Healthy Life expands on booming wellness market

Cade Turland from Hemple & Healthy Life CMO Simon ChengHealthy Life has opened its third new-look store and its first in Victoria at Tooronga Shopping Centre since refocusing the business on Australia’s booming wellness market at the end of last year.

The store at Tooronga is the clearest example yet of Healthy Life’s strategy to ditch the look and feel of the typical health food stores from the 1980s and reinvent itself as a fresh, modern, wellness-centric retailer.

From a design standpoint, the store features a vibrant colour palette and makes use of sustainable OSB board throughout. In terms of products, its range goes well beyond linseed and Manuka honey to include a natural beauty bar and natural health solutions.

The Tooronga store is also the first to offer Next Big Thing sessions, a new experience concept that allows customers to sample and learn about new health trends.

The store is currently offering samples of hemp-based food brand Hemple, ethical nail polish brand Kester Black, organic makeup brand Inika and millennial-minded supplements brand SUP. The idea is to feature educational sessions on different brands and products in future.

“Health foods stores and supermarkets generally do food samplings and tastings…that’s not a new concept. What we’re doing is wrapping that around new health trends,”Healthy Life CMO Simon Cheng (pictured left) told Inside Retail.

“People always read about new health trends … there are always top 10 lists in newspapers. But now they have the opportunity to come into stores and touch and taste [those products] and learn about them for free,” he said.

New Look Tooronga store

The Next Big Thing concept is part of Healthy Life’s push to turn bricks-and-mortar stores into experience centres and utilise the expertise of in-store staff, many of whom are qualified naturopaths, nutritionists and dieticians.

While the Next Big Thing concept involves ad-hoc tastings and samplings and tastings, the retailer also offers bookable information sessions and seminars through its Wellness Hub.

“We want to evolve the business from being just a products business to being a products and services business. That’s what customers want. They don’t want to just buy products, they want someone to help them buy the right products,” Cheng said.

Cheng believes Healthy Life could open up to 10 new stores this year through a combination of standalone stores and store-in-store concepts. The business currently has more than 45 stores across Australia, which it will continue refurbishing to incorporate its new design and experience model.

The retailer is also about to launch an e-commerce site that will expand its reach to a national audience.

“We do get a lot of phone calls and queries via Facebook from areas where we don’t have a store from customers that want a Healthy Life product,” Cheng said.

In the medium term, Cheng said the site will serve as the digital hub for Healthy Life customers.

“What we really want to do is have a physical presence with bricks-and-mortar stores and eventually build a digital presence where the health conversation takes place in Australia. We see the digital community as bridging all the conversations happening about preventative health in one place,” he said.

“At the moment, the only place people can go to talk about health is the doctor or pharmacist. But that’s when something is already wrong. There are so many questions about preventative health that people want to ask, but I think they’re scared to or don’t know where to go. There’s only Dr. Google at the moment.

“We want to be the credible place where people go to ask those questions.”

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