In a 2021 report, McKinsey estimated global wellness to be a $1.5 trillion market, with a growth rate of 5% to 10%. The company surveyed over 7,500 consumers in six countries, and 79% stated that wellness was important, with 42% considering it a priority. More notably, over the past few years, there’s been a 27% to 65% increase in the percentage of consumers prioritizing wellness. Therefore, it’s evident the pandemic influenced the importance of wellness to consumers, and it’s no surprise the post-pandemic flood back to stores brought an increased desire for wellness brands to meet their consumers in real life.
The store experience created by rest and wellness brands showcases unprecedented humanity in the retail space, recognizes the vulnerability of consumer needs, and centers around showing up for shoppers when they need it the most.
A human-to-human experience, rather than a brand-to-human one, is essential to the wellness shopper.
When someone shops for new bed linens or sleepwear, it may be for trivial reasons. However, given the value many people now attribute to wellness, there may also be a personal issue underlying that search for better rest. “Thinking of stores beyond the utility of trying on garments and transacting can enhance the feelings people have about wellness and rest more specifically,” shared Ashley Merrill, Lunya’s founder and CEO.
Lunya is a direct-to-consumer brand known for its flattering sleepwear, and has grown to $25 million in annual revenue. It calls its stores “bedrooms,” with each location “designed to romance and inspire people about this sometimes underappreciated room in the house. We have worked with incredible artists and creatives to make these all different and inspiring places with the hope that our guests will go home with creative ideas for how to elevate their bedrooms and general resting experience,” stated Merrill. The brand has six locations with plans to more than double this year, opening in San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, and Chicago throughout the summer.
Each Lunya location is entirely different and focuses on the humanity of a wellness purchase. Similarly, Ritual, a health-meets-technology brand that’s raised over $40 million in funding and is known for multivitamins, recently opened its first store on Abbot Kinney in Venice. The decision came after an earlier successful pop-up on Melrose Ave. “We already have an incredible relationship with our customers online—they share some of their most vulnerable and formative experiences with us, and being able to bring that relationship into a physical space has brought it to a new depth,” shared founder and CEO, Katerina Schneider.
When looking deeper at the human-to-human interactions in these stores, there’s a vital element of education, which appears key to facilitating purchases around health.
The ability to feel, touch, and learn is vital to the wellness shopping experience.
In Ritual’s new store is a traceability map wall. “It highlights key ingredients across our product portfolio and enables us to educate our customers around our first-of-its-kind traceable supply chain, our ingredient suppliers intentionally sourced from around the world, and even bring the conversation into the science behind our products, our peer-reviewed clinical study, and our USP Verification,” said Schneider. This wall and the ability for shoppers to interact with sales associates is both a personal health education opportunity and a chance to learn about new products. For instance, since opening the location, a new product, Synbiotic+, a 3-in-1 traceable biotic with 11B CFUs of probiotics for digestive support, became the brand’s number one seller in-store.
In the case of Lunya, the education appears to be more of a combination of inspiration from the unique lifelike bedrooms and the ability to feel and touch the variety of textiles. As Merrill said, “though we trust the power of video and the written word, it’s hard to truly understand the magic of the world’s best textiles without touching them firsthand.” In this human-to-human interaction with the brand, shoppers can see and feel the impact the products can make on their wellness. Without a store, shoppers may lose the power of that education.
Ritual and Lunya are far from the only rest and wellness brands opening new stores and figuring out the best shopping experiences. For example, Brooklinen recently announced expansion plans to open four new locations this year and reach 25 to 30 stores by 2024. Since then, the Philadelphia and Santa Monica locations opened, taking the human-to-human experience beyond the store and into the community with various partnerships and events with local artists and businesses.
Each brand, wellness, rest, or otherwise, has its unique approach to a store experience. But, with rest and wellness becoming exponentially valuable to humans over the past few years, these brands have recognized the need to provide equally valuable experiences focused on education and humanity.