The challenge for many high street retailers, whether they want to or not, is reinvention for the digital age, yet health foods and wellness retailer Holland & Barrett has embraced this as an opportunity.
Wellbeing has become a mainstream interest these days in H&B’s markets, which has definitely helped the retailer channel its ambitions as it works through a three-year digital transformation programme. One initiative that tells a story is its recently announced partnership with data-science company Starcount. The idea is for the two businesses to generate data-led insights and enhance H&B’s offer and content personalisation through its ‘Rewards for Life’ membership programme.
Rewards for Life currently has more than seven million active members in the UK and is a key tool for Holland & Barrett’s customer insight and engagement. The aim now is to deliver offers that are more targeted and useful for customers, more quickly.
Peter Aldis, CEO of Holland & Barrett, says the partnership came about because Starcount “highlighted significant incremental opportunities for the business from taking a more data- and customer-driven approach”. The aim is to improve the customer experience both in-store and on digital channels.
Next to this, a big part of H&B’s digital drive is around mobile, as you’d probably expect, since digital more generally is a huge play for the business. This year’s results showed overall revenues up by 7.1% but surging digital growth of 32.2%.
Part of this growth has been driven by developing an app that works for online and in-store experiences, as well as leveraging mobile social media interactivity through Twitter and Pinterest.
Other highlights include digital innovations such as the retailer’s launch of its Healthbox subscription service – an online, personalised monthly subscription service delivering targeted vitamins, minerals and supplements. What gets delivered is based in part on an individual customer survey covering health questions about dietary intake, general lifestyle habits and ailments that need addressing.
Above all else, Holland & Barrett’s emphasis in 2018 was the customer, a priority that found its way into store-led initiatives, too, with the business training staff to take a more expert approach to advising shoppers on the high street.
To this end, the company’s in-house Holland & Barrett Natural Health Academy runs courses that last an average of a year, in order to help staff gain qualifications that equip them to advise customers in-store about products such as dietary supplements.
The digital side of this same drive is the company’s The Health Hub blog, populated with recipes, advice and explanations of different supplements and how eating foods from carrots to flaxseeds can help to improve health.