Wal-Mart & Wellness, Perfect Together?

By Rebecca Wright, Editor, rwright@rodpub.com | September 15, 2008

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, initiated a fundamental shift in its image last year. Instead of being known solely for low prices, its new goal is to become THE place for wellness too. Along with that, the company has instituted a huge sustainability program, requiring suppliers to meet its “green” standards.

While there has been a lot of discussion surrounding Wal-Mart’s negative impact on business (i.e., pushing “mom and pop” operations out of business), no one can deny the fact that it influences 90% of the households in the U.S.—that’s more powerful than the Oprah factor. With Wal-Mart’s help, it seems wellness and sustainability have officially become big business.
Further, because of Wal-Mart, consumers have become more proactive about their health and the health of the planet. As a result, the company is demanding solutions that help consumers “live better,” and nutraceuticals and natural personal care are just what the retailer ordered. From a product perspective, this translates into endless opportunities for the markets covered in this latest issue of Beauty I&O.
Natural and organic personal care is the fastest growing segment within the overall personal care market. The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), a leader in providing information on health and wellness consumers, provides an interesting look at these consumers and what motivates them to buy these products.
The world that exists between personal care products and dietary supplements and functional foods is an emotional one, so it is important for companies to craft appropriate messages for specific consumer groups. Women in particular are the gatekeepers for inside-out beauty solutions and they are always seeking a powerful connection with a brand—to them there is nothing worse than a broken promise. Read Five Brand Truths that Get Her Trying...and Buying.
Speaking of promises, Wal-Mart’s is to “save people money so they can live better.” Only time will tell if the world becomes a better place in light of these efforts.

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