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Store location: London
Enquiry: Vegan chocolate

New Natural Business continues our ‘must see’ Secret Shopper exercise in which we find the best online shopping experience among independent retailers. Our number one rule in our eagle-eyed search is that the online shops we visit must be backed by a physical store. Here’s the latest episode featuring a large store in London…

First impressions

I’ve turned up an attractive site with a clear and fairly intuitive design. A couple of pop-ups on the homepage are slightly off-putting but not too distracting.

The website homepage is focused on the online shop – but it’s pretty straightforward to find physical shop details too. Information on their background and values is also easy to find.

The homepage shows me enough – including new and bestselling products - to intrigue me to browse further. I easily find a great range of vegan chocolate to choose from.

Verdict 9/10

Website layout

There is a lot of choice, including ambient/chilled/fresh food and drink, supplements, bodycare and household. Products seem tailored towards customers who are willing to spend more than the average. However, I do find some more basic essentials after a bit of looking.

I find it tricky to work out how some products are categorised – there are a few items I can’t find within the shop categories but eventually track down using the search feature. This is easy to find and gives quick results – but sometimes shows me a lot of non-relevant products.

Product pages are informative and detailed, including ingredients and nutritional information.

Verdict 8/10

Personal attention

Alongside the webshop, the website includes lots of inviting looking recipes. There is also a blog which includes some shop news and product-related content. An online chat feature is available while browsing the site but doesn’t feel too intrusive. Their social media content is a bit of a mixed bag however, as some channels don’t seem to be updated very often.

Their email marketing is promoted in a pop-up on first arriving on the site, with sign up also available across all the website pages.

Verdict 8.5/10

Check out

The shopping basket is clearly shown throughout and easy to use. However, at one stage some items related to a product I’m ordering are suggested in such a way that I almost have to opt out of them being added to my basket.

Delivery options and costs are shown clearly, both throughout checkout and in the webshop help information. I run into a small issue with one of the delivery information fields – however, it’s not too tricky to get around.

Payment is very straightforward, with multiple payment options available. Several order processing emails keep me up to date on the progress of my order. Delivery is within the expected time and packed very simply but effectively.

Verdict 8/10

Overall impression

The website gives the impression of being professional and trustworthy. I don’t get the warm friendly feeling of being part of a community, but perhaps that would be built up over future visits and email marketing.

Overall, I find the ordering process pretty straightforward and smooth – I feel it would be easy to use again in the future.

Verdict 8.5/10

Total marks 42/50

Read the previous Secret Shopper report here...

The Awards are run in conjunction with the Health Food Institute and reward excellence in independent health store retailing. The winner is selected from the stores visited by the New Natural Business secret shoppers throughout the year.