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An online shop moving with the times

Continuing our search for health stores that can supply products online, begun during lockdown and extending throughout the pandemic crisis and beyond. Here, our secret shopper finds several pros and cons.

Store Location: London
Vegan iodine

First impressions

I find this store using a search engine and discover, at the time of placing my order, quite an old fashioned website design. Although it’s reasonably easy to search, I’m glad to say the design is now updated and looks much cleaner and more modern.

The product and shop category pages are linked to from the homepage, making them easy to find, with a straightforward contact page, including contact details, shop opening hours, a map to help with finding the shop, and a contact form. An ‘about us’ page gives some background info on the shop and outlines the product ranges and the training given to staff.

Verdict: 7/10

Website layout

The online shop only sells supplements, nutritional products and bodycare, but it has a good range from lots of popular natural brands, providing plenty of choice in those areas. Clear listings encourage me to browse either by brand or product category.

The search option works very well and returns results quickly. A click reveals detailed product descriptions, including ingredients lists for some products. Bestsellers, including some with special offers, are shown on the homepage, and after the design update, new products also.

Verdict: 8/10

Personal attention

There are product categories for specific health aspects making it easy to search for these. The descriptions are detailed and provide useful information on using the products. Sadly, online reviews were mixed.

A contact page offers the option to submit comments and there’s also a FAQs page with practical information about ordering. No chat facility but there are links to Facebook and Twitter pages.

Verdict: 7/10

Check out

Each product has to be ordered from its individual product page, rather than directly from any category/search results pages, which slightly slowed down the process. Registering to place an order is a little bit slow and after registering my shopping basket is empty, so I have to select all over again. This is a bit glitchy and off-putting. Payment is via PayPal which I think a lot of customers will like; however, no additional items or services are offered.

Costs for first/second class delivery options are made clear at the delivery details stage, with free delivery for orders over a certain value. There’s no click and collect option.

Post-purchase communication is a bit basic – I receive one email to let me know my order had been dispatched, with a link to login to the website for more details. Delivery takes about a week, as expected, and is packaged very simply but safely. There’s no incentive to encourage me to return.

Verdict: 6/10

Overall impression

Although the ordering process is quite impersonal, the Facebook page is regularly updated with info on special offers and new products. I’m happy with how my order was handled but I’d be unlikely to revisit unless I need a specific product that I know they sell.

Verdict: 7/10

Total marks: 35/50

Read the previous Secret Shopper report here...

The Better Retailing 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 Better Retailing secret shoppers throughout the year.