Change agent and Vitamin Shoppe CEO Sharon Leite paved the way for the first modern apothecary innovation store concept that opened in Edgewater, NJ in 2019 designed by ChangeUp. “It represents the next generation of stores for The Vitamin Shoppe and will inform the future direction of our total retail experience,” she said.
But transformational change also requires adapting key learnings. In 2020, there are 6 more stores scheduled to open in Florida and New Jersey with the focus of adding leading-edge technology and services that will simplify and demystify the experience of shopping for health and wellness supplements. Leite & COO Andy Laudato offered an inside look recently summarized by RISnews.com:
Four connected video screens intended to bring the brand to life in a bold, vibrant way. Key learnings are that the video screens are easy to deploy but difficult to scale. “Cost and content are the biggest limiters,” according to Laudato.
Traffic Counters/Heat Mapping
New stores use 12 cameras to better understand customer behavior and gather invaluable data for visual merchandising. Conversion is a critical metric and is measured in every store. Analysis of heat mapping indicates customers shop with intent.
Tablets allow for quick and efficient checkout in stores. Discovered for mobile POS to be effective — tablets must support a suspend/resume function to enable complex transactions. Also, “a website is not a POS and a POS is not a website,” according to Laudato.
Clientelling App called V-BOOK
Product knowledge is essential to ensure store associates can deliver the expertise shoppers expect. In addition, the tool supports customer lookup, loyalty program, and such store functions as BOPIS fulfillment. Laudato warns not to underestimate the importance of “security, identity and printing.” Also, he is “a strong believer in decoupling store management from the core POS.” Additionally, he notes, “in a small store, a serverless implementation is ideal.”
Free-Sample Vending Machine
Allows customers to try products for free in exchange for providing their e-mail addresses.
Digital Product Guide
Customers like to use the bar-code scanning kiosk that offers product knowledge for scanned products. However, feedback indicates the kiosk needs deeper content.