Ahead of speaking on our panel “Engaging The Wellness Consumer,” part of New York Retail Innovation Week, PSFK caught up with featured speakers for a better understanding of who these wellbeing-focused consumers are—and how their needs for education and community are creating new opportunities for brands to act as trusted partners
As the wellness movement continues to evolve and drive transformation across all verticals, how can retailers best connect with this audience of healthy-living consumers? PSFK will examine this question on a live panel this January, where speakers Lou Sagar of Alchemist's Kitchen, Kelle Jacob of Balanced Beauty Inc. and Rizal Hamdallah of Ocean Spray will share insights on who these consumers are, and how brands and retailers can cater to their need for a personal guide along their unique wellbeing journey.
Defining The Wellness Consumer
“The wellness customer is a seeker. Whether they are seeking better sleep, more energy, to feel healthier or just a better way to cope with everyday life, there is an underlying desire to improve some aspect of their human experience.”
The wellness-focused consumer is someone who is consciously taking control of his or her wellbeing, often blurring the lines between previously distinct categories to create an optimal way to live that is best for his or her unique needs. Louis Sagar describes this person as a “conscious consumer seeking experiences that combine education, shared values and products to serve medicinal health needs,” while Rizal Hamdallah emphasizes that this consumer is self-defined, cautioning against a one-size-fits-all label or description.
Jacob underscores that these people are seekers, out to improve a significant aspect of their lives — and look to brands as partners along the way. “Understanding that the wellness consumer is on a journey, it is important to first identify where your consumer is,” and work with him or her on defining and reaching an objective.
Community And Education Are Key
“There is this sense of healing that is leaving people hungry for a connection to something greater than themselves. It is the touchpoints of these connections that have expanded tremendously over the past 2-3 years…”
Jacob touches on the evolution of wellness retail from focusing on health maintenance to now supporting entire lifestyles, comprising all aspects of well-living, from meditation and sleep to plant medicine and connecting with others on similar journeys. “The biggest opportunity for brands and retailers is to cultivate communities and foster the relationship with their wellness consumer beyond the transaction,” Jacob writes.
Sagar speaks to the importance of building community on the retailer side as well to provide well-rounded knowledge to consumers: “The Alchemist's Kitchen is proud to have a network of resident and consultative herbalists who are passionate about the power of plants, and serve us well as a ‘trust-agent' for those who are shopping for health solutions. We work with acupuncturists, chiropractors, healers, trainers and nutritionists who have clientele that want to learn about alternatives to put in their ‘medicine cabinet’—we call them herbal allies.”
How Brands And Retailers Can Engage These Consumers
Jacob recommends investing in community. “One of the ways some brands are doing this well is by hosting events that address a wide range of topics their consumer base is interested in, allowing them to become more than just a retailer, but also a trusted resource.” Sagar, too, touches on the importance of curating and directing discovery with expert-led guidance. “It is no longer viable to simply place herbal products on store shelves without education. We are focused on providing our clients and customers with deeper connectivity to source of ingredients, methods of cultivation and benefits from the formulations that will provide value for health.”
Jacob also emphasizes meeting consumers at their current juncture within their wellness journey to best tailor their service or offering to their needs. “When a brand or retailer can meet their consumer where they are, they are able to become more than just the transaction, but also a trusted resource. This approach will also help inform future opportunities for where your brand should go by understanding where your consumer is heading.”
“Wellness is here to stay,” says Jacob. “Similar to what we are seeing around topics of sustainability, the broader concept of wellness, or as I like to think of it, conscious consumerism, will no longer be for a select few, but rather a consideration that more and more consumers will continue to demand from the brands they engage with.”
“My vision is that consumers will continue to put their trust into wellness brands that deliver transparency and align with farms, botanical scientists, and clinics,” writes Sagar. “We see custom herbal formulations growing in popularity, tailored to the needs of an individual or family. Parallel, we see the advent of new technologies, augmented reality, bio-hacking and other means for consumers to realize a connection to their personal growth and transformation, which will definitely include the emergence of psilocybin, and psychedelics as a powerful influence for the treatment of mental illness, and will likely inform the future of wellness.”
For more insights and an in-depth discussion on everything brands can do to leverage their reach and expertise to educate and engage the growing cohort of wellness consumers, sign up for PSFK's “Engaging The Wellness Consumer” panel, tickets available now.