Redefining the brick-and-mortar experience

The Vitamin Shoppe for the past year has been steadily redefining the brick-and-mortar experience for natural health shoppers via its latest store prototype, the Brand Defining Store, currently in nine locations with another five to open soon. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to enhance our customer’s wellness journey, and our BDS stores are one of many examples of how we’re increasing consumer engagement and improving the customer experience overall,” Jason Reiser, The Vitamin Shoppe’s COO, told Drug Store News.

“Aesthetically, the stores are simplified and are easier to navigate, [with] elements that encourage our customers to linger longer and engage with our [in-store] health enthusiast,” he said. “Some of these elements include our sports nutrition and protein sampling station, and Kombucha Bar that encourage customers to try before they buy.”

It’s working. According to Reiser, The Vitamin Shoppe is attracting three times the number of first-time customers through its doors, they are spending two times longer in the store during their visit and 91% of them said they would recommend it to friends and family. The learnings from these stores, such as the sampling stations, are scalable across the entire footprint of The Vitamin Shoppe. “While we are planning broader national expansion of our BDS stores in 2018, we intend to capitalize on several key successful elements from these stores immediately,” Colin Watts, CEO of TheVitamin Shoppe, told analysts during the company’s latest first-quarter conference call.

That’s good news for one of the more significant players in the health-and-wellness space. As more consumers shop mass or online, whether it’s for value or convenience such specialty retailers as The Vitamin Shoppe are fighting to retain those fitness-bound shopping trips.

For the New Jersey-based retailer, a greater emphasis on own brand sports nutrition supplements may be the additional value-add component to keep those shoppers in-store. There is certainly significant opportunity, Reiser told DSN. “We focus a lot of innovation effort on our six differentiated brands, bringing shoppers solutions they can feel confident [that] will meet their needs. In doing so, we better earn their trust, and are better able to keep their loyalty with The Vitamin Shoppe.”

(Click here to view the full Special Report: Weight management, sports nutrition and vitamin)