Selling food supplements in new markets: distributors and channels

Selling food supplements in new markets: distributors and channels

Supplement

It is estimated that the nutritional supplement industry contributes nearly $122 billion and creates more than 750,000 jobs across the United States each year alone. These days, Americans are beginning to care more about their health than in decades’ past, and they're not afraid to shell out a decent amount of money for a product they believe will help them lead a healthier life. In fact, "more than two-thirds of American adults take dietary supplements each year," so it's no surprise, then, that the supplement industry is booming not just in the United States, but worldwide. If you've been interested in tackling a new business venture, there has perhaps never been a better time to start your own supplement company.

New markets for food supplements

Not only is the supplement industry seeing record-breaking numbers, but growth is only expected to continue indefinitely. In fact, the growth of the supplement market has seen steady increases every quarter for many years. By throwing your hat into the ring now, you can begin taking advantage of this lucrative industry while also helping people achieve better health and wellness. It's a win-win for all involved.

Steps to successfully enter a new market

As with starting any business, however, the supplement industry has its own unique nuances that you'll need to become familiar with in order to achieve long-term success. And while there's no universal algorithm for a great supplement business launch formula, there are some steps you can follow to improve your chances of success in this booming yet competitive industry.

1. Research the Market

It all begins with market research; this would be true regardless of the industry you're getting into, but it's especially important in the supplement market. With literally hundreds of different type of supplements being sold across the United States, it will serve you well to figure out which specific supplement formulas are in the highest demand and which are likely to become more popular in the future. For instance, supplements to help people lose weight and gain muscle are not likely to wane in popularity any time soon, but they'll also have more competition.

2. Know Your Competition

Speaking of competition, it's never a bad idea to see what your competitors are doing before you launch a supplement business. While you obviously don't want to copy your competitors, this type of research can be a great way to see what's working for them and what, in turn, may work for you. At the same time, your findings may also help you learn what to avoid in your own business launch.

As you research your competition, be sure to consider the price points at which they're selling their products, their labeling/packaging, and the types of value claims they're making with their products.

3. Find a Supplement Manufacturer

You can't start selling supplements without help from a reputable supplement manufacturer or wholesale supplement supplier, so you'll need to spend a great amount of time and resources figuring this out. Depending on how large your business will be from the start, keep in mind that you may have to rule some manufacturers out due to order minimums. Furthermore, remember that the more you order from your manufacturer at once, the lower your per-item cost is going to be.

4. Consider Your Sales Outlets

Many supplement companies that are just starting off opt to sell their products online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores, and this is often a wise decision. There are many online platforms where you can sell supplements, including Amazon, Jet, and even eBay. Just make sure you take time to become familiar with the ins and outs of each platform before you start listing, as they all have their inherent advantages and disadvantages.

5. Develop a Marketing Strategy

Setting your supplement brand apart from the competition is key, and the best way to do this is with a carefully executed marketing strategy. One of the most effective marketing tools is that of social media, which is low-cost (and free, in most cases) to use and allows your brand to reach a huge potential audience. Knowing how to leverage your brand's influence on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is a great way to give your brand personality, improve brand recognition, and boost conversion rates. 

6. Have Your Supplements Tested

While not absolutely necessary, it's a smart business decision to have your supplements tested so that you can make value claims about their benefits legally. Having this kind of testing done can be pricey, so it may be something that you need to put off until your business is a little more established. Still, it's something to consider doing once you have the resources, as it can make a big difference.

7. Work on Getting Stores to Carry Your Brand

For some supplement companies, selling online is the best course of action both at start-up and in the long-term. However, if you really want to branch out and expand your horizons, consider visiting gyms, supplement stores, and other retailers in person to see if they would be interested in carrying your products on their shelves.

While there is no such thing as a 100% tried and true supplement business launch formula, keeping these key tips in mind as you prepare to launch your company can make all the difference in your short- and long-term success. Now that you have a better idea of how to start your own supplement company and some of the common pitfalls to avoid, all that's left to do is get started.

 

This entry in exports was updated on December 22, 2017 by specialist.