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04/14/2022

Exclusive: Q&A with Vitamin Shoppe CEO 

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Sharon Leite
Sharon Leite, CEO, The Vitamin Shoppe

The Vitamin Shoppe pursues a localized, integrated customer engagement strategy.

Sharon Leite, CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe, recently sat down with Chain Store Age to discuss how the leading specialty health-and-wellness retailer leverages social media, traditional e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores, same-day delivery, and even livestreaming to provide a highly personalized and localized customer experience at mass scale.

What specific strategies does Vitamin Shoppe use for engaging and selling to customers on social media?

The Vitamin Shoppe engages in a robust content strategy across a broad range of social media channels, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and our popular ‘What’s Good’ blog. To reinforce our standing as a wellness authority, we engage credentialed content creators, including our own registered dieticians, certified trainers, and a Wellness Council of prominent experts, to produce meaningful, on-trend content across these channels.

Apart from our national brand channels, each one of our over 700 stores operates its own Instagram account with hyper-localized content, created by the highly knowledgeable associates in each store and tailored to customers in their own communities. We are early adapters to new formats, including an upcoming live-streaming experience throughout Earth Week, in which our dietician will offer plant-based lifestyle tips, nutritious recipes, and product giveaways to viewers.

How does Vitamin Shoppe integrate sales insights into its customer experience?

The Vitamin Shoppe is a data-driven company, and every function utilizes both proprietary and industry-wide inputs to inform decision-making. Our merchant, inventory planning, and marketing teams carefully track and analyze both internal and external sales data, as well as search data from vitaminshoppe.com, to stay updated on key trends and ensure the most innovative brands and products are available to our customers.

We also collaborate with independent research providers to corroborate our proprietary data and surface industry-wide innovations and trends shaping the health and wellness space.

What does Vitamin Shoppe think will be the biggest customer experience trend of 2022?

The pandemic has amplified the centrality of health and wellness concerns among many consumers and the growing importance they are placing on physical, mental, and emotional well-being – which can include a range of foundational health, fitness, nutrition, immunity, and even skincare and beauty concerns.

In this environment, we’ve found that more than ever, consumers are looking for trusted brands, effective products, and accurate information to enhance their health and wellness across all aspects of their lives. We see this trend continuing well into the future as many of the consumer behaviors that developed during the pandemic have become ingrained lifestyle behaviors.

As part of this new normal, retailers must meet the customer where they are, providing personalized services, platforms and tools that enable how and when each customer prefers to shop. We have implemented new offerings to enhance the customer experience that are increasingly popular, such as Instacart for home delivery in as soon as an hour from our stores; buy online, pickup in-store; curbside pickup; and buy online, ship from store, for products that may be out of stock in our warehouses.

[Read more: The Vitamin Shoppe boosts online delivery capability]

The goal is to always exceed the new expectations of customers around quality, convenience and service, with innovations tailored to their needs and lifestyles.

See the new Vitamin Shoppe Health and Wellness Trend Report here.