Nuheara Limited, Perth, Australia, has announced a new Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) hearing retail partnership with Walgreens in which it will offer its IQbuds BOOST and IQstream TV hearables, both in-store and online at www.walgreens.com. According to Nuheara, its products are the only hearing related devices currently offered by Walgreens in the United States.
Walgreens is reportedly the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States (CVS is the largest), with 9,277 US stores in all 50 states, and more than 90 million active subscriber members. The pharmacy’s online portal is currently offering Nuheara IQBudsBOOST Hearable Earbuds for $249.50. In preparation for the launch, Nuheara says it has worked closely with Walgreens to integrate their respective online systems and provide a discrete and convenient method for customers to acquire affordable and accessible assistive hearing solutions.
Walgreens has traditionally been a large supplier of hearing aid batteries, ear cleaning solutions, and a very limited selection of personal sound amplification products (PSAPs). Walgreens also is a majority owner of the Boots retail chain in England which dispenses hearing aids throughout the UK. The Walgreens Boots Alliance is reportedly the first global pharmacy-led health and well-being enterprise, with more than 13,200 stores in 11 countries. In March 2018, Starkey Hearing Technologies initiated a pilot project involving select local independent practice owners who were interested in branching out into Walgreens stores. According to the NuHeara press release, Walgreens has only two hearing service centers in Florida and Illinois which provide hearing tests and hearing aids, and these are staffed by independent practitioners not employed by Walgreens.
NuHeara Looks Forward to More Opportunities in Global Reach
Launched the week of December 16, the first Walgreens email campaign featuring Nuheara products will target more than 10 million of their members.
“Walgreens interacts with approximately 8 million customers per day across its stores and online,” said Nuheara CEO Justin Miller in a press statement. “With their front-end branding and customer reach, coupled with Nuheara’s innovative products and back-end Direct-to-Consumer hearing retail experience, it offers significant retail sales potential for both companies.”
Miller says NuHeara is seeing a significant uptake in DTC sales, and views the venture with Walgreens as part of the company’s efforts to drive its product awareness globally. He says this represents another marker in meeting the need of offering smart hearing solutions as an alternative to “expensive legacy hearing solutions.”
“In 2020, with the implementation of new Over-the-Counter hearing aid regulations, together with our new products, we trust this will be the start of new era in US hearing retail,” says Miller.