(Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Ness may represent a legendary monster in Scotland, but it’s also waking a slumbering need in healthcare, and it’s a need retailers might want to set their alarms to.
Ness, a financial-tech company, has developed an app that issues reward points to users for healthy lifestyle choices, from working out to getting a wellness checkup. But it also aims to reduce healthcare costs to individuals. Ness ultimately plans to launch its own credit card that rewards users for healthy lifestyle choices, and add medical benefits and health insurance.
And it’s getting attention: So far, participating brands include the fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen and the gym Barry’s Bootcamp.
Workarounds to traditional health insurance are expanding – think GoodRx reduced-price prescriptions, discounters, such as WellCard Savings and lower-cost plans like Oscar. Retailers that become players in this industry have a good chance of boosting sales, and not only through new customers seeking less-expensive healthcare options. Here’s why.
Tech-based wellness startups are growing beyond a cottage industry. Revenue from fitness apps alone is projected to reach $16.6 billion in 2022, according to Statista. So folding in alternatives to standard health insurance is a logical next step.
Just consider these related fitness ventures:
Ness plans to take these models a few steps further by adding medical benefits to its planned credit card. It wouldn’t be the first – the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard (Barclays) rewards its holders 2% back on medical expenses.
Retailers should give these ventures close examination. For starters, most retailers have access to a wealth of shopper insights through their reward program platforms that can sharpen their wellness offerings specifically to what their customers want.
Here are five other key reasons why:
Each in-store fitness equipment showroom at Hy-Vee will provide several types of fitness equipment ... [+] for customers to view and try out, including treadmills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes.Image courtesy of Hy-Vee and Johnson Fitness Wellness
Retailers, Can You Afford To Ignore This?
The financial-tech company Ness is essentially the answer to a call for affordable, more accessible wellness. While it’s a startup, the challenge it seeks to address is growing old. Creating partnerships with retailers and brands can afford a platform like Ness’s to offer the rewards that would matter to its target customer, which could be everyone.
Affordable wellness shouldn’t be a legend. Retailers have found ways to make all kinds of goods accessible. They can rise to this challenge.
Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out some of my other work here.