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Are You Ready for Retail?

The surge of baby boomers becoming Medicare-eligible combined with legislated health care reform created rapid change in the health insurance market. Overnight, an industry long-built on B2B selling was challenged with marketing directly to individuals looking to buy their own insurance plans. To survive this shift from wholesale to direct-to-consumer marketing, many health plans expanded their sales channels to include physical storefronts.

Why Brick-and-Mortar?

Today’s consumers are much more engaged as they seek out healthcare options, and they expect personalized services from plan providers. While online tools can be helpful for initial consumer research, many individuals find comparing health plans a daunting task. A retail store offers individuals a place to turn for high-touch support in determining the best options to meet their personal needs.

Retail locations can function in different ways:

  • They can serve as sales channels for individual purchasers
  • The can function as service centers to help consumers compare insurance options, review their current coverage, or navigate claims
  • They can empower members to be more proactive in their health, for example by offering fitness classes, health advice, consultations with doctors, and lectures on popular medical-related topics
  • They can also serve as a cost-effective delivery of care center

Walking through a retail center door, consumers enter a multisensory experience that engages members and aids in building longer-lasting brand relationships.

Picking the Right Health Plan Retail Model

Do you need a stand-alone center? Is an in-line store better? What about a store within a store? Before diving into picking your palette, it is best to first
consider the market, your options, your readiness, and your vision. Taking a strategic approach is the best option for success.

  1. Internal assessment: Internal inventory is the first step in determining how you best enter the retail market. We recommend evaluating your existing sales, service, and care across several areas of retail readiness: Your organization and your people, your offerings, your technology, and your processes. This internal assessment will reveal critical gaps that need to be addressed before moving forward.
  2. Market analysis: Once you complete an internal assessment, you will have a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and what you can do to prepare for entering the world of retail. Next, we recommend you turn your focus outward: Look to understand the current landscape, identify threats, and reveal opportunities.
  3. Defining your vision and business plan: Armed with knowledge from your research, the final step is to start developing your vision, comparing your options, and determining your roadmap to success. With clear objectives, a plan to address gaps, and confidence your store will yield returns, you can craft a business plan that leads to retail success.

As more and more individual consumers begin their search for coverage, reaching them through non-traditional channels is essential. The retail store model has proven to be a great asset to many health plans during a time of rapid change. Customer service improves, brand recognition and loyalty grow, and enrollments soar as most people prefer to deal with a human, rather than navigating plans alone on-line. Is a retail center the missing piece in your channel mix?

GuideWell Connect Retail Consultation Solutions

GuideWell Connect originated the face-to-face engagement model for health plans in 2007. Since then, clients have leaned on our health care retail center expertise to open over 50 centers throughout the United States. With comprehensive retail consultation solutions, GuideWell Connect drives all aspects from site selection to programming, staffing and ongoing management, resulting in best-in-class results for sales, retention and satisfaction.   

Centers Designed to Deliver:

  • Growth in NPS
  • Greater customer retention  
  • Hyperlocal brand awareness 
  • Efficient operations with lower medical loss cost 
  • Stronger community ties with greater trust and rapport
  • Prescription adherence

Let us help you connect members to the right services at the right time and place through a next-generation health retail center. Contact us to learn more.

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