The UK’s number one direct supplier of vitamins and supplements, Healthspan has entered a period of proactive product development, new demographic targeting, and key technological development
Healthspan is thriving in exciting times for the health and wellness industry. The supplier of vitamins, minerals, and supplements has made a name for itself among its traditional customer base of 55+, ailment-driven clients, relying heavily on its customer-centred direct-to-consumer business model. The company’s CEO, Tim Pethick introduces Healthspan’s activities to us and speaks of the market changes that have encouraged the business to start targeting different demographics.
“One of the big shifts in the marketplace is from sickness to wellness, so to speak. There are younger and more active customers who are less interested in an ailment-driven solution and more interested in enhancing their wellbeing. This means that in the last couple of years we had to reposition our business to meet the demands of this wellness-driven marketplace,” Tim explains.
Prior to this change, though, Healthspan had built a loyal customer base of older customers, and Tim insists that the company will remain true to its philosophy of engaging closely with its core clientele in the years to come. “It is of utmost importance to continue to develop our customer outreach programme. We have achieved high levels of repeat business and we want it to stay this way. Our business model has propelled us to develop a range of innovations, such as our letterbox-friendly packaging, which is very efficient, because it enables the easy drop of the majority of our products in someone’s mailbox.”
Understandably enough, the times are changing, and so are customers’ needs, hence Healthspan’s widening of its scope. “The new type of customer we want to engage with, requires different product delivery formats. The format of a supplement becomes incredibly important,” Tim points out. “People tend to perceive pills as something they take when they are ill, so we had to present our products in different formats. For example, we launched a range of sugar-free gummie supplements last year. Similarly, we had to adapt some of our core products to the new wellness market. Our established Elite brand, which is designed for professional athletes, provided the foundation for us to develop our Active brand that aims to appeal to people who want to support their active lifestyles, by supplementing their diet with nutrients to enhance their performance and aid recovery.”
Healthspan has enhanced online interaction with its customers via its mobile app, which forms part of what Tim names “an ecosystem of devices”, together with the NutriCoach Activity Tracker and the NutriCoach Smart Scales, that contribute to the personalisation of customer experience. “First of all, it is becoming clear that the ‘one size fits all’ notion is increasingly being called into question, to say the least, so there is no such thing as a universal product proposition that works for all of us in the same way. My supplementation regime could be completely different from yours and technology is going forward to determine what would work best for every individual. It is still too early to tell what the world of the future will bring about, but we are taking steps towards nurturing the personalisation trend with our app and device ecosystem,” Tim reveals.
“The Healthspan app allows users to log their food consumption and track their activity. Based on that data, together with some other questionnaire data, it is possible to develop the right range of supplements, tailored to the individual’s needs. To give you an example, the types of supplements that should be taken might depend on where one lives. For about eight months in the UK, the UV index is not high enough to enable synthesis of vitamin D from the sun. This means that people in the UK do not get enough vitamin D from sun exposure, compared with those who live further south, for example, France. Knowing your location might allow us to devise the right vitamin D dosage you need, and this app is just the first step towards our better understanding of how to use customer data, in order to create individual supplementation recommendations for every user.”
An early highlight of 2018 for Healthspan, was the setting up of a health and fitness space in Covent Garden. “It was a pop-up initiative, one of the several we have planned, that was carried out to gain more exposure of the Healthspan brand, and inform wider audiences of the products and services we provide,” Tim comments. “We are eager to raise brand awareness, especially with the new customer segments we are targeting at the moment.” Another path the company has taken to promote itself to younger customers, involves the introduction of new products that reflect the busy lives of those who represent this specific market segment. “We have released a number of nutritionally-based snack products, as well as protein bars, and even an Ecuadorian dark chocolate with added vitamins and minerals. We realise that this new customer base consists of people who might need to grab a quick snack, because their hectic life simply does not allow them to have something more during the day, so we have taken care to introduce a wide variety of nutritional products.
“In fact, there are two segments we are targeting: the health-conscious realists (HCR) and the balanced compensators (BC),” Tim continues. “While the first group is more akin to our traditional customer base of older customers, the second segment is made of younger people, who, as the name suggests, are more likely to have a heavy night out on Friday and then get up on Saturday and go for a run. This is why it is necessary to introduce nutritionally-balanced products and the aforementioned pop-up approach tries to attract precisely this type of potential customers, who are actively interested in their health and wellbeing,” he reasons.
Over the years, Healthspan has entered into partnerships with some high-profile customers that have not only given extra exposure to the brand, but have also been instrumental in the development of some of the business’ products. The supplements provider’s two most recent co-operations have seen it join forces with top Premier League football club, Tottenham Hotspur, and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) – Britain’s governing body of tennis. “The partnerships lend some serious credibility to our brand and product range. It has been an important hallmark of these partnerships that we have been able to work with the nutritionists of some of our partners and develop items for the Elite range, which is designed to cater specifically for the needs of professional athletes,” Tim remarks.
Well into 2018, he divulges that Healthspan is close to the rollout of a number of retail partnerships for some of its products. “We have specifically tailored some of our items for these retailers, so we are placing significant emphasis on these collaborations. There will also be some further developments in the digital space, as we are looking to introduce new digital tools to help users personalise their experience with us and make it easier for them to select the range of products that suits them best. Finally, we will release an upgraded version of our app, based on the lessons we have learned from first version we uploaded.”