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Healthcare Ecosystem 2021: Retail’s Role in the Future of Care


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In Brief

  • UPshow surveyed 500 consumers and 250 retail healthcare executives across the U.S. and found that many consumers increased their usage of retail health during the pandemic in an effort to make fewer trips and avoid overcrowded doctors’ offices.
  • 1 in 10 consumers don’t know that retail health clinics take their insurance — a misconception that is stalling conversions. 
  • As many as 50% of pharmacy patients are willing to engage more with common retail health services, but retailers aren’t communicating services clearly.
  • COVID-19 has radically reshaped consumer perception of retail health clinics. 49% of consumers say they’d prefer to use retail clinics as opposed to standalone facilities for non-urgent health needs after the pandemic subsides

Big misconceptions about care are stalling conversions

Most consumers would consider using far more retail healthcare services than they actually use now, suggesting a lack of awareness around these offerings and also money left on the table. Additionally, it suggests some consumers don’t trust certain retail health functions enough to convert from considering the services to actually using them.

Gap between services used and services considered

Services consumers would consider using
Services consumers have used in the past 6 months

Retailers are leaving money on the table

Customers are open and willing to spend more and take advantage of additional healthcare services in stores, but many retailers admit they don’t prioritize their communications to support these initiatives. Just over a third of customers are guaranteed to leave the store with an aftercare purchase — a huge missed upsell opportunity, especially considering consumer openness to additional spending.

There’s Too Much Paper for a Digital World

Consumers want more digital experiences, and retail health wants to innovate. But our study shows a misalignment between consumers’ expectations and retailers’ ability to deliver. Further, the data from retailers we surveyed points to a misperception around what retailers believe they’re providing in stores and what customers are truly experiencing.

Misalignment between consumer expectations and reality

Top 3 most common interactions
Top 3 most valuable interactions 

COVID-19 Has Blown the Door Open for Retail Health

For many consumers, the COVID-19 pandemic was the impetus to rely on retail health more frequently — or even use it for the first time — as they sought to avoid overcrowded doctors’ offices and consolidate their trips. But while the pandemic will be temporary, our data shows these behavioral changes will not be.

Permanent shifts in consumer behavior

Consumers who increased their usage of
retail health clinics during the pandemic
Consumers who are now more likely to use
retail health clinics after the pandemic ends