Holland & Barrett, one of the UK’s leading health and wellness retailers, has opened a newly-designed store in Chelmsford, Essex – which it says is the next step in its bid to create wellness hubs for local communities.

The store was designed by retail experience agency Barrows Global and features a host of exciting new additions focused on improving the customer experience.

The new store provides customers with a glimpse into the future of wellness retail. It is the first Holland & Barrett store with a private consultation room where trained nutritionists can hold 1-2-1 consultations with customers for free, either in person or via video conferencing.

Retail design agency Barrows Global have also placed technology and sustainability at the very heart of the store redesign.

Holland & Barrett have unveiled a newly-designed store in Chelmsford, Essex

The Chelmsford ‘test store’ offers a truly omni-channel shopping experience. Click & Collect lockers make it easier for customers to collect their online orders, whilst QR codes and NFC tags provide customers with easier access to product information, as well as tips, recipes and product reviews. Digital tablets are located throughout the store, enabling customers to learn more about the products that line the shelves and browse the full range online. And store colleagues can take orders and answer in-depth nutritional questions with the help of roaming tablets. There is also the addition of digital screens instore, providing new and engaging wellness content.

In keeping with Holland & Barrett’s sustainability ethos, all store fit-out materials in Chelmsford have been ethically sourced and are 100% recyclable. The store will have a 32% carbon emission saving over its lifetime, which is the equivalent of 1.3 million balloons of CO2 gas removed from the atmosphere.

The modern store design has also unlocked significant operational efficiencies, vastly increasing the amount of storage on the shop floor with the addition of draws at the bottom of each unit. The site on Chelmsford High Street is able to change and shift to meet customers’ needs, with all of the merchandise units on wheels that can be moved if needed, for example, in the case of a workshop or in-store class. And at the heart of the store is a services hub, where customers can engage with staff, discover in-store services and checkout.

Inside the newly-designed Holland & Barrett store where the focus is on improving the customer experience

Plants (both real and artificial) are featured throughout to create a more natural shopping environment, with studies showing that it can produce beneficial effects for customers, such as reduced blood pressure, a lower heart rate, decreased muscular tension and lower levels of stress hormones.

The store is fully equipped to create a safe, hygienic shopping experience, with temperature checks, sanitising stations, contactless ordering and hygienic gravity-fed product refill stations to encourage zero-waste shopping.

It features over 4,000 products including 250 new products across its specialist range of health foods, vitamins, supplements, active nutrition and ethical beauty, and it offers a range of new wellness services including the high street’s first epigenetics testing, which will analyse saliva samples and advise on genetic dispositions to a range of health issues, plus personalised vitamin subscriptions.

Nick Ridley, Head of Formats at Holland & Barrett said:

“We have really enjoyed working with the Barrows team on developing our all-new store proposition. Chelmsford has been built around our customers using extensive insight, data & research. We have created the first fully connected customer experience in Chelmsford that showcases the very best of our physical & digital capabilities. This has helped us create a significantly enhanced brand experience, making it even easier for our customers to access all of their health & wellness needs however they choose.”

Bevan Tilley, Creative Director at Paddington-based Barrows Global said:

“It’s been amazing to have had the opportunity to work as creative lead on a retail project that’s so relevant to so many UK shoppers. Bringing to life an entirely new store concept, balancing Holland & Barrett’s significant heritage with a vision of the future of health and wellness has been incredibly gratifying and I look forward to what is to come”.

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