Secret Shopper Report: Channel Islands

Stress-free shopping!

Our Secret Shoppers are scouring the highways and byways for the best of GB’s health food and natural lifestyle independents. Giving marks out of 10 in each of five sections, our shopper went to a local store when visiting the Channel Islands.

The Better Retailing Awards are run in conjunction with the Health Food institute and reward excellence in independent health store retailing. The winner is selected from the stores visited by the Better Retailing secret shoppers throughout the year.

Store location: Channel Islands
Issue enquired about:
Anxiety and lack of sleep

First impressions

A tricky position fronting one of the few busy roads for traffic on this island! The store has a wide window and is one of few shops in this location – somehow it comes across as a little uninspiring and doesn’t shout a strong natural health message, and it lies apart from the main, largely pedestrianised shopping area

Verdict: 5/10

Store layout

Stepping inside, I immediately get the feel of a roomy, easy-to-navigate health store with a strong hint of extensive stocks beyond for anything I might need. I get a nice smile on entering but I’m left alone to browse, which is fine by me. I immediately come across books and a few items of hardware including a soya/almond nut milk machine which is high on my shopping list for another time. Moving on I find an extensive pre-packed health food range, a chilled section plus a good choice of personal care products (Jason, Weleda etc.) including plenty of hair care with a strong Naturtint display. Also a wide range of sports nutrition – this store has the space to meet most needs. Chocolate is also abundant, including Green & Black’s and Booja Booja. Then I encounter the supplements section and, looking for something to help with anxiety and lack of sleep, I become confused by the choices – that’s when I am approached by an assistant whose timing is perfect!

Verdict: 8/10

Personal attention

The assistant politely asks if I need any help and I launch into my hopes of finding a herbal or mineral supplement. She asks a few sensible questions and immediately grasps my requirement. She takes a pack of New Nordic Melissa Dream which contains lemon balm, L-theanine, chamomile, vitamin B complex and magnesium. She explains how these work together but my eye takes in more botanicals on the adjoining shelves. To help me with my choice, she points me to A.Vogel Passiflora for anxiety, calming Valeriana, and Dormeasan with valerian and hops, plus Viridian’s Cheery Night and Pukka’s Night Time. Too much choice? She helps me through my momentary confusion and then I realise that the New Nordic product, though the most expensive, might do the trick in one tablet rather than combining several products.

Verdict: 8/10

Check out

A different lady is at the check out as I approach with my Melissa complex and a few items of healthy food, including a dehydrated seaweed pack, most appropriate in this seaside town! Check out is fast and efficient and, as I pay, I ask about a website and online store, or social media. “We don’t know how,” is the honest response, “but we do supply orders for the other islands.” There are several therapies available, operated by local therapists including an intriguing flier for meditations that demands my attention.

Verdict: 7/10

Overall impression

This is a store strong on stock, but possibly weak on marketing impact. But then, all of the Channel Islands are close-knit communities where word of mouth counts above all else, so the need for marketing is not so great. Inside, it has a happy and helpful appeal, and I’m glad I found it because I visit the islands often to see old friends. Easy to recommend!

Verdict: 7/10

Total marks:35/50

Read the previous Secret Shopper report here...