Retail Insights: Inside The Vitamin Shoppe’s Omnichannel Strategy
As retailers with brick-and-mortar stores work harder than ever to compete with ecommerce, the seamless customer journey has come into focus. Retailers like The Vitamin Shoppe, with more than 700 stores spread throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, are adopting new strategies to build the omnichannel experience and create more touch points with their customers.
As part of the company’s push to strengthen customer loyalty, The Vitamin Shoppe recently piloted Aptos ONE, a microservices-based platform that augments the capabilities of the Aptos point-of-sale system. The Vitamin Shoppe also uses Aptos’ customer relationship management platform as part of its ongoing effort to interact with customers and keep them engaged.
“It’s important to us that our customers are able to shop when they want, where they want, and how they want,” says Andy Laudato, executive vice president and chief technology officer at The Vitamin Shoppe. “After I do research on vitaminshoppe.com, I personally love spending time talking to a Vitamin Shoppe Health Enthusiast [store associate] about which vitamins and supplements will best support my health and wellness goals. After I decide what works for me, I simply set up auto-delivery and the items are shipped to me every month.”
More than a decade after The Vitamin Shoppe first started using Aptos’ POS system inside its brick-and-mortar stores, executives at the wellness lifestyle retailer started looking more closely at what it would take to successfully launch a new loyalty program that would work for customers who prefer to shop online and those who prefer to shop offline, and for those that do both.
Those efforts came together this past April with the nationwide launch of The Vitamin Shoppe’s Healthy Awards loyalty program. The program involves multiple levels of points, with customers earning bigger rewards as they move up in status. The Healthy Awards program is just one of a number of initiatives using data collected through the company’s CRM.
The fundamentals of The Vitamin Shoppe’s program aren’t unique—national retailers like CVS, Sephora, and Kohl’s all run popular loyalty programs that reward customers with points when they shop—but The Vitamin Shoppe’s program is especially forward-thinking in the way it takes the omnichannel experience into account.
The data that The Vitamin Shoppe collects in its CRM is used to create 360-degree views of each customer so that in-store associates can see in real time when customers have earned new awards and offer more personalized product recommendations based on previous purchases.
Working with the same company for its POS and CRM systems has made it easier for The Vitamin Shoppe to quickly onboard customers to its loyalty program. That means sales associates aren’t fumbling with different devices or manually typing in duplicate information at the cash wrap, which slows down lines and makes for a less enjoyable in-store experience.
“As you can imagine, a quick and efficient checkout is always near the top of the list,” Laudato says. “People are busy. Once the customer is ready to checkout, a few scans and a swipe are all that is needed. We’ll ensure your loyalty points are updated and your receipt is emailed and you can be on your way.”
Laudato says there is “no doubt” that improving the omnichannel experience at The Vitamin Shoppe has led to an increase in purchase frequency and size. Customers now are shopping online, offline, and through the retailer’s mobile app, and they’re joining the retailer’s loyalty program in record numbers. Laudato says customers who spend the most are the most satisfied, which indicates success in the strategy that The Vitamin Shoppe has implemented.
“All of the innovation we’re doing at The Vitamin Shoppe is focused on better serving our customers,” says Laudato. “Whether it’s new products, new services or new technology, we always listen to our customers and respond to their needs.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.