TORONTO — Canada is aging, with nearly 1,000 citizens a day turning 65, says Scott Wilks, vice president of Shoppers Home Health Care and Wellwise at Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM). And for the first time more Canadians are over 65 than under 15. To serve these older Canadians better, SDM has opened its second Wellwise, a new store format and retail venue to help Canadians take charge of how they age. SDM marked the grand opening of the new Wellwise — a larger-format store than the maiden Wellwise that opened in September 2017 — earlier this month in Etobicoke, Ontario.
Aging Canadians, Wilks says, want to keep active, try new things and stay independent for as long as possible — and it’s that spirit that is the foundation of Wellwise.
What makes Wellwise unique is that the store includes full-size vignettes where customers can walk through a model bedroom, bathroom, living room and garage to try out new products to see how they can possibly fit into their daily lives.
Soon the store will feature an innovation space where people can sample new products yet to hit the market, and it will also include a community room for associations and experts to run educational events.
Wilks notes that the Wellwise target audience starts with caregivers. “One in five Canadians are caregivers,” he says, adding that the loved ones and patients those caregivers take care of want to stay active and in their homes, and Wellwise aims to help them do just that.
But while Wellwise is focused on baby boomers and older Canadians, the format has a broad reach. “It’s really 45 and upwards,” Wilks says. “It could be the weekend warrior playing hockey.”
A key aspect of the Wellwise concept, which differentiates it from other SDM stores, is the focus on prevention. “Our other stores are more about home health care and keeping people comfortable,” Wilks says, while Wellwise is more about protection and keeping customers healthy — or, as he puts it, being an “aging powerhouse.”
“In creating Wellwise, we put the focus on wellness, not illness,” says Theresa Firestone, SDM’s senior vice president of health care businesses. “Wellwise offers an enjoyable shopping experience that gives Canadians the tools and advice they need to age powerfully, not just comfortably.”
Going even further, SDM has launched wellwise.ca, an online portal that complements the Wellwise concept and adds e-commerce to the company’s mix of brick-and-mortar stores. With wellwise.ca, Canadians have access to Wellwise through the website, which features a broad product selection and offers direct-to-home delivery — including everything from low-impact fitness gear to compression socks and physiotherapy products to supports and braces, mobility products and tools and gadgets to help Canadians stay active and well.
In addition to single product purchases, the site offers a subscription service to automatically ship frequently used items at regular intervals. Customers shopping on wellwise.ca get the added benefit of earning PC Optimum points on their purchases.
And with so many Canadians serving as caregivers, wellwise.ca provides added convenience. With wellwise.ca, caregivers who do not live in the same city or town as their loved ones can now order online and have products delivered directly to the homes of those in their care. The site is fully responsive — whether on a phone, tablet or desktop, the user screens will adjust and become optimized for the best experience.
“At Wellwise, people can find everything from travel accessories to mobility products to help them stay in their homes longer,” says Wilks. “No matter what stage of life people are in, Wellwise will be an important resource for Canadians looking to take control of how they age.”