CVS + Aetna have merged to evolve a new business model for health and medical care. Walgreen’s continues to add new services beyond the core pharmacy business, and Walmart is expanding telehealth and healthier food aisles in the grocery. More grocery stores  added dietitians to their operations in 2018, as well.

As people take on more self-care for health care, they are looking to access products and services in retail bricks-and-mortar and ecommerce channels in the same places they buy food and other products. ACSI’s latest customer satisfaction benchmark study into retailers provides insights into the trusted channels for retail health in 2019.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) annually gauges 300,000 U.S. consumers’ experiences with 400 companies in 46 industries. In the ACSI study, “health and personal care stores” are pharmacy and drug stores.

ACSI’s research found U.S. consumers’ highest-ranked health and personal care stores in 2018 were Kroger, Albertsons companies (with storefronts such as ACME, Jewel-Osco, Safeway and Vons), and Walgreens, shown by the first chart. Below the mean for health and personal care were CVS, Rite Aid, Kmart (Sears), Walmart and Target.

Consumers most highly value certain features when they rate their experience with health and personal care stores, including the convenience of store locations, the layout and cleanliness of stores, quality and reliability of the store’s mobile app, and quality of pharmacy services, among other metrics.

ACSI found that between 2017 and 2018, the customer experience benchmark for health and personal care stores fell by 2.5 percentage points.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  The third graphic arrays the sectors ACSI gauges for customer satisfaction. Note that breweries, personal care and cleaning products (THINK: J&J, P&G), TVs, cars, food and beverages rank the highest among U.S. consumers.

Health care segments — ambulatory care, hospitals, and health insurance, along with health and personal care stores (pharmacies/drug stores) rank well below consumers’ satisfaction with beers, cars, and banks.

In my read and forecasting of the growing ecosystem of retail health, I’ll share with you that my own advisory work has recently found me providing input into the business plans of…breweries, auto companies, and financial services firms.

These industries now understand that they are important touchpoints into consumers’ very personal definitions of what constitutes health and wellness: holistic living, social connections, good food and good times, and financial wellness.