Where’s Your Head At?

The health and wellbeing sector has grown rapidly over recent years and continues to do so, with ‘wellness’ as a concept now established as a key trend amongst many.

At Place North West’s ‘Future of Retail’ event last week, Vladislav Mukhachev, Co-Founder of Mindful Store, shared insights into the business model. Mindful Store is a subscription model where eco-friendly and ethical brands pay a fee to be in the store, and then receive all sales revenue without incurring additional fees. Mindful Store also gathers customer reviews, providing brands with invaluable data to assist in product growth and development.

The store is a fantastic concept; piggybacking off the wellbeing boom and the increasing awareness of humans’ environmental impact. Not only this, it’s supporting the growth of small, sustainable brands: Vladislav quoted that 8/10 people experience a product in person, so giving these brands a physical space, allows the products to have a successful and memorable impact.

Nutrition, fitness, cosmetics, apps and more, are all benefitting massively from the boom of the wellness industry. This got me thinking, will ‘mental’ brands start to take physical space? Could mindfulness spaces where people visit to practice wellbeing techniques or walk-in health centres solely for mental health/stress/anxiety, become key elements of the future of retail?

There has been a steep rise of experiential gyms such as Barry’s Bootcamp, Kor and BLOCK in Manchester recently, a concept which has been present in London and over in America for a few years. Could these develop further to have health cafes, mindfulness courses, relaxation areas and beauty salon treatments, where the public can visit for a wellness experience or purchase health products?

As the retail industry continues to evolve, wellness tenants could be an innovative tactic to increase footfall and enhance the experience. It was discussed at the event that shopping centres need to develop their brand image to become places people discuss, queue for, and debate on social media, such as Apple or Nike. Could shopping centres develop their brand to become recognised as wellbeing destinations?

The rising ‘wellness’ trend is providing an opportunity for all organisations to incorporate wellness into the overall business offering. Corporate wellness has massively jumped in importance. Workplace stress, flexible working and wellness programmes are just a few factors which are becoming crucial when candidates are looking for a new role. The shift in expectations is forcing employers to rethink benefits packages to incorporate wellness strategies. And, if the local high-street or retail destination has a wellbeing offering, it could provide the perfect platform for new partnership opportunities.

The high-street is being re-shaped, tenants are changing, and the experience sought is advancing. Wellness products and practices are becoming a key part of everyday life and it could be a fantastic concept to differentiate the future of the high street and retail destinations. I’m looking forward to watching this sector grow and develop further in the months and years to come…watch this space!

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