VHI Healthcare has launched an online shopping site. The facility (www.vhi.ie/healthshop) will allow its members and the general public to buy health-related goods and services at discounted prices although the health insurer said that members would be offered ‘exclusive’ pricing.
Open for business from today, delivery of all goods and services will be free of charge anywhere in Ireland right through Christmas until the end of January 2005.
The product range will include health and fitness products such as exercise equipment, vitamins, travel equipment, blood pressure monitors; pregnancy and baby products; books; contact lenses; online health and fitness programmes; and home safety systems for elderly people living alone.
The company claimed that most products would be the cheapest available anywhere, with certain lines – such as contact lenses – being discounted by up to 50pc compared to standard retail prices.
The site is being launched into a resurgent market for online shopping, the VHI believes. Research conducted by the health insurer suggested that 60pc of people would do some part of their Christmas shopping online this year while one in two visitors to its corporate website said they would like to able to purchase health goods online.
A number of companies including Buy4Now, Solo Optics, eDiets and Emergency Response Ltd will supply various goods and services to the online shop.
Said Declan Moran, director of business development and marketing, Vhi Healthcare: “Our aim is to be the No 1 online retailer of health and well-being products and services in the Irish Market. The ‘wellness’ sector in Ireland is growing fast and is expected to quadruple in size over the next four years to €4bn on an annual basis. This, together with the fact that more people are now purchasing online, augurs well for the future of the Vhi Health Shop.”
The Health Shop is the latest extension to the VHI product range, following the introduction in the past year of multi-trip travel insurance, dental insurance and the Lifestage Choices range of products.
By Brian Skelly