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Holland & Barrett preps ‘Store for the Future’ to trial beacon technology

Holland & Barrett is putting together a brief for a new concept store, dubbed a Store for the Future, where it will look to trial and test consumer reaction to new technologies including iBeacons.

The news comes as the retailer launches a two-year overhaul of its technology offering, including a new website and a click and collect option, which will eventually be rolled out across its portfolio of 700 stores.

Speaking to The Drum, chief marketing officer Lysa Hardy, revealed that the new store, likely to be ready by the new year, will serve as a place to truly test out ideas on consumers, some of which will not make it country wide.

“With the concept store, we will be putting things into it as a true concept store; some of which won’t work and we won’t roll out.

“So it isn’t that we’re going to go with something and replicate it, the whole point of it is to see what customers react to and what they like and what we need to build on.”

Hardy said that beacon technology is something the retailer will look to experiment with, and it is hoped Holland & Barrett will eventually be able to target customers individually based on a profile they have set for themselves.

The 1000 Holland & Barrett store opens today (8 October) and Hardy says that while it doesn’t feature any new technology – it is one of the brand’s smaller foot print stores – it does feature the more modernised feel it has been working on including a new till system.

Marketing spend has been increased as a result of the modernisation and a new multi-million pound ad campaign will launch tomorrow (9 October), as a progression of Holland & Barrett’s current animated woodland creature format.

Hardy said the idea behind updating the ad comes as other retailers, including John Lewis, have begun to use animation in their campaigns, and Holland & Barrett wanted to move the advert on.

“When we launched it last year people were saying it was very distinctive and very different and no-one was doing that style of advertising, “ she remarked. “But since then a few brands have picked up on that idea and even the John Lewis ad last year was an animated woodland creature.

“So we wanted to move it on and feel a little more dynamic, because we feel the brand is more dynamic and progressive now.”

New products such as an egg membrane supplement will feature in the campaign, which will appear on TV and in print, alongside new 3D animated creatures.

Hardy also revealed that as part of drive to turn Holland & Barrett into a true omnichannel retailer, it will launch a loyalty app, which will mean its customers will be able to directly receive coupons to their phone, and then redeem them in store.

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