throat.
- Use Segmented Messaging
Every person communicates differently. By delivering the right message to your patients (or prospective patients) at the right time with the right language, you could sway them to choose your facility over a retail clinic. The secret to making these “right” choices is using psychographic segmentation, a proven and proprietary model that places consumers into one of five categories based on their preferences, choices and lifestyles. From here, you can understand healthcare consumers on a new level. Self Achievers, for example, like to see progress measures. Willful Endurers, on the other hand, can only handle one step of the care process at a time.
Psychographic segmentation can be a true differentiator when it comes to helping you stand out from retail clinics. It can help you create personalized messaging for current patients, advertising copy for attracting new patients and generally help you understand each person’s approach to health and wellness and why they act the way they do. This can also help you deliver a great patient experience, because you’ll know what is important to each patient.
In a 2018 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, a national study done on health consumers, Balance Seekers are statistically more likely than any other segment to strongly disagree with the statement “I will go to the doctor at the first sign of health concerns.” This segment is holistic and likes to pull information from multiple sources, so they don’t completely trust their doctor. So, if you have a Balance Seeker patient that isn’t feeling the greatest, but might not need the doctor at all or yet, it would be best to stay engaged with them by sharing various amounts of health information so they can decide whether or not they need the doctor. Patients want providers that understand them and respect their approach to managing their health. If you approach your messaging and engagement that way, you’ll easily build loyalty.
Competing with retail clinics isn’t easy, but by providing flexible schedules, displaying your prices and using psychographic segmentation to build patient loyalty, you can set your organization up for success. Retail clinics are growing, but there are plenty of services only traditional facilities can offer. By focusing on these unique opportunities, you can attract the right patients and build your market share.
For more on psychographic segmentation and how it can help you attract the right patients, thus increasing your market share, download our whitepaper.