The Vitamin Shoppe on Thursday opened a 3,185 square-foot "innovation store" in Edgewater, New Jersey, and plans to open five similar stores through January 2020. The store features on-demand digital product guides, enhanced mobile point-of-sale checkout, an area where shoppers can take Vitamin Shoppe's "Only Me" health assessment, a body composition analysis station and a supplement sampling machine, per a company press release.
The nutritional product retailer added a 100-inch LED video screen that shows educational brand content, as well as the Aptos ONE Store commerce app for iPad checkouts and RetailNext heat mapping technology to better analyze shopping behavior, according to the release.
The company has also introduced features for customers that go beyond the physical store. Shoppers can receive personalized vitamin subscriptions based on their Only Me assessment and loyalty program members can access the Vitamin Shoppe's nutritionists via video consultations, phone or in select store locations, the company said.
The Vitamin Shoppe is hardly the only retailer to try the experiential store strategy. Other brands and retailers like Samsung, Sephora, CoverGirl and Levi's, among many others, have debuted their own experiential stores in hopes of luring consumers with innovative features.
The move comes after the nutritional product retailer had introduced a subscription model and was at risk of filing for bankruptcy due to declining sales and traffic. While the retailer is no longer considered a bankruptcy risk, according to Retail Dive's latest analysis of CreditRiskMonitor data, Vitamin Shoppe posted a 7.6% decline in sales and a 7.2% same-store sales decline in the most-recent quarter.
The announcement also comes as others in the sector, namely GNC, are undergoing massive store closures. But the fact that The Vitamin Shoppe is investing in five additional experiential stores may signal the retailer sees value in revamping its operations, both in store and online.
"The new digitally-powered elements of our store encourage customers to deeply engage with our product offerings, as well as our highly knowledgeable in-store Health Enthusiasts, for a fully integrated omnichannel experience," Vitamin Shoppe CEO Sharon Leite said in a statement, calling the store evidence of its "ongoing transformation into an agile, customer-centric company."