One month in and Woolworth’s new online health and wellness destination, HealthyLife, is rapidly launching new brands and renewing its place in Australia’s health market.

Woolworths acquired the Healthy Life brand after the business went into administration closing all stores in 2019.

The new HealthyLife sells a specialised range mostly not offered by Woolworths including natural, healthy and organic food and drinks, vitamins, beauty, personal care, and sports nutrition products, with a wellness service directory, and education content. Its current 2,500 SKUs across 165 brands will rapidly grow to 10,000 SKUs in the coming months.

In October it launches phone and online practitioner consultations and with that, practitioner only products that can’t be sold in a traditional supermarket model.

Supporting smaller brands remains their ethos

General Manager of Merchandise & Partnerships Martine Cooper, head of the former Healthy Life buying team, said under Woolworths ownership HealthyLife continues to support smaller companies and seek out the innovators at the forefront of Australia’s growing health market.

Pictured: Martine Cooper, Former Head of HealthyLife Buying Team

“HealthyLife will continue to play a role nurturing the smaller brands. So many brands available in Woolworths today were launched in health stores such as HealthyLife years ago, brands like Remedy, Pana Chocolate and Health Lab,” Ms Cooper says.

“We’re based out of Surry Hills and most of the team have a specialised health background. We have to think independently and stand on our own two feet.” Fulfillment is via a third party.

The new platform is run independently to its owners but benefits from the Woolworths ecosystem, meaning suppliers can reach millions of the company’s broader online shoppers with products sold via HealthyLife also available on the Woolworths marketplace online store.

The business faces familiar e-commerce challenges – how to sample products, build emotional attachment and bring the brand stories to life online.

Growth opportunities in the health space

During the last year the Woolworths Group digital platforms saw 80 per cent increase in digital traffic related to health searches, intel the buying team are using to inform their ranging decisions.

“We’re seeing a lot of demand for natural, keto products, vegan, wellness supplements and snacking. Activity on the site is really interesting. We’re watching and learning and seeing different customers at different times of the day. There’s a lot of mums and that 24-35 female is an important market,” Ms Cooper says.

“In addition to our core health range, beauty and personal care is a growth opportunity. We’re about to launch Inika and RAWW (Total Beauty Network) and we’re seeing natural hair colours performing well with hairdressers closed during lockdown. In home cleaning we’ve just ranged Koala Eco.”

Expert-backed shopping experience

Ms Cooper says education and practitioner consultations are a critical part of the HealthyLife strategy, previously a point of difference held by the traditional independent health food store channel.

“I know the value of it and the importance of it. Once you engage those customers via consultation, they are very loyal and typically shop across all our categories.”

Supporting the business is a heavy weight advisory board chaired by Accredited Sports Dietitian and HealthyLife Chief Health Officer, Simone Austin. Members include Registered Pharmacist, Nutritionist and HealthyLife Head of Health and Nutrition, Sarah Gray; Dietitian and Nutritionist, Lyndi Cohen; Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr Nikki Stamp; and Dr Rob McCartney, Occupational and Environmental Physician and Chief Medical Officer, Woolworths Group.

Lisa Crawford Jones is an award-winning journalist, business consultant, and Content Manager to Naturally Good.

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