Upfront and personal

Store location: East Midlands
Enquiry: Plastic-free bodycare

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

I find this shop via a local recommendation so I have good expectations. The website is immediately inviting, using a muted and sophisticated looking colour scheme and a very clear layout.

The only drawback is that the homepage is sometimes a little bit slow to load.

The shop navigation takes me easily to everything I might be looking for, from online shopping, to contact details and the shop location, to the background of the shop and its team.

Verdict: 9/10

Website layout

The shop categories are clearly shown and intuitively organised. The webshop is very easy to browse and the search option works well.

The product ranges available are focused on wellbeing, bodycare, supplements and gifts. Within those areas there’s lots of choice of high quality products – but this wouldn’t be the place to come for a big ‘food shop’.

Product pages have detailed product information, including ingredients, clearly laid out. Product pages also show related products, encouraging me to explore.

Verdict: 9/10

Personal attention

The website seems very professional and obviously a lot of care has been put into it.

There’s an option to browse the online shop by health and wellbeing aspects – for example to find products to help with sleep.

It’s also easy to find a contact form for enquiries, plus links to the shop’s social media accounts.

As well as the web shop, the website includes a regularly updated blog and recipes, which help to give it a more personal slant.

Verdict: 9/10

Checkout

Checkout is very straightforward, with a clear and easy to use shopping basket, delivery options and charges shown clearly, and easily found T&Cs.

Delivery options range from free delivery for orders over a set value, the option to pay more for speedy delivery and the option to collect in-store for free.

After I place my order I receive friendly and informative emails to let me know when my order was received and when dispatched.

There’s no option to sign up to an email newsletter, which is a shame as this store seems otherwise quite good at communicating.

Delivery time is reasonable, with my purchase carefully packed in plastic-free packaging and with a friendly handwritten note.

Verdict: 9/10

Overall impression

The website is very professional and my interactions with the shop team feels friendly and warm. I’m not offered any feedback options, but I am very happy with the service.

I can see myself returning in the future, either online or in person, especially if looking for an eco-friendly gift.

Verdict: 9/10

Total marks 45/50

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.