Vitamin R? Featured

9:37am EDT July 22, 2002

The Nutrition Club is using an innovation that its founders say will make it easier for its customers to shop for vitamins and nutritional supplements.

Instead of stacking and racking wares by category or type, they are arranging them alphabetically, which CEO Bob Montanari says is more customer friendly.

The stores also offer a demonstration area that doubles as a product display area where customers can learn how to use products.

Another innovation for The Nutrition Club is pouch-style packaging. It's less expensive and, Montanari claims, more effective for some of its private-label products, replacing the more familiar plastic bottles often used for vitamins and supplements. The stores also use upbeat music, warm lighting and colorful displays and graphics. And, keeping pace with the e-commerce beat, customers can buy either in stores or over the Internet at www.thenutritionclub.com.

But the feature that may be the most attractive to a bricks-and-mortar retailer concerned that e-commerce might cannibalize sales is a program that shares Internet revenue with franchisees. Franchisees get a cut of e-sales within their geographic area, making sure that they don't miss out entirely on that revenue stream -- their most important nutrient for staying competitively fit, what they might call in the industry "Vitamin R."Ray Marano