Walmart’s Wellness Agenda

Creighton Kiper, merchandising vice president of wellness at Walmart, is ready to bring wellness to the masses. 

Kiper, in an interview with executive editor Jenny B. Fine at the Fairchild Live Wellness Forum, said Walmart’s shoppers are very interested in the category, and like many wellness enthusiasts, are focusing on how to “improve themselves from within.” At Walmart, Kiper is responsible for vitamins, active nutrition and weight management, as well as mental health. 

“It is about progress and improving health and discipline, mentally, physically, emotionally, even spiritually, and you do it every day because the returns come across months and years and decades,” Kiper said. “Chances are you won’t hear anyone mention doctors or medication, but rather they’ll articulate what their personal responsibility is.” 

Walmart customers are interested in inner and outer beauty, fitness and mental health, as well as the connections between those categories, Kiper said. 

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“Whether it’s personal care, beauty, fitness, diet, we definitely are seeing changes that benefit retail, and most importantly, the customer,” he said. 

Walmart is seeing growth from sleep aids, collagen peptides and powder, beverage and gummy-format products, Kiper said. “It’s been sustained double-digit growth year on year,” he said. “We’re actually seeing customers build a regimen, and it’s really in those spaces around hair, skin, nails, around sleep and around metabolism as well.” 

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Customers are willing to stick to their routines now, including when it comes to supplements. Part of it is because of visible benefits, like stronger hair skin and nails, but part of it is also about feeling better, Kiper said. “Melatonin and all of that is just good for not only beauty, but just the way your body operates, the energy levels that you carry,” he said.

Right now, people are looking for things that help with cognitive function, including memory improvement and better focus, Kiper said. Sleep products and immunity are also trending, he noted, and Walmart is working to figure out how it can work mental health into its offering. 

“We’re actually realizing there’s a lot of digital solutions in this space and so that creates an opportunity and a challenge as far as just us learning how to evolve the definition of what the solution is for the customer,” Kiper said. 

Walmart is also jumping on super niche trends, like chlorophyl water, which started trending on TikTok earlier this year, and translating them to the masses. 

“Our merchants were able to move really quickly in our marketplace business and our first party business and make sure the assortments we had we ordered up on inventory, they we curated some of the assortment to make it very easy for the customer to shop,” Kiper said.

From that, Walmart gathered data to figure out what physical stores would make sense to stock chlorophyl water in, Kiper said. “As we monitor all these pieces of data, we’re able to make decisions, so long-term locations and placements in stores,” Kiper added. 

“We joke that a trend has to last for more than four days, and we monitor those things,” Kiper said. “We let the customer tell us what they’re interested in, and if it’s just for a month it’s for a month, but it’s business to capture.” 

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