Browsing happily for herbal teas

Store location: Yorkshire
Enquiry: Loose herbal teas

Previously in this series, Better Retailing Magazine set the standard for secret shopping to find the great, the good or even the average health food retailers. Now New Natural Business has picked up the baton. And during the pandemic, we’re focusing on stores with an online shop...

First impressions

A friend recommended this store and I quickly find out why. The website is inviting, modern-looking and clear, with a responsive design and muted colour scheme. The only drawback is that some pages are a little bit slow to load.

Shop categories are all easy to find from the homepage and navigating to information about the shop, contact details and FAQs about online ordering is very straightforward. I like the page on the history of the shop and its values. Best of all, there’s a good range of quality natural health products.

Verdict: 9/10

Website layout

I dive in. There’s a good variety of supplements and herbals, bodycare and inviting food and drink. Maybe not the widest range of products but they seem carefully chosen and presented in a clear, straightforward way. It’s not really encouraging me to browse so I get straight down to the hunt for herbal tea – categories and subcategories are clearly shown throughout and can be filtered to help with finding specific products. Bestsellers and featured products are shown prominently. There’s a search option on all pages which works well, and quickly.

However, many products have only fairly basic information, perhaps aimed at customers who know what they’re looking for? Some products have special offers applied but these are shown in a quite low-key way.

Verdict 8/10

Personal attention

I don’t find much information to help with specific health or product queries on the website, although it does prompt me to get in touch if I need more detail. This is a very professional website and the shop has glowing online reviews applauding the helpfulness and knowledge of the staff. FAQs about ordering are clearly shown and there’s a blog that appears to have only recently been started, but I make a mental note to come back to see how this is progressing.

Verdict 7/10

Check out

A very straightforward and quick checkout, with delivery cost and a link to T&Cs shown clearly. The process is kept clear of any distractions and I find myself happy to part with my cash!

There’s an order threshold for free UK delivery, communicated clearly throughout as is the cost for delivery if not meeting the threshold. Order processing emails are clear and contain all the information I could want.

Delivery is pleasingly swift, with my teas neatly and professionally packed. An attractive leaflet is included with my order which points me to the shop should I choose to visit, together with encouragement to revisit the website, and reminders about their social media pages.

Verdict 10/10

Overall impression

Very professional and well organised. It doesn’t go all the way to make me feel part of a community but the ordering process is very smooth. One aspect missing that would be helpful for the store is a reminder or a request to review my ordering experience. Overall, I am pleased with the service and will happily return again.

Verdict 8.5/10

Total marks 42.5/50

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.