How Brands Are Infusing Wellness Services Into Shopper Experience

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With physical stores making a comeback and footfall reaching strong growth during the holiday season, retailers are continuously investing in their stores, aiming to offer a differentiated shopping experience thanks to distinctive and enjoyable services. While many brands tap into entertainment to capture shoppers, others leverage the growing interest for wellness and self-care to drive in-store traffic, designing new spaces and services that are certain to provide a meaningful and memorable customer experience.

Casper is testing a new type of store format, where focus is placed on bespoke customer service and product interaction through newly designed features. Located in Costa Mesa, the redesigned store houses a ‘Snooze bar’ that enables shoppers to ask store employees personalized product recommendations based on their sleep, lifestyle and preferences. In addition, the layout also features a section where customers can test the sensations of different pillows, as well as a design space made to help them with bedroom design. These features, combined with in-person expert recommendations, marks a significant evolution from the brand’s initial exclusively online offering, aiming to make physical retail a key part of its growth and acquisition strategy as it drives shoppers to its stores thanks to a level of service they would not be able to get online. According to ModernRetail, Casper is testing this new store design and will potentially roll it out further this year, with six or seven new locations set to open in 2024.

At the end of last year, Rituals opened its newest flagship in Paris, with 500 square meters dedicated to wellness. In addition to its extensive product offering, the retailer unveiled a second floor devoted entirely to relaxation. The space was designed to act as a proper day spa that offers different quick services to recharge body and mind. Available to book online, the services offer two kinds of experiences. The first is a type of hydromassage, where customers lie on a warm water mattress to detangle muscle stiffness and relieve physical tension while relaxing deeply thanks to soothing scents and sounds of nature. Priced at €19.50 for 20 minutes, the service offers a quick, efficient break from one’s daily stress and go-abouts. The other service is focused on mental relaxation, with cabins that time to disconnect fully thanks to ‘zero-gravity’ chairs, breathing exercises and 4D sound stimulations.

This peace haven dedicated to mental relaxation marks Rituals’ bold strategy to become a leading wellness brand as it is investing considerably to make that happen by offering unique moments of relaxation in its store. As shared by Raymond Cloosterman, the brand’s CEO, stores are definitely part of delivering a wellbeing proposition, with the mind oasis concept now present in five flagship stores across Europe: “Wellbeing is more about a lifestyle and a feeling, and one of the things we are doing to align with this is with the design of our flagship stores,” he told TRBusiness. He also hinted at the value of this type of proposition for travel retail: “We will press pause to learn and develop a bit further before we decide to take it to the next level. It would be amazing for airports. It’s the next big thing.”

For a few years now, several well-known department stores have undergone extensive transformation plans to elevate their shopping experience by modernizing their space and offering value-add services that extend beyond just shopping. In London, Selfridges offers a large range of beauty and wellness services, ranging from facials and massages with partner brands, while also hosting several pop-ups a year dedicated to wellness. In Paris, the Galeries Lafayette unveiled a 3,000 square meters wellness gallery, a first for a department store. The space features an array of health and wellness products as well as a gym, infrared sauna, nail salon and spa services offered by iconic beauty and wellness brands. Designed to be a true urban oasis and wellbeing space, the department store has earned new wellness credentials, with brands in the space wanting to play a part in these product and service offerings. With this investment, the retailer’s aim is to drive more traffic to the store, as well as attract a new segment of customers looking to fulfill different types of shopper missions.

Given the considerable size of the wellness market, estimated to represent $1.5 trillion, and its high-growth trajectory, brands and retailers have much to gain by designing and incorporating wellness experiences into part of their store strategy. Health and beauty brands are at the forefront of this retail evolution, but brands in other categories are also encouraged to instill wellbeing into their offering as it is a concept that extends to so many product categories, from food and beverage to sports, lifestyle and more and resonates strongly with a growing number of consumers.

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