Is this your company?
- Six people answering phones
- Four people filling orders
- One person managing invoices
- Two people managing inventory
- One person managing shipping
- Thousands of printed brochures and collateral
Many supplements and functional food companies struggle today with the old paradigm of transactions to retailers and consumers. A labor-intensive sales and distribution process adds time, costs and complexity to each transaction. This encumbers growth.
Manufacturers and distributors of supplements and functional foods that adopt eCommerce platforms can reduce cost of sales if the implementation is correctly adapted. Advances in platform integration include cloud-based systems and feature-rich application programming interface (API) with end-to-end eCommerce capabilities.
- Operational efficiency: An integrated eCommerce platform can lower transaction costs, save time and resource by automating sales and distribution. A cloud-based, managed platform will reduce the need for expensive, highly skilled, internal IT resources and the need for IT infrastructure.
- Dynamic Marketing: Create dynamic digital collateral that is cost-effective and enhance the sales and product use experience.
- Market Scale: eCommerce provides market connectivity and lets a company scale its market presence using enabling resources, such as social media and email campaigns.
- ROI: Generate higher return on investment (ROI) with a sales team that can be refocused on new client acquisition instead of labor-intensive tasks.
- Customer Experience: The online ecosystem can enhance client engagement. Retailers and consumers can connect using their preferred technology, anywhere, anytime. An eCommerce platform remembers purchase preferences and orders, and this allows repeat purchases in seconds.
How does this kind of platform affect supplement-specific selling?
The online ecosystem easily allows for the ability to target buyers based on organic search preferences and relevance to target online ads.
Are there considerations for shelf life in shipping?
Supplement and functional food products that require special warehousing and shipping needs (e.g., refrigerated products) utilize a fulfillment solution that supports their products’ specific ambient requirements. In the event that a supplement or functional food company wants to use its own fulfillment system, digital solutions are available to integrate their fulfillment system into its eCommerce platform.
Can this help supplement companies in their supply chains with raw materials, and if so, are there ways that it can be used to ensure safety and efficacy of products?
Yes, raw material suppliers can use a B2B eCommerce platform to market and sell to supplement companies. Both the buyer and seller benefit from reduced transaction costs and access 24/7. It is astute for the raw material seller to display information on the eCommerce platform about the safety and efficacy of their ingredients or products, and the seller should be cognizant of this. If confidential information needs to be secured and made available selectively, private login functionality may be activated.
How can this be integrated into current relationships supplement/functional food companies have with retailers?
Any existing business is easily transferred to the eCommerce platform once it’s launched. It is important to note that an eCommerce platform may be structured for any B2B transaction within the supply chain as shown below.
- An ingredients company can sell to manufacturers
- Manufacturers can sell to distributors, or direct to retailers
- Distributors can sell to retailers or they may use a procurement platform integrating all their manufacturers and achieve huge costs savings
Mark Doyle (firstname.lastname@example.org) is president of Marketscape Inc, an innovator in building and managing eCommerce platforms for businesses in United States and Canada.