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Insight: health and wellness uppermost at Holland & Barrett

Holland & Barrett is strengthening its position as a leader in the health & wellness area with its strategy of empowering people to take control of… View Article


Insight: health and wellness uppermost at Holland & Barrett

Holland & Barrett is strengthening its position as a leader in the health & wellness area with its strategy of empowering people to take control of their lives, which was highlighted in its recent win in a competition that seeks to increase diversity in advertising.

The competition was launched in London by City Hall and TfL and it was Holland & Barrett that beat off the competition with its health campaign ‘Me.No.Pause’ that aims to remove the taboo around the menopause.

Caroline Hipperson, chief marketing officer at Holland & Barrett, says: “The idea came from a TfL survey that found on its travel network women 40-plus years-old felt awful when they came across ads of young beautiful women, many with babies, whereas for them it’s ads about wrinkle creams. There was an issue around diversity and these stereotypical ads.”

The victory means that the campaign will be shown on various parts of the TfL network – on digital screens on tubes and at bus stops, as well as on static posters. In addition, Hipperson says Holland & Barrett will be “amplifying the campaign on social media and on its digital [channels] too”.

Such a campaign fits comfortably with the company’s present position of helping people to take greater responsibility of their own wellbeing: “The level of trust in things like banks, politicians and even the NHS has fallen and people now want to take control more. We’re leaders in health & wellness and we want to play a big role here and help people.”

This process starts with understanding customers, which has been helped by the company’s loyalty programme – with its seven million active members – that shows customer’s buying patterns and how they behave in the category. This is supplemented by other data points from research, trend analysis and social media listening.

“We do a lot of listening on health & wellness and try to deliver this to customers by having the best offering in terms of both advice and products. As a retailer we need to stay ahead and then keep at the forefront [of the industry],” says Hipperson.

Keeping ahead involves Holland & Barrett embracing digital, which has seen it enjoy 32% growth online. This has in turn contributed to group revenues and helped the business perform “tremendously well over the last nine to 10 years, with 36 quarters of growth”.

Although she believes online will continue to grow at a faster clip than physical stores the Holland & Barrett strategy does not involve online being pitched against the high street stores. “The stores – of which we have 800 in the UK – are not dead. They just need to be re-imagined. This involves face-to-face advice and personal communication,” says Hipperson, who adds that the essential component here is employee education.

All employees are required to have 100% knowledge of all products and reach a certain standard in order to perform their roles in-store. In addition, all employees are offered the opportunity to undertake an ‘A’ level equivalent course in nutrition.

To help employees on the shop floor Holland & Barrett has been increasingly introducing technology into its stores. This has initially involved Wi-Fi and handheld terminals for mobile Point-of-Sale purposes but Hipperson reveals that further devices will be added in the future.

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