Will stores help Vitamin Shoppe stand out in crowded supplement subscription market?

Discussion
Source: vitaminshoppe.com/onlyme
Sep 05, 2019
George Anderson

The Vitamin Shoppe, a 750-store chain operating stores under its namesake and  Super Supplements banner, announced it is moving into the crowded supplement subscription market with the launch of Only Me, a program that delivers an individually tailored mix of vitamins and supplements to members on a monthly basis.

Like other programs in the same space, including Care/of, Persona, Ritual and Rootine, Only Me asks members to fill out a questionnaire about their health concerns and goals in order to create a supplement program to address their needs. Each plan takes into account a wide variety of care areas, including age, brain, digestion, energy, gender, immunity, mood and sleep.

“We understand that wellness is not one-size-fits-all and that our customers are looking for custom solutions to meet their own unique health and wellness goals,” said Sharon Leite, Vitamin Shoppe’s CEO, in a statement. 

Each Only Me pack is tailored from a portfolio of 37 own-brand supplements formulated by The Vitamin Shoppe. Subscription rates for the Only Me service begin at $20 per month, with plans going higher based on individual needs. The chain also offers pre-packaged daily Quick Packs that customers can purchase to address specific needs, such as prenatal health and sleep.

Vitamin Shoppe’s program also provides ongoing support to Only Me members who are also enrolled in the retailer’s loyalty program via one-on-one coaching with the chain’s certified nutritionists, either in-store or via live video chat or phone. The in-store component is one option that Vitamin Shoppe’s consumer-direct competition doesn’t offer.

“We want our customers to feel supported on every step of their health and wellness journey,” said Ms. Leite.

Vitamin Shoppe reported a 7.2 percent decline in same-store sales during the second quarter. The chain showed an operating loss of $3.7 million for the quarter compared to a profit of $5.2 million during the same period in 2018.

The company also announced last month that it had reached an agreement to be acquired by Liberty Tax, to be renamed the Franchise Group, which also owns Buddy’s Home Furnishings, a 293-store chain of rent-to-own products.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will having physical stores provide an advantage for Vitamin Shoppe in its efforts to capture share of the supplement subscription market? Where do you see opportunities and challenges for Vitamin Shoppe as it rolls out its Only Me program?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Arguably this is something Vitamin Shoppe should have implemented a long time ago. However, better late than never! "
"Vitamin Shoppe brings one distinct advantage to the supplement subscription market: name recognition."
"At a minimum it gives them the space to advertise this new service to those who are coming to the store already."

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8 Comments on "Will stores help Vitamin Shoppe stand out in crowded supplement subscription market?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Having physical stores and an established brand will help Vitamin Shoppe compete in the over-crowded supplement subscription market. Unlike other types of subscription services that often lose their recurring value and result in customer churn, supplement buyers are likely to be more “sticky,” so the concept makes good sense for Vitamin Shoppe. But while having a large physical store presence might aid in creating some additional consumer confidence, I don’t see a significant advantage to subscription customers.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Arguably this is something Vitamin Shoppe should have implemented a long time ago. However, better late than never! Having physical stores is not perhaps a major advantage, but there are some benefits: they will help in terms of brand recognition, as a point to advertise the service, and as places where consumers can go to get advice. Overall, I think the subscription model based on personalized plans will work.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Vitamin Shoppe brings one distinct advantage to the supplement subscription market: name recognition. That alone should bring in new customers and a fresh look from those of us who subscribe only to magazines!

Casey Golden
BrainTrust
4 months 15 days ago

I don’t think a physical store will benefit the initiative more so than providing concierge-like service. That could be the #1 differentiator to set them apart in a sea of noise. Providing ongoing support to “Only Me members via one-on-one coaching with the chain’s certified nutritionists, either in-store or via live video chat or phone.” Personally, I’d double down on virtual customer service and personalization on-demand.

Brian Cluster
BrainTrust

Vitamin Shoppe has an advantage of 750 physical stores and this will help them differentiate in the crowded subscription service space. Based on industry sources, the company skews over 65 but also higher for households with income of over $125,000. Many of these older customers may see the benefit of in-person personal coaching vs. only online communication. The in-person nutritionist coaching may also bring new types of customers that have not been comfortable with an online-only model.

Lauren Goldberg
BrainTrust

Vitamin Shoppe’s retail footprint gives them the benefit of brand awareness. It should also lead to a lower cost of customer acquisition, as they can leverage their current in-store traffic. Vitamin Shoppe would be smart to leverage their network as a differentiator from the other subscription players – I’m thinking in-store consultations, events, etc.

Verlin Youd
BrainTrust

Yes, of course. At a minimum it gives them the space to advertise this new service to those who are coming to the store already. Additionally, face-to-face consultation is still valuable to a significant number of consumers, especially those who may be less experienced and comfortable with online consultation, including a fair number of more senior consumers. Finally, if executed well, it could also provide an additional up-sell opportunity.

Joel Goldstein
BrainTrust

Vitamins and supplements are one of the only industries where having a trusted advisor walk you around will increase cart sales. If someone walks in for one item they will need the supplemental vitamins as well and they may not know that. Having a brick and mortar store will help with customer satisfaction over online sales and I would estimate it would also increase the average cart value as well.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Arguably this is something Vitamin Shoppe should have implemented a long time ago. However, better late than never! "
"Vitamin Shoppe brings one distinct advantage to the supplement subscription market: name recognition."
"At a minimum it gives them the space to advertise this new service to those who are coming to the store already."

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