When I worked in health products it was certainly quite a conservative business. Own label vitamins were still in their infancy and even in Holland & Barrett there were restrictions on the strength of different supplements. The raciest thing we marketed under the Healthcrafts brand was a supplement called Z.E.S.T. It was packaged in a black box with a grey top and was a vitamin based concoction including ginseng, hardly a forerunner of blue pills!
But I was some surprised, even amused by the news that Holland & Barrett are to diversify their product range into adult toys, or to be more specific ‘intimate massagers’. The rationale in this case seems to be that this is as a result of the current recession. In the words of a spokesperson for the retailer “People are spending more time at home during these difficult economic times.”
However the most positive way to respond to an economic downturn is to take risks, do something different when the tendency is to be more conservative, drop prices, stop spending and put your head in the sand. Why not try something new? It certainly gets people’s attention and changes perceptions of even your regular customers. Even better, a shopper who never visits Holland and Barrett might be more tempted to see what else they have to offer and become a loyal customer.
We know from our own research with shoppers that they are creatures of habit and visit the same shops day in day out without trying alternatives unless they have a significant huge reason to do so.
Could the actions of Holland & Barrett be enough to attract new customers and convert them to regulars buying their full range AND increase loyalty and frequency of visits of existing customers?