You are a highly motivated online merchant and you sell products like vitamins, supplements, or similar - protein bars for example? You’ve probably realized, that, as sales numbers rise, looking for alternatives to store, pack and ship your products is the next step. In that case, spending 5 minutes reading this blog is a smart investment of your time.
In this blog you will learn about the following topics:
E-commerce is known to be one of the branches that can be titled as winners of 2020, with online sales picking up even more steam than they already were before the crisis. This is also true for the vitamin and supplements sector. Even compared to other categories in e-commerce, this sector is one of the biggest winners when it comes to growth. Fortunately, there are no signs of a slowdown in this development in 2021 either. On the contrary, the vitamin and supplement market, still estimated to be worth $163 billion in 2019, is expected to grow at a compound annual CAGR of 6.5% between 2020 and 2026, according to the Dietary Supplements Market Report. According to the 2020 Supplement Business Report, online supplement sales grew 61.4% in 2020. The Nutrition Business Journal even expects the e-commerce rate in this product area to double by 2023.
Why are Vitamins and Supplements so trendy?
People's health awareness has been growing steadily for several years now. A healthy diet is increasingly becoming the focus of attention. On the one hand, this is intended to strengthen health in general. On the other hand, more and more people are becoming aware that better nutrition goes along with greater performance. This is true not only in sports but also in working life. Accordingly, the use of vitamins and supplements is gaining popularity among the broad public. In addition to the global players, many smart companies have recognized this and have taken up the fight for online shoppers. In addition to good products and clever marketing, high-performance logistics is one of the pillars of success in e-commerce. Fast, reliable, inexpensive, and environmentally-friendly shipping are the key buzzwords here. For this reason, online retailers in the supplement industry and beyond are increasingly looking for suitable fulfillment solutions.
The sale and shipment of vitamins, supplements, and the like via online stores is a successful business model in many cases. However, attention must be paid to some peculiarities. For example, in the EU it is forbidden to advertise food supplements claiming preventive, palliative, or curative effects. At the end of the day, these products are not categorized as medical products, but as foods that serve to supplement the regular diet. Besides, the ingredients must be approved. Unfortunately, there are also a few black sheep, especially in e-commerce, who ignore these regulations.
Since food supplements such as vitamins, fitness supplements, minerals, or dietary products are potentially hazardous to health, special food safety regulations must be considered. This is especially true when shipping abroad. Licensed online retailers can ship their products across borders after adding documents and certificates that are required in the respective target market. You should pay particular attention to so-called complementary substances such as preservatives and colorants or sweeteners. Especially when importing into the EU, comparatively strict rules apply, while there are only recommendations for shipping supplements to the USA, but no real barriers for such products.
We therefore strongly recommend that you inform yourself in advance about laws and regulations in the respective country of destination, but also in the country of origin. Also, be aware that some shipping providers have company policies that exclude certain products. With byrd, you have access to a wide range of delivery companies, which gives you the maximum flexibility to switch between them.
The distribution of supplements and the like is associated with some hurdles. These include the following regulations
In general, shipping and the fulfillment of orders involved are now some of the most important purchase and repurchase arguments for online shoppers. A whopping 73.6% of online shoppers surveyed said that delivery was the most important part of the shopping experience. By the way, 19 out of 20 shoppers blame the online shop itself for bad experiences. Also, fulfillment is the biggest cost factor for online stores - costs of up to 70% of the value of goods are anything but exceptional. For all these reasons, e-commerce entrepreneurs should make a well-considered decision for their fulfillment solution. For those retailers selling vitamins, food supplements, and similar products, there are also other specifics to consider.
You know your customers best, but we are probably not entirely wrong in assuming that those customers who buy your vitamins and the like also place great value on organic compatibility. For this reason, you should make sure that your fulfillment partner has one or more certified organic fulfillment centers. Such warehouses are subject to strict controls to prevent contamination and mixing of products. The so-called BIO-HACCP certificate confirms appropriate measures along the entire supply chain - from the receipt of goods to shipping.
Another component of organic certification and equally important for online retailers in the food sector is the so-called LOT tracking. This allows keeping an overview of best-before dates. Thus, the expiration of products can be prevented in the best possible way and the shipping of expired goods can be excluded.
The same applies to the strategy of shipping products that were put into storage first. Sounds obvious and intuitive at first glance, but this is not the case in every warehouse.
Especially in the area of vitamins and food, the shopping cart often consists of several products. A 3PL or fulfillment provider should therefore offer the option of bundling multiple products into one shipment. Efficiency gains can be realized through these bundles, which often leads to enormous cost savings and, incidentally, is also a much more sustainable solution.
Especially in the area of vitamins and supplements, the packaging is a crucial communication tool. It is the first thing consumers see and touch. Thus, in addition to color, size, and other visual characteristics, haptics is also key to offering a convincing customer experience. Furthermore, a trustworthy brand is especially important in the vitamin and food sector, because especially in this area customers are often very critical. According to a survey conducted by the Nutrition Business Journal, only 39% of respondents said that they trust supplement manufacturers and sellers. Therefore, it is important to convince with quality and to be a trusted brand.
With enclosed flyers, stickers, and own packaging materials one can make the next step to a higher recognition in these matters.
Furthermore, the topic of sustainability, also concerning packaging, plays a decisive role in the sale of food. For 80% of people asked, it is important that little packaging material is used. Incidentally, reducing unnecessary filling materials is also a way of cutting fulfillment and packaging costs. Also, recyclable packaging is an important purchasing factor for 78% of respondents.
byrd offers all of the above, including all of the industry standards, certified organic fulfillment centers, the ability to ship bundles, and customizable packaging - it's even possible to use your own packaging materials. Hundreds of e-commerce companies use byrd's service including a large number of online stores that sell nutritional supplements, dietary supplements, and the like. Among them are online retailers that ship a few 100 orders per month, but also companies with several 1000 shipments per month.
YourSuper and BioVital can be mentioned here as examples. Also, FRANKY Chocolate has similar requirements for fulfillment solutions.
The nutritional supplement industry in e-commerce is anything but an easy business. Besides the fierce competition, there are also many rules and regulations to follow. On the other hand, the market is very lucrative and the demand is constantly growing. So you can focus on the essentials, byrd is the perfect partner to ensure a smooth fulfillment process. So you can at least sit back and relax on this often tedious issue while delighting your customers with fast and reliable shipping. Contact us now and get more information from one of our fulfillment experts without any obligation.