Walmart is taking another bite out of a multitrillion-dollar industry and bringing SmileDirectClub electric toothbrushes and toothpaste to more than 3,800 stores

smile direct club

As Walmart eyes a larger share of the $3.5 trillion US healthcare industry, it's sinking its teeth into oralcare with an exclusive product line with SmileDirectClub.

The partnership marks the first mass retail rollout for the buzzy teeth-straightening startup, coming off its disappointing initial public offering in September 2019. The "affordable yet premium" collection includes an electric toothbrush, a multi-step teeth whitening system, specialty toothpastes, a water flosser, and an ultrasonic UV cleaner designed to sanitize products, according to a Monday press release.
"At Walmart, we are always expanding our assortment to meet customers' needs," Shawn Townzen, vice president of Walmart Personal Care, said in a statement. "We don't believe you should have to sacrifice your budget for your smile, so we are excited that SmileDirectClub is launching new smile-enhancing products exclusively available at Walmart."

For Walmart, the partnership is a strategic push into growing its oral health sector, coming on the heels of the opening of its first health clinic in Dallas, Georgia, in September. The experimental clinic - which features primary care, dentistry, and counseling services - is designed to provide lab tests and dental cleanings at 30-50% below competitors by cutting out middlemen.

Likewise, SmileDirectClub's primary draw is a more affordable approach to orthodontia. The company cuts costs by bypassing in-person appointments and selling dental aligners for a fraction of the cost of traditional braces or Invisalign services.

However, some critics and dental health professionals say SmileDirectClub's business model ultimately sacrifices quality. Adding to SmileDirectClub's woes, its IPO was the worst debut in 12 years for a US company, and the company has since continued to struggle amid several market stumbles. In November, SmileDirectClub reported net losses of $387.6 million for the third quarter of 2019, up from $15 million the year prior.

Whether a Walmart partnership can help SmileDirectClub course correct remains to be seen, though it will undoubtedly help increase the company's visibility. The products are expected to be sold on and in more than 3,800 Walmart stores, according to a press release. "SmileDirectClub's debut of oral care products in mass retail extends our mission to be the consumer's first resource for safe, affordable, and convenient oral care solutions," SmileDirectClub's chief global brand officer, Josh Chapman, said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Apply here to attend IGNITION: Retail, an event focused on the future of retail, in New York City on January 14.

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