Secret Shopper report: West Coast of Ireland

The time our Secret Shopper has made a fruitful trip over to Ireland’s west coast as we seek the best in UK and Ireland independent health store retailing.

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.

First impressions

This is a compact store in a light and airy shopping centre with a large supermarket and other smaller stores including a café. The shop front is small but open with glass windows showing special offers.

Two chalkboards outside the store are nicely marked up with text and drawings showcasing offers on their own brand supplements. When I enter the store I am impressed by how bright the light is, how orderly the store is set out and its lovely wooden floors.

Verdict: 7/10

Store layout

This is a well-stocked store, but it is not just stuffed with repeats of products.

There is plenty of choice with all the major brands on the shelves. There are areas clearly labelled for supplements, gifts, eco cleaning, baby care, confectionery, sports nutrition, detox, superfoods, haircare, jointcare, foods, herbs, herbal teas and more, so it is easy to identify what you are looking for. Plenty of room to walk around and see what they have.

There is not a massive amount of food, with only a small freezer and one fridge mostly full of probiotics. There are promotions on Bio-Kult probiotics and a back to school discount of 25% off Eskimo 3 kids’ ranges of omega oils.

I like the table of salt lamps near the entrance and other gifts. The main attraction of the store is how organised, clean and bright it is. There is subtle music and the whole shopping experience is very relaxing.

Verdict: 7/10

Personal attention

Staff members are interested when I come into the store, but they let me browse for a while until I am ready to ask questions. Two female staff wear a uniform of dark trousers and pale green-therapy style shirts. They are smart and identifiable.

I asked for some advice on a number of issues – staff are very open and willing to help. For anxiety they recommend Viridian Rhodiola Complex with the adaptogens Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha, licorice and rhodiola rosea. They give me lots of detailed advice on how to use Rescue Remedy and Rhodiola Complex for anxiety issues, as they work differently but can be taken together.

For a secondary school child who doesn’t like the taste of fish and will not take a pill there are a number of options in Eskimo 3 kids and I choose the chewable omega-3. I also decide to try reusable waxed paper sandwich bags from If You Care for lunchboxes.

For my husband’s nasal issues they recommended an A Vogel sinus Po Ho inhaler stick with peppermint, eucalyptus, juniper, fennel and caraway oils.

Verdict: 7/10

Check out

Check out is chatty and helpful and I am happy to buy a number of products. I am offered a loyalty card and will definitely drop in again if I am ever in the area.

Verdict 8/10

Overall impression

A good shopping experience – it is a Friday afternoon and not too busy. Staff have time to spend with me and are knowledgeable and friendly. I would recommend it to family and friends.

Verdict 8/10

Total marks 37/50

Read the previous Secret Shopper report here...