How Holland & Barrett improved the health of customer loyalty and digital customer engagement

How Holland & Barrett improved the health of customer loyalty and digital customer engagement
Liz Morrell is a freelance business journalist and content creator with more than 20 years writing experience, including 15 in retail and associated sectors. She is a regular contributor to MarketingTech but also covers a number of other industries in her freelance capacity. Contact her via LinkedIn or at

Picture credit: Flickr/Swipp Inc.

Engaging customers in the digital world is a must for any business but can be tough for a business such as NBTY Europe, which owns Holland & Barrett and GNC in the UK, that relies mostly on its physical presence for its business.

Yet digital data and analysis can drive change and strategy for both areas of a business, delivering real, business impacting change as a result. For Europe’s largest specialist health food retailer the group’s focus on digital customer engagement with a new, more data led loyalty programme for its Holland & Barrett store chain has led to a 40% rise in membership card activation, as well as increases in sales too.

The company launched a digital transformation project, aimed at modernising its operations and to help it better use customer data to understand the behaviour of its customers and decisions it should make to modernise its business both on and offline.

Part of the project saw the retailer revamp its loyalty campaign with the desire not just to see how cards were being used but to also provide additional insight into the customers using them – as well as a single customer view across channels.

The new loyalty scheme was created in a six month project by IT service and solutions provider ITC Infotech, who integrated Oracle’s Siebel CRM suite to create a new data management framework. This has allowed enhanced engagement through real time enrolment and activation and a more flexible process for earning points, as well as enabling easier card sign-up and usage. In the first week of launch, in April last year, card activations rose 70% per week, with 11 million loyally cards now issued and a 40% increase in membership card activation.

Importantly this has also fed through to sales with a 62% penetration  of card usage in sales and more than half (53%) of all transactions seeing cards used. Voucher usage has risen by 36% with each voucher leading to a 10% average increase in sales and a rise of 6 to 8% in terms of overall sales.

Chris Keen, CFO at NBTY Europe, said the company’s modernisation project was vital to not only allow it to maintain a market leading position but to grow and claim new markets too. “Customer data plays a vital role in this strategy, enabling us to deepen engagement and improve skills with existing customers and create powerful campaigns to break into new markets and attract new regulars.”

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