Drugstore chain CVS has announced it will open hundreds of SmileDirectClub centers inside of its stores, with plans to eventually have them in upwards of 1,000 locations.
The centers will be called SmileShops, and customers will be able to get a 3D scan of their teeth to make invisible braces, according to a CNBC report.
The partnership is “about how CVS is very much on the look out for innovative solutions we can provide conveniently, locally and affordably,” CVS Vice President of Beauty Maly Bernstein said in the report. “This is one example of us making sure we’re leaders in doing that.”
The drugstore ran a pilot program in six locations, which grew to 13. It was so successful that the company decided to make it bigger.
Part of the reason for the move is that CVS wants to attract people to its stores, since sites like Amazon sell household items like toilet paper or toothbrushes. Focusing on health and beauty is one way that CVS plans to do that.
Teeth-straightening company SmileDirectClub began online. It sends customers a home kit to make a teeth impression, which gets sent back. Now, customers can get a 3D scan done in store. CVS liked the company and its loyal following, and reached out to initiate a partnership. SmileDirectClub liked the idea as well.
“We actually proved to one another we were right,” Bernstein said. “This was something customers did want, and did appreciate being able to go to their local store to have that first scan done.”
CVS noticed it was attracting younger customers during the pilot, and of the 609 SmileShop visitors in the pilot program, 32 percent weren’t regular CVS customers. It also attracted millennials, a demographic it wants.
CVS will work with insurance companies to start covering the braces, and customers will be able to get the teeth straighteners for less than $1,000. Even without insurance, SmileDirectClub will charge $1,850 as a one-time payment, or $2,170 for a two-year payment plan. New traditional braces can cost more than $9,000.
“This is big for raising awareness, and it opens up new marketing opportunities,” SmileDirectClub Co-Founder Alex Fenkell said. “We got into this business to increase access to care.”