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The Vitamin Shoppe COO: Rise of Click-and-Mortar™ Is Transforming Wellness Retail

Vitamin Shoppe: Click-and-Mortar™ Is Transforming Wellness

As retailers adapt to consumers’ increasingly digitally integrated lifestyles, The Vitamin Shoppe is targeting its offerings to today’s Click-and-Mortar™ shoppers.

Most of the company’s customers are engaging across digital and physical channels, Andrew Laudato, chief operating officer of the nutritional supplements retailer, told PYMNTS in an interview.

“More than half our customers start their journey on digital,” he said. “Everybody starts with education and learning. … Some customers start in the store because we have a lot of expert knowledge in our stores, and then once they understand exactly what their regimen is, they will purchase online. … It’s all about omnichannel. Most customers have a digital component to their shopping journey.”

Some of the customers who begin digitally make purchases online for in-store pickup, while others do research digitally and then complete the purchase in stores, Laudato added.

The retailer’s customer base seems to be disproportionately engaged across digital and physical channels. The PYMNTS Intelligence study “2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: U.S. Edition,” created in collaboration with Visa Acceptance Solutions, drew from a survey of more than 2,400 United States consumers. It found that across retail, 31% of shoppers fall into the Click-and-Mortar™ category. Specifically, approximately 1 in 5 shop in stores with the assistance of digital technologies, and 11% make purchases digitally for in-store pickup.

Getting Personal

As The Vitamin Shoppe looks to provide a consistent omnichannel journey, it is engaged in a push to register in-store transactions via its loyalty program, so that it can understand consumer behavior across channels and personalize the experience accordingly.

The retailer greets customers in stores with an iPad, where they can apply their loyalty accounts, which not only digitally registers the transaction but also offers in-store employees more information about the customer’s purchasing history so they can provide more personalized assistance, Laudato said.

The retailer is also implementing personalization online via its website’s content management system to begin customizing what customers view based on their loyalty status, he said.

Consumers want these kinds of personalized experiences. The PYMNTS Intelligence report “Personalized Offers Are Powerful — but Too Often Off-Base” drew from a survey of more than 2,500 U.S. consumers. It found that 71% of consumers received personalized offers and were interested in them, and another 12% did not receive personalized offers but were interested in them.

Plus, many consumers, especially in cities, are turning to digital platforms for their health and wellness routines. PYMNTS Intelligence’s study “The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Urban-Rural Health Divide Edition” drew from responses from nearly 2,500 U.S. consumers. It revealed that 60% of urban consumers engaged digitally to get their wellness needs met, while 29% of suburban consumers and 19% of those in rural areas did the same.

Looking ahead, digital and in-store experiences will only be more granularly targeted.

“There are still even more opportunities for us in the future to continue to personalize to customers,” Laudato said.

Breaking It Down

As The Vitamin Shoppe looks to set itself up for long-term success, Laudato highlighted the concept of composable commerce, which involves constructing websites and point-of-sale systems in a modular fashion rather than using “legacy monoliths.” He compared this approach to assembling Lego blocks, emphasizing the ability to easily integrate shared components.

The approach entails using a unified customer database, promotion engine, master data and inventory. These elements are typically disparate in retail settings, such that integration requires a great amount of effort, he said.

“So, as we move to a single platform, as we’re more seamless on the back end, it’s going to be more seamless to the customers, and these things all just work together very nicely,” Laudato said.

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