How health and beauty retailers can attract more shoppers

Consumers shopping for health, beauty and personal care items can now buy 2-for-1 at Holland & Barrett, 3-for-2 at Boots or shop at Primark, H&M and TK Maxx. Internet retailers grabbed 10% of value sales in beauty and personal care and 11% of consumer health in 2015, up from 7% and 8% respectively in 2010.

This is particularly bad news for community pharmacies who’ve seen poor sales growth for OTC remedies as consumers replace symptomatic relief with healthy lifestyles.

Every retailer should be booming.  The UK is in the grip of a beauty and wellness trend.  Vitamins and dietary supplements should be flying off their shelves, as well as probiotics, sports nutrition and weight-loss solutions.

A reviving economy should boost impulse sales in beauty and personal care, and help some consumers to trade up to premium products.

Shoppers need more compelling reasons to cross the shop threshold. One model for independent pharmacies or health food stores may be Lloydspharmacy.  From our PR work on their store openings we saw the power of their re-brand.  One strong move was their offer of a free skin analysis service in its stores, to help customers discover their skin’s hydration, pH, elasticity, keratin and sebum levels.

While it surely helped them to sell more premium skincare lines, the point was, this service was about expert advice.   That expertise, and that positive, aspirational aspect of wellbeing, distinguished it from its rivals.  Publicised well, it gave the consumer a compelling reason to visit.