Eva Pascoe | Digital Retailer

Health is wealth

Saint Valentin brings a good opportunity to visit in the most romantic Thermal Spa in Europe.  Mint aroma new Spa pool refreshes the mind and sub-aquatic rock concert pool experience lets you float on  a mat, with your ears underwater listening to Leonard Cohen  – somewhat appropriate for pre-Brexit time. Visiting couples (and group of ladies as ‘galentines are gaining popularity in Switzerland) could bask in the multicolour light display in the jacuzzies, dip into Nordic freeze pool and smell the Alpine air, leaving rejuvenated and ready to do some shopping for wellness product after their spa session. The natives have known for a long time that wellness experience opens the visitors’ wallets as we like to take a bit of that special ‘wellness’ magic home. The In-Spa store had a vintage re-fit too, with interiors designed around the new play on Nordic lifestyle and voila, the previously basic swimsuit store is now stocked with new magic potions Spa range, with local herbs-based premium product is attracting not just Spa fans but also shoppers from outside.

Sunk costs bias bites again

Amazon Prime is not the only thing where you pay for your delivery costs up front. Bezos’ best concept has made it’s way to Swiss Alps where you buy the Ski Pass or known as Magic Pass at the beginning of the season to access 30 ski valleys ”free” for the Ski Season. This year’s 15% growth of visitors to Swiss mountains shows that Kahneman ‘sunk costs’ fallacy works.  Magic Pass gets the locals out of bed on every sunny Saturday and Sunday as with money committed, you feel you are not getting the value if you are not on the slopes every weekend. The ski resorts are getting increased retail spend as the locals once up in the mountains, enjoy splashing on new fancy googles or ‘connected helmets’. Good for health and for the economy of the valleys. Shame Verbier is not included.

Breitling brings precision to health

Luxury watch brands have had a tough few seasons, as the proverbial 1% is less flush with cash these days plus growth of Apple Watch has drawn the fans away. This year the pendulum swung back as the top brands like Breitling and Tag Heuer are now offering new fitness trackers and health options included as a default. Wealth-with-health is the new luxury and premium watch brands are investing heavily in training staff in interactive watches stores. Swiss retail is known for having very high staff retention (nearly 80%, compared to less than 20% in London). With online shopping booming even in hyper-conservative Swiss Alps, it is the expert knowledge, personal touch and access to customer’s  health needs record at a touch of the tablet that makes the difference (and repeat buyers). 

Pillow Talk

A mattress revolution has swept London and New York (Eve Sleep, Casper and dozens others), but the truth is that only the Swiss know how to sleep. In the top spas like Bad Ragaz visitors can chose from 20 types of pillows, from anti-ageing, anti-wrinkles to hypo-alergenic and a memory-foam version that will give you a massage as you sleep. Once you experienced their pillow magic, there is no going back to run-of-the-mill John Lewis’ pillows so fans are stocking up on their favourites in nearby … store. “Sleep expert” staff is on hand, helping to try out and select the best pillow, mattress and personalised cotton grade for your bedlinen. Sleep shopping is here to stay.

Liquid Iron for Super Heroes

Water is health and you can’t spend too much time finding the right one for you. Spas with “sommelier d’eau”  hosting ‘water bars’  with 30+ types of water are popping up in many Swiss resorts. During our excellent tasting session, the best discovery was a glass of water with extra iron supplement that improves oxygen processing in your lungs, helping to get that extra speed at the next 10K Geneva lake run. UK may have its SmartWater  but the Swiss are ahead on making sure that everything you consume, gives you superpowers. 

Bottom Line 

If you want shoppers to come to your shop, the store has to offer more than just physical goods. New retail is increasingly ”retaillness”  (Retail for Wellness) with a strong care and service elements, supported by data-fed analytics of customer’s details to enable staff to offer the best advice on anything from water, pillows, skis to watches.

The age of self-service is over as that shopping has gone online, so training store staff well, investing in the team will transform your brand experience – just watch the premium customers queue up. 

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