The rise of online sales and how to take advantage
The rise of online sales and how to take advantage
The shift from bricks and mortar shops to online retailers appears unstoppable and is happening even faster than many predicted. It is a transition, which has been happening inexorably for years. The Coronavirus “lockdown” converted even more of us to the convenience and choice offered by the internet’s many shopping outlets.
With gyms, health clubs and high street stores shut, where else could people buy their supplements? Yet, with the breaking of old habits and the creation of new ones (along with new online shopping accounts), it is clear that even after physical retailers have reopened their doors, many of their loyal customers will never return.
For supplement companies to survive and prosper through the coming economic downturn, mastering e-commerce marketing will be vital.
A rapidly shifting retail landscape
The “Amazonification” of the retail sales landscape is not news to any of us, but the key facts are worth reporting as the increase in online sales across all online channels since the beginning of the pandemic has been simply startling. Although 90% of all retail sales in 2019 were from bricks and mortar outlets, since the beginning of the crisis for every £1 of “new” retail spend from physical outlets, there have been £10 spent online.
Additionally, it is worth noting that the two biggest players; Amazon and eBay, are very smart and aggressive businesses. They will be determined to maintain customers acquired during the lockdown and they already have strategies in place to ensure that people whose habits have switched will stay switched.
But there have been increased sales across all other channels too, including Facebook Shop, Google Shopping, e-commerce websites and even newer and less obvious business channels like Instagram, which is growing daily. Subscription models, administered through websites or Amazon’s “Subscribe and Save” feature, are becoming ever more sophisticated and popular as the benefit to customer retention becomes obvious to online businesses.
With relatively high overheads and the additional stresses of enforced social distancing measures, sadly, many bricks and mortar retailers will not survive, driving even more consumers online. But how do you capitalise on this trend?
HOT TIP 1. With staying in likely to become the new going out for young people in 2020, we are tipping the emerging field of nootropic (mental performance enhancing) gaming supplements to explode in the latter part of this year.
HOT TIP 2. As the recession starts to bite, we expect to see value for money becoming a big theme. Marketing less premium options (like our Value Range) on the basis of their low “cost per serving” or by framing them as deals (30% extra FREE etc) will hook in price sensitive shoppers.
Starting an online business? Things to think about
“Going online” might take a lot less time and effort than establishing a high street store, but it comes with its own challenges. Firstly, without an eye-watering marketing spend or nationwide name recognition, it will take time to shoot up the rankings to the first page of Google or Amazon, no matter how good your products or prices.
Also, the online market can be unforgiving, with a host of unique difficulties to navigate; from the disproportionate damage that can be wrought by just a handful of negative reviews, to the pressure of high postage costs on margins and the possibility of losing your long sought-for Amazon page one ranking by going out of stock for even a day or two.
Creating “market excitement” for your products and failing to have sufficient stock to supply will be a disaster and consumers will not forgive your brand! It is vital that you invest in adequate stock levels.
8 TOP TIPS FOR E-COMMERCE SUCCESS
We have a carefully selected resident team of experts who have put together their top tips for online supplement sales success. Here are eight great tips to help you get started:
- Focus. Start with one to three “killer” products instead of a wide range. You will get a better price per unit, maximising your margin and allowing you to focus all your initial ad spend on building brand awareness through these core products. Ask our team what is hot right now.
- Get started straight away! It is better to build initial listings and have a developing website up and running to begin the vital process of building positive reviews and sales rankings than to delay your products launch for months while everything is polished to perfection – whilst your competitors are gaining ground daily.
- Take positive action now. Amazon provides massive visibility but it takes longer to get selling there than other platforms. It is a detailed process to become registered with them as a seller and to get your products properly booked in with them. The sooner you can start climbing towards page one, the better. As with point 2. – there is no time to waste. Start the registration process today, even if your products are yet not ready.
- Diversify. You will catch more fish with more than one line, right? The same principle applies in e-commerce; focus your efforts on the platform that you think will be best for you, but the more sales channels you can be on, the better. Exposure, exposure, exposure! It will make your business more visible, robust and you may be surprised where your products become most popular.
- Be unique! Internet shoppers are savvy. If you are selling a “straight” product like Creatine or Vitamin C tablets, they can easily price-check across competitors and you may be forced to sell at slim margins. Better to have a unique formulation (we can do this for you) that cannot be simply cross-referenced and a higher perceived value.
- Be mindful of first impressions. The first thing consumers will see of your brand will most likely be a little square image on a shopping site, not much larger than a stamp. Is your branding strong enough to catch wandering eyeballs? Is the product name legible at that reduced size? A small investment in a professional product photoshoot or computer render is vital and will pay huge dividends.
- Keywords, keywords, keywords. The lifeblood of the online shopping world. If you do not have keywords on your listing, then few shoppers will ever find you. Research your market properly and get the essential keywords on your listings (they are likely to be different for each platform too).
- Build a good reputation. Aim for perfection when it comes to customer care and the packing and postage of your goods. Be prompt and friendly in response to customer queries. Third party sites will not hide negative feedback and few internet businesses prosper with a run of bad reviews.
Of course, these are just a few “best practice” tips to get you started.
HOT TIP 3. The pandemic has been a stressful time for everyone and “self-care” is one of the trending terms of the moment. Wellness aids; from sleep improving tablets to gut health optimising probiotics, look to be a shrewd investment for 2020/21.
Challenges and opportunities in equal measure
In summary, it should be obvious to all that things are not just going to go back to how they were before, but there are huge opportunities for those in the supplements industry to innovate, survive and thrive through this crisis and beyond. Indeed, if you play your cards right, you could emerge stronger and more profitable than ever before.
There is economic pain coming, but the macro trends towards increased internet shopping and greater public interest in health and wellbeing play right into the strengths of the supplements industry.
There will be huge success ahead for those who start now and establish themselves as trusted brands delivering the products modern consumers want. The question is, will you be one of them?
Comments are closed