At a time of a vast seachange in retail, with brick-and-mortar chains closing almost weekly, CVS is trying to stay ahead of trends by insuring that its stores not only survive the turmoil but take advantage of the opportunity to better serve customers. In the wake of booting tobacco from its stores, it’s on a drive for growth by removing more unhealthy ingredients to make room for “better for you” products, services and information to help people be in charge of their health and wellness.
A big part is the makeover it just revealed to its stores, with a transformative new physical experience rolling out that reflects consumers’ demands for healthier lifestyles. Just as tobacco was booted from its check-out counter in 2014, candy is exiting the check-out area to be replaced with healthier snack options.
Promoting the health part of its corporate CVS Health name, it’s creating a more seamless digital integration with its in-store health clinics—plus many more changes that will continue improving the optics for the brand (quite literally).
The chain is rolling out a “reimagined store format” that emphasizes healthier food and beverage brands, featuring more of them than ever before; selling more supplements and vitamins; more informative signage and materials to guide customers to the most helpful solutions by displaying products together in areas such as sleep, immunity and “connected health.”
In addition to highlighting what it’s selling and the benefits of its offering, the new design is also an opportunity to showcase what it isn’tinterested in selling: products with parabens, phthalates and “the most prevalent formaldehyde donors.” It’s also eliminating transfats in its private-label store brands.
CVS executives are still navigating its post-tobacco era, following the company’s 2014 decision to quit selling tobacco—a watershed event referenced in its latest press release about its new store experience platform. CVS call its decision to quit tobacco “the catalyst” for the evolution of its retail stores that began in 2015 with healthier food selections and an enhanced “beauty environment.”
“As we thought about what was next,” CVS states, “we knew we needed to leverage our expertise in health—and bring our purpose of helping people on their path to better health—to life in our retail environment.”
The chain also has been pleased with financial returns from the health-elevated offerings and store-design changes that it began making a couple of years ago. For the 400 stores with versions of the new design, sales increased in consumables, beauty and health.
CVS showed off the evolution of the concept in an event held April 20th at The Garage in New York where it invited partners, brands, press and bloggers to check out its new design focus and innovations.
Its goal is to drive growth in categories that are most closely related to its new health-related purpose and expertise while delivering an unparalleled shopping experience, according to Drug Store News.
The new format includes 100 feet of new merchandise in health, beauty and healthier food and uses a streamlined layout to highlight themes that make shopping easier. The new items include a broader selection of vitamins and supplements, on-trend beauty brands including Wunder2 and Tigi Cosmetics, beauty products with more skin-health benefits and more natural ingredients, and better-for-you foods such as Epic meat bars and That’s it fruit bars.
CVS will merchandise its new offerings differently, creating a “trend wall” (such as the one above) at 2,000 stores to highlight product launches and niche brands, curating and grouping solutions for consumer needs such as “immunity” products in “discovery zones” throughout the store that are specially merchandised and that provide especially helpful signage.
The company is rolling out the changes in as many as 70 new and existing stores this year with plans to expand to several hundred more in 2018.