Best Buy Pushes Into Health Care Industry

On the latest episode of the E-Commerce Retail Briefing podcast:

Best Buy is making moves into the health care space. The industry leaves a lot of room for disruption, with health care being a pain point for many customers. The company’s plan will include selling everything from fitness machines to health-monitoring services for seniors. The strategy could see Best Buy grab some of the $3.5 trillion market for health spending in the U.S.

  • Halloween spending is estimated to reach near-record highs this year. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, this year’s total anticipated Halloween spend is $8.8 billion, the third-highest in the history of the survey. The shoppers surveyed said they plan to spend an average of $86.27 on Halloween costumes and decor this year.
  • Consulting firm, McKinsey & Co, is opening its first-ever retail store in the Mall of America. McKinsey plans to operate the store for at least a year, rotating a variety of brands and tech providers every few months to test what works with shoppers and what flops. McKinsey’s brand won’t be evident in the store, but the company hopes it will gather data they can use to advise clients. The store will debut with jewelry from Kendra Scott and products from popular brand, ThirdLove.
  • Amazon is quietly entering the health care space. This month, Amazon launched, a new health care option for its Seattle-area employees. The program includes online doctor visits as well as in-home nurse visits. Employees can also use the program to deliver prescriptions to their homes and gives them access to chat with a nurse through its app. The move seems to be the company’s way of simplifying healthcare for employees, but it could be something bigger. Amazon hasn’t been quiet about its long-term interest in disrupting the health care space. However, changing the health care system isn’t an easy job for anyone, but the retail giant can use its employees to test options before potentially rolling something out to its customer base.

Best Buy Sees Potential In Health Care Space

Amazon isn’t the only company that sees potential in the health care industry. With a $3.5 trillion market up for grabs, Best Buy is beefing up its health care strategy. The plan includes selling a range of products from fitness machines to health-monitoring services for seniors. According to an analyst at Morgan Stanley, health care hasn’t evolved all that much over time and remains a pain point for customers. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that nontraditional players, including Best Buy, are entering the industry.

Walmart has also made moves into the health care industry, introducing medical clinics that offer primary-care services and mental-health counseling. Amazon also paid $753 million for PillPack to get into the pharmacy business. Best Buy’s strategy focuses more on the technology underpinning health care services. In the past year or so, Best Buy has spent upwards of $1 billion on acquisitions in the health space, including an $800 million purchase of GreatCall Inc, which sells emergency-response systems and mobile phones for seniors.