The number of health-focused shoppers continues to grow.
The global health & wellness industry market was valued at over $1.5 trillion as of April 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic inspired a renewed focus on health for many. Actively avoiding illness became top priority for most. And as workplaces, schools, restaurants, and gyms temporarily closed, people worldwide had an unprecedented opportunity to make positive lifestyle changes. Traditional and social media channels were filled with stories of people incorporating more exercise into their days, preparing healthy meals in their own kitchens, devoting more time to rest, and practicing yoga or meditation at home.
These factors combined with a powerful result: Retail e-commerce health & wellness sales grew by 38% in 2020 and are expected to grow at a steady rate through 2025.
While customers have more health-supporting products available to them than ever, it can be challenging to navigate this vast landscape and find the right forms and formulations for them.
Online shoppers benefit from extra guidance to replace in-person support they may have sought in a physical store. Read on for three areas of focus for marketers and merchandisers to better connect with e-commerce health & wellness customers.
1. Highlight Variety
Many of us know from personal experience that a lifestyle that is too repetitive and devoid of variety can lead to boredom. On the other hand, a high amount of variety increases motivation to pursue a goal to completion.
Guide customers by making it easy to explore all the forms and flavors available to them. In the case of a Sports Nutrition customer who has shopped chocolate whey protein powder in the past, showing them only what they’ve purchased before is limiting. Instead, help them stay motivated by serving up protein product suggestions of non-traditional flavors, plant-based, ready-to-drink shakes, gels, bars, and more.
2. Be Transparent and Trustworthy
Recent research shows that 68% of shoppers in the U.S. are worried that there may be more inauthentic or lower-quality products sold online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customers are also concerned about the potential for expired or poorly handled merchandise, particularly with vitamins, supplements, and foods. Here are just a few actions that can help health & wellness brands build trust and embrace transparency:
- Align with suppliers, retailers, and supply chains to share relevant product details. Provide information on product sourcing and locations of manufacture whenever possible.
- Incorporate employee and business partner interviews and other content into the customer experience.
- Highlight certifications.
- Share honest testimonial content.
- Consider blockchain to tell the origin story of your product and environmental impact story, helping bring clarity to consumers in this crowded and growing space.
- Consider partnering with authentic and trustworthy influencers via social media.
- Welcome customers to a virtual behind-the-scenes tour that will give them the information they need to feel confident that products are safe for them and their families.
3. Provide Need State-Based Tools and Resources
With endless aisles of products available online, shoppers may struggle to find exactly what they’re looking for, especially when they’re accustomed to shopping in-store.
Research finds that “retailer websites failed to return 92% of the products in their assortment that qualified to be returned based on common search terms.” This is an even bigger miss because an increasing majority of customers are searching and purchasing based on need states — specific diets or wellness programs, allergies, intolerances, and chronic conditions.
Solve for this by using interactivity to personalize the experience and show more of what they’re looking for in a friendlier way than traditional filters. Quizzes, shopping guides, and gamification are just a few options to increase engagement while helping shoppers find exactly what they need. Interactive features encourage visitors to spend more time on the page and site, increase conversion rates, improve SEO, and can be an ethical way to collect user-submitted data to enhance their future experience. And due to its visual nature, interactive content is more likely to be shared on social media, empowering customers to spread the word.
Explore these tactics, experiment, and iterate, to discover what is most valuable to your customers as they embark upon their unique health & wellness journeys.
Be what they need most: a motivational buddy, a trusted resource, a personal shopper… or all of the above!