Retail innovation concept: wellness at home

Wellness at home - Jan Doove, Director of the Doove Care Group
Just as I was asked to make a contribution to this publication about retail and innovation, the Doove Care Group embarked on a new retail adventure. In late November 2007, Doove Healthy Living opened its first Experience centre in the Netherlands.

The Doove Care Group was not founded as a retail company. We supply comfort and care products prescribed to clients by medical professionals and reimbursed by insurance companies. The latter group is our customer.
We are now focusing on a new target group, the consumer. This is not a decision undertaken lightly.
Years ago, I noted trends and developments in the United States. Firstly, the privatisation of care, but also the ageing population and the increasing numbers of people with serious weight problems. At the same time, I noticed people began to value health and wellness more and more.
Wellness and well-being have become a trend, a development reflected by all kinds of products and services. Personally, I would say that wellness is the new preventive healthcare; it’s becoming a way of life.
My motto, as a human being and an entrepreneur, is: look at what you can do, not at what you can’t. This is the concept behind Doove Healthy Living.
Doove Healthy Living brings together a full assortment of wellness products for home use. To us, wellness means:
- Regular movement
- Conscious relaxation
- Sleeping well
- A healthy and varied diet

The Experience centre displays a new line of professional wellness, comfort & care products aimed at the consumer market. Visitors can calmly look around the store and try the products out. That’s easy enough for a fitness machine, a special chair or bed, but not everyone will want to try the hot tub in the showroom on a Saturday afternoon. We can make appointments for that kind of test run. Visitors are also advised and supported by a team of physiotherapists, ergotherapists, nutritional experts and personal trainers. Also after the sale has been made. We cooperate with gyms and provide online and personal home coaching.
The way we approach visitors to the Experience centre is different from a regular store. We don’t ask what the customer wants to buy, we try do discover how the customer wants to improve his or her well-being. ‘It’s not how good you are. It’s how good you want to be’.

I’ve suddenly become a retailer, but I remain convinced that the overall experience needs to feel right. The assortment, the advice, the service, the building, the interior and the surroundings.
The product lines are presented on three floors. They are laid out and connected openly, just like in real life. You cannot compartmentalize wellness; everything is connected. After all, lots of exercise and a healthy diet combined with poor sleep will make you feel less than great.

In developing the Experience centre, I was inspired by Ikea, among others. Ikea is an experience, every time. I mean, it’s basically a large industrial space, but featuring a perfect blend of design, creativity and accessibility. Additionally, they are experts at coming up with solutions, and provide excellent service.
What still remains to be seen is whether consumers will find their way to our store. If they don’t, it won’t be down to communication. We have employed all media channels, from regional TV to print as well as cross-media campaigning, among other things setting up the website together with a number of other partners. We will also have to rely on word of mouth. I have complete faith in the project. It is perfectly suited to the times we live in. We have the right story.

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