Why GNC Is Heading Into Healthcare  

The world of health and wellness is evolving rapidly, and so are the businesses that cater to it. In one transition, vitamin stores are entering the healthcare services domain. 

Known for providing dietary supplements, vitamins, and wellness products, retailers like The Vitamin Shoppe and GNC are now expanding their horizons. They are positioning themselves as brands that can offer not only vitamins and supplements for workouts but also cold and flu remedies and comprehensive virtual healthcare services. 

In an interview with PYMNTS, Allison Bentley, senior director of strategic programs at GNC Health, delved into the company’s recent decision to enter the virtual healthcare arena and explained the rationale behind this move for the specialty retailer. 

“After years of research, it was clear how necessary supplemental virtual healthcare is for many consumers,” Bentley said. “We know the U.S. healthcare system can be difficult to navigate, especially when dealing with high reliance on private insurance, and the need to see different specialists, who have more and more limited appointment availability, which makes the process even more complex. We took that into account and wanted to address it by offering an accessible and affordable solution for consumers across the nation.” 

To achieve this, Bentley mentioned that the company is backing the introduction of GNC Health with digital placements, including on-site placement on the GNC homepage, email campaigns, and a social media push. All consumers are eligible to access GNC Health services through its new tiered offering. 

Bridging Gap Between Prevention, Reaction

The convergence of vitamin stores with healthcare services signifies a holistic approach to health and wellness, bridging the gap between preventive and reactive measures. 

One of the advantages of this shift is the convenience it offers. With virtual healthcare options, consumers can seek medical advice and receive prescriptions from their homes. Virtual healthcare often comes at a lower cost compared to in-person visits, appealing to those looking to reduce medical expenses. 

Moreover, vitamin stores can inform consumers about proactive health management through their healthcare services, encouraging balanced diets, exercise, and overall well-being. This approach equips consumers with the knowledge to engage in their health journey. 

And by offering a comprehensive range of products and services under one roof, these retailers simplify the consumer’s path to better health. This approach also allows retailers to expand their offerings to include over-the-counter medications, health monitors, and wellness devices, creating a one-stop shop for all health and wellness needs. 

GNC’s Virtual Healthcare Offering

Bentley said GNC’s virtual healthcare platform is crafted to complement existing healthcare coverage. GNC Health addresses various treatment and care needs, including allergies, asthma, sexual health, skin conditions, cold and flu, physical therapy, mental health therapy, and psychiatry. 

She said a GNC Health membership affords access to virtual healthcare and prescription medications, all without the necessity of health insurance. 

“We took the past couple years to conduct thoughtful research on what consumers were looking for to address their overall health and wellness, and we piloted solutions to address needs within the digital healthcare space,” Bentley said. 

Bentley then noted that through GNC’s research found that more than 80% of healthcare needs could be addressed through digital approaches, with an emphasis on accessibility, affordability, and preventive care. 

GNC also cited recent findings by PYMNTS, which found that 74% of millennials and 56% of Gen Z patients canceled their healthcare appointments due to cost estimates exceeding their means. 

Future of GNC and Healthcare

“As for future goals, right now our focus is to continue growing virtual care because we’d like to hold true to the pillars of accessibility and affordability that come with virtual services, but we are already planning on expanding services under GNC Health,” Bentley said.

“Next on our radar is a weight-loss virtual healthcare solution that we know is in high demand for consumers. The most important thing for us is to tap into the voice of our consumers and be mindful of where they want us to take GNC Health next.”