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Holland & Barrett: bringing expertise to customer engagement

Talking to customers is a real focus for multichannel health food retailer Holland & Barrett.

The business trains its staff to take an expert approach to advising shoppers in store. Staff go through its in-house Holland & Barrett Natural Health Academy, on courses that last an average of a year, in order to gain qualifications that equip them to advise customers in-store about products such as dietary supplements. It’s an approach that the retailer prides itself on and it’s no surprise that it features prominently on its website as well. The site is home to The Health Hub blog, populated with recipes, advice, explanations of different supplements and how eating foods from carrots to golden flax seeds can help to improve health.

One interesting feature is the use of a ‘trending’ box next to the Health Hub search box. At the time of writing, immunity, vegan and sleep were all featured, pointing shoppers towards information that others were finding useful. The website also promotes the Healthbox scheme, which recommends products based on an interactive consultation, alongside personalised advice.
As well as offering advice and information, the Holland & Barrett website encourages shoppers to get in touch with their feedback through its website. There, the feedback link sits alongside a quick form enabling shoppers to sign up to email messages, and links to engagement channels including Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

Online and store engagement are connected through in-store ordering. Shoppers can find out more through digital screens in the shop using an in-store app.

Holland & Barrett’s cross-channel loyalty programme, Rewards for Life, enables customers to earn points towards discounts. Shoppers can sign into the scheme via the store’s iOS app in order to activate a card, and can also create their loyalty account through the app. The app features a wishlist. Data from the scheme enables Holland & Barrett to understand its customers and their behaviour, enabling it to improve the way it engages with each one of them.

Holland & Barrett, recently bought by L1 Retail, appointed Steve Carson to the role of managing director in January. Carson, who previously worked at Sainsbury’s Argos on projects including its digital store concept, its partnership with eBay and the roll out of its hub and spoke delivery network, was hired to the new role with a brief to focus on digital transformation. At the time of his arrival, he said he was excited at the challenge ahead. “Holland & Barrett is a longstanding and admired brand with enormous potential and a clear health and wellbeing proposition that is growing in popularity and relevance around the world,” he said.

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