Toronto-based drug store retailer Shoppers Drug Mart continues to innovate in an effort to maintain market dominance amid increased competition in the industry. That includes a pilot partnership that could see a rollout of shop-in-stores housing a US-based dental concept, following similar innovations that include in-store botox clinics.
Smile Direct Club, the industry pioneer and first direct-to-consumer medtech platform for teeth straightening, announced a pilot launch of the brand’s signature SmileShop experience within Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Ontario.
As part of the partnership, Shoppers Drug Mart has become the first pharmacy retailer in Canada to offer the SmileShops retail spaces. To date, two locations exist within Ontario — one at Shoppers Drug Mart at The East Mall in Toronto’s Etobicoke area, and another in the Shoppers Drug Mart store at Kingspoint Plaza in Brampton.
“SmileDirectClub and Shoppers Drug Mart have a shared commitment to innovation in healthcare services and customer-led convenience,” said Alex Fenkell, Co-founder of SmileDirectClub. “Collaborating with one of Canada’s most trusted retail brands allows SmileDirectClub to deepen our impact and broaden our footprint in Canada. The confidence that comes from having a great smile is transformative in every aspect of your life, and we’re thrilled to give more people the opportunity to get the smile they’ve always wanted.”
“Our Shoppers Drug Mart stores offer our customers a wide range of products and services to meet their unique healthcare needs,” said Matthew Carr, Vice President, Merchandising, at Shoppers Drug Mart. “This pilot with SmileDirectClub allows us to further diversify our offerings to make innovative health and oral care solutions convenient and accessible to Canadians.”
The Smile Direct Club SmileShops, located within these specific Shoppers Drug Mart locations, are staffed by SmileGuides who provide customers with a 3D digital image of their teeth, free of charge. A profile is then created for the individual, and this, along with the 3D image of their teeth, is uploaded onto a proprietary teledentistry platform. This allows Smile Direct Club’s affiliated network of licensed dentists and orthodontists in Canada to review, prescribe, and manage a custom clear aligner treatment plan based on the needs of that customer. Aligners are sent directly to your door upon approval of the dentist’s clear aligner therapy plan.
“We’ll send you a preview of your new smile and begin production of your BPA-free clear aligners, as unique to you as a fingerprint. We then deliver your clear braces right to your doorstep allowing you to conveniently straighten teeth at home. We also send you our bright on™ premium teeth whitening so you can show off those pearly whites.” The do-it-yourself treatment costs $2495 or $110 a month.
Smile Direct Club’s clear aligner therapy is doctor-directed, doctor-prescribed, and doctor-managed from start to finish, and costs an average of 60% less than traditional orthodontic treatments. Since 2014, 700,000 people across Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Ireland have availed of Smile Direct Club’s SmileShops to achieve a straighter smile. Smile Direct Club took on Canadian expansion in 2018 and SmileShops now exist in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal.
Smile Direct Club uses cutting-edge teledentistry technology and vertically integrated models, with the aim of revolutionizing the oral care industry and making cosmetic dentistry affordable and convenient to the general public. Smile Direct Club was founded by Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman in partnership with Camelot Venture Group and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.
If the Ontario pilot is a success, Smile Direct Club SmileShops are expected to be rolled-out in Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Canada. It’s part of an effort for Shoppers Drug Mart to gain market share at a time when competitors such as Rexall are opening new stores.
Earlier this year, Shoppers Drug Mart announced that it was launching a ‘Beauty Clinic’ concept in correlation with Canadian stores which include non-surgical skincare treatments including Botox, cosmetic injections and dermal fillers, microdermabrasion, peels and laser treatments. These clinics are standalone locations. The move was met with controversy, given that such procedures wouldn’t be done by licensed doctors.
That followed Shoppers Drug Mart’s launch of a senior-focused ‘Wellwise’ concept store in Toronto in the fall of 2017 that aims to to keep the country’s aging population healthy and active.
Shoppers Drug Mart remains the largest drug store chain in Canada, and has also innovated by opening full-service grocery stores in some locations in an effort to increase foot traffic as well as frequency of visits. The company’s Loblaw PC Optimum Rewards loyalty program has also said to be highly successful after an initially bumpy rollout in early 2018.