GNC redesigns its stores, invests in new tech to improve customer experience

Steven Loeb · April 5, 2023 · Short URL:

The company is launching a social selling tool and a new POS system

The in-store retail space is in an interesting place right now: before the pandemic, consumers were increasingly shifting to online shopping, putting retailers in jeopardy and leading to more than 9,300 stores closing in 2019. Since then, though, people have actually started shopping in-store more often, though now they are trying to save money by shopping more at Dollar and discount stores, and they are also increasingly unhappy with what they're finding in terms of customer service. 

To navigate this tricky and fluctuating landscape, vitamins and supplements retailer GNC announced on Wednesday that it will be redesigning its stores with an emphasis on new technology as a way to enhance the experience for its customers. 

That means turning its stores into what it refers to as "home bases from which innovative, tech-driven selling solutions are launched." Each new store will also offer full retail capabilities as well as expert coaching.

As part of those new technologies, the company says it's introducing a new social selling tool through a partnership  with Salesfloor, a mobile clienteling, virtual selling, and AI Assisted Selling platform for stores; the tool will bridge and integrate its online portal,, with in-store coaching, meaning shoppers will be able to speak with 100 of the company's coaches through real-time chat functionality or video calls. Those experts will walk through the store to help consumers build a routine and complete the transaction virtually.

In addition, GNC is also unveiling a mobile point-of-sale (POS) system which allows for curb side pickup, same day delivery, and online sales at Coaches will also be able to consult and sell products at external events. 

These new features build on GNC's already existing ship from store and buy online pickup in store capabilities.

GNC opened 75 new stores in 2022, as well as several dozen so far this year, along with 88 new commitments, and another 15 agreements anticipated by the end of the year. The company also revealed that it's opening a 2,400 square foot flagship store in Pittsburgh this summer.

"Our brick and mortar locations play a fundamental role in our business far beyond serving as a retail destination," Nate Frazier, Chief Operating Officer, GNC, said in a statement.

"The improvements we've made from a tech standpoint allow us to untether ourselves from the physical store to be more active in the community and sell outside of our four walls to capture consumer interest wherever they want to shop."

GNC is far from the only retailer looking to expand operations in 2023: a survey from earlier this year, which polled retail store managers in commercial real estate services firm Levin Management Corporation's 125-property leasing and management portfolio, found that over 76% of them said their 2022 sales matched or exceeded the prior year, which the company notes is the highest percentage the survey has ever seen.

Most of think that will continue into this coming year, as nearly 70% said they are optimistic about store performance in 2023, and over a quarter of respondants even said they anticipate their company will open additional locations in the next 12 months.

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