Woolworths wants a bigger slice of the $10 billion-plus health and wellness market. Picture: Getty images
Woolworths is launching a new online marketplace to widen its reach in the fast growing $10 billion-plus health and wellness sector that will see the supermarket giant provide digital health services and advice for the first time under one retail banner.
The online business, called HealthyLife, will appeal to the growing legions of Australian consumers who are increasingly opting for healthy food choices, as well as seeking guidance on a range of wellness and fitness needs.
According to Woolworths’ internal data there has been an 80 per cent uptake in digital traffic on health-related searches across a range of categories on the retailer’s
The HealthyLife start-up will provide a range of services and advice, fitness and nutrition tracking, vitamins, sports nutrition, along with a specialised range of natural and organic products not currently offered by Woolworths.
This could mean specialty and bespoke ranges of supplements or nutritional foods that normally wouldn’t appear on Woolworths shelves could be featured on the HealthyLife site through a deal with specialist suppliers.
The online marketplace is the latest pivot by Woolworths to move into adjacent consumer goods and services industries and follows the set up of an online one-stop-shop for pet needs under its PetCulture joint venture.
“As a food and everyday needs retailer, we have an important role to play in supporting the health and wellbeing of our customers and have made significant progress in making health easier and more accessible for them,” said Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci. “To address this growing customer demand, we’re working hard to improve our product range in our store. We’re establishing HealthyLife online to ensure we provide our customers with a convenient destination to meet their health and wellness needs.”
The pitch is not an attempt by Woolworths to muscle its way into the pharmacy sector in terms of offering health and medical advice.
However, wellness advice will be an important part of the healthylife.com.au site when it launches later this year, from tips on sleeping better to how a balanced diet, complementary vitamins, supplements, and exercise can support a healthy lifestyle and outcomes. The advice will be approved by an advisory board made up of nutritionists and health professionals.
The products under the new HealthyLife retail banner will also be offered via the soon to be launched marketplace on the woolworths.com.au website.
In April Woolworths unveiled its plans to join the rush by companies setting up their own online marketplaces that will enable it to double the products it has for sale with third-party suppliers able to sell their goods on the dedicated site.
In April Woolworths announced its venture capital arm, W23, had bought a minority stake in Marketplacer which creates online marketplaces for retailers.