Rite Aid got busy in 2020 bringing new and trending ideas to the forefront across purchase channels. The “Store of the Future” redesign the retailer introduced in October, in tandem with an integrated brand refresh and the “RxEvolution” go-to-market strategy unveiled in March, reflects the retailer’s aims to offer a whole health destination for the mind, body and spirit while particularly targeting health-conscious Millennial and Gen X shoppers. The retailer’s new focus is evident on the sales floor of the redesigned stores.
The Store of the Future delivers an enhanced product assortment, modern merchandising tactics and vibrant signage. At these updated locations, Rite Aid pharmacists and front-end employees have been retrained to take on more consultative roles. The resulting shopping experience resembles a combination of Ulta Beauty, a medical spa and, perhaps, a mini-Whole Foods Market.
The Path to Purchase Institute recently visited two of Rite Aid’s first three redesigned stores in Moscow and Etters, Pennsylvania. The format’s spacious interiors, light colors and illuminated aisles all brighten up the stores. The beauty department is located close to the entrance doors, identified by a commanding “Beauty” ceiling fixture outfitted with lights and hanging green plants that give the area a natural feel.
Lobby and gondola displays similar to those in use at Ulta Beauty are positioned on the floor, some serving more as product showcases than primary merchandising units. The display assortment even includes an upfront gondola stocking a slew of miniature personal care and cosmetic SKUs such as facial cleaners, makeup setting spray and dry shampoo while reminding shoppers to “Bring home your favorite beauty Minis.” Signage in the department calls out “Natural Beauty Products” and identifies particular “free-from” ingredients. Rite Aid also has beauty ambassadors in select stores to offer guidance on its updated, on-trend product mix.
Beyond the beauty department, the entire store (particularly the health and well-being sections) offers alternative remedies and products elevating better-for-you ingredients. Rite Aid used lean methodology to assess what inventory wasn’t selling well and where to invest in terms of establishing on-trend supplier relationships to bring its whole-health vision to life. Products that help with better sleep, stress relief and immunity support as well as pain relief are merchandised with signage aligned with Rite Aid’s updated creative.
The grocery (“Market”) and household departments offer a warm, wooden atmosphere and highlight better-for-you options that consumers increasingly demand, such as organic, non-GMO, cruelty-free and clean products free of harmful chemicals, which gives the merchandising spotlight to brands such as Babyganics.
Another interesting addition to the updated stores is an eco-friendly “Hydrate for Health” water dispensing machine that stocks reusable water bottles and lets shoppers fill them up. The dispenser is positioned near checkout next to Amazon lockers for pickup orders.
Near store entrances and checkout, a refrigerated “Grab & Go” display offers better-for-you impulse-buy options, stocking beverages such as KeVita kombucha as well as healthy snacks.
As more wellness-oriented products hit shelves, part of Rite Aid’s Store of the Future vision is to free up pharmacists’ time so they are able to offer advice and answer shopper questions. In fact, the pharmacy counter was reimagined with a more open format and includes separate, private rooms for virtual care visits and consultations.