Wellwise launches ecommerce platform

Curated product selections and subscription ordering bring flexibility and education to Shoppers' banner for aging Canadians.

Shoppers Drug Mart has launched an ecommerce option for Wellwise, its new retail network for aging Canadians.

The retailer opened its first physical Wellwise concept in Toronto in September, using experiential and educational elements to differentiate it from Shoppers Home Health Care – its network of 56 stores focused on assisted living and in-home care – and to align with the active lifestyle of today’s older demographics. It plans to open a second Toronto Wellwise location in April.

The site is meant to be easy to shop, with products organized into six main categories: wellness, mobility, home comfort, tools & gadgets, personal care and active living. All products have a brief description that includes information on their use and the conditions or living situations they are meant to treat or assist. On top of regular product orders, the site also offers a subscription option to ship frequently bought items at regular intervals.

The site expands Wellwise’s reach to those who aren’t near the first two pilot stores, though online ordering is not currently available to residents of Quebec.

Scott Wilks, VP at Shoppers Home Health Care and Wellwise, says curation is the main thing that differentiates Wellwise’s offering from other ecommerce sites, or even other properties within the Shoppers network. In addition to being easier to navigate, grouping and curating the selection on the site makes it easier for customers to find products they might not know they need and helps the retailer cater more towards the active lifestyles aging Canadians are embracing.

“With an aging demographic, they really want to ‘age powerfully,’ as opposed to comfortably,” he says. “This was curated towards those groups and what we believe is an extension of what we are trying to do in our stores. We’ve also found that people just didn’t know the difference between one product and another or why they might need it, so it allows us to curate the right products for the right condition.”

The site is not only meant to cater to aging customers themselves, but to their caregivers, with Shoppers citing an Angus Reid study that says one in five Canadians are caregivers to an aging loved one. The curation element is helpful for caregivers who also do not have experience buying these kinds of products, but Wilks says the online ordering and subscription functions are of particular use, as caregivers are often challenged for time or don’t live in the same city as the loved one they are caring for.

“Caregivers are able to help support loved ones, knowing they’ll get the right product delivered to their door as often as they need it,” Wilks says. “It gave that flexibility. Caregivers also do a lot of shopping at night online, after work is done and they’ll take care of things in their own home. It was an important offering, because getting to a store between nine and six can be difficult.”

Wellwise’s online product selection is currently a replicate of what is available in store, but Wilks says the brand expects the selection will expand beyond that, especially when it comes to the active living category. Looking forward, he says the plan is to bring more lifestyle articles and blog content to the site in the near future. The goal for Wellwise.ca is to not only be an ecommerce site, but also a source of information and advice.