Starting your own supplement business is really exciting but it can also be overwhelming. There comes a point where you actually have to stop daydreaming make it happen. That’s when many new business owners start to feel lost.
Here’s what you need to do to get started and put yourself on the path to success.
Building Your Brand
Selling supplements online is extremely competitive. You’ll be going up against other brands that are selling very similar supplements. Your brand is what will help you stand out from the rest.
Branding isn’t just about logos and style guides it’s about how you make people feel, it’s about what you want your brand to represent. That being said your label and your logo are what portray that message.
Pick a Niche
When developing the key pieces to your brand you first need to pick a niche. Every company has a niche. No company sells everything to everyone. For example Nikes sells shoes but they don’t sell all types of shoes, they sell athletic shoes. When Phil Knight first started Nike they didn’t even sell all types of athletic shoes, they just sold running shoes.
Pick a supplement niche whether that’s herbal, beauty, sports nutrition or weight loss. Having your niche will help you figure out your logo and labeling. You’ll also want to define your target market within that niche and create branding that appeals to them.
Get a Logo
Your logo is an important part of your branding and design. You don’t want a logo that looks cheap unless you want your customers to think your products are cheap. It’s definitely something you should consider investing a little bit of money into.
If you have the skills to design your logo yourself, more power to you! Otherwise you should hire a designer to do it for you. There are a few different options for getting a logo made.
- Find a local designer to work with
- Hire a freelancer through Fiverr
- Use a logo making program, like Tailor Brands
Design Your Label
Once you have you logo you can now get your supplement labels designed. While you can pretty much get any designer to make a logo for you designing supplement labels is a little more in depth.
The label is what will help grab a customer’s eye and help you stand out but there are also specific rules and regulations in place. Supplement labels have to follow certain rules in order to meet regulations set by the FDA.
We keep label designers on staff for this specific reason so that you know you’re working with a designer that knows what they’re doing. The rates we charge are very competitive and our designers are great to work with.
Set Up Shop
After you’ve got your branding and design underway it’s time to set up shop. A lot of people get excited about the idea of selling their supplements on e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon but having your own store is just as important.
This step of the process also includes figuring out which supplements to sell and connecting your shop/selling accounts with On Demand’s API integration so you can start selling.
Which E-commerce Platform
There are a ton of options these days when it comes to building out your own website and shop. Some are more user friendly while others are great for scaling your business. Some of the top ecommerce platforms include:
Shopify is by far the most popular option on the market for new ecommerce business owners that want to start a simple shop quickly. There are a lot of template options and these shops are some of the easiest to set up. Keep in mind that there are many fees associated with running Shopify store.
Before you make a decision make sure to do a little research first to see which one fits you best. Take pricing and usability into account. For example if you have some web dev skills WooCommerce can be a great option and it doesn’t come with fees like the others.
You can read about the pros and cons of the top five here.
Picking Your Marketplace
After you’ve set up your own website you can start thinking about which marketplaces to sell on. There are a surprising number of marketplaces for you to sell you supplements on but Amazon and eBay are definitely the top two with Amazon being number one.
Marketplaces are great because you’re able to tap into the traffic that’s already going to that website. Think of it like foot-traffic at a mall. And much like a store in a mall selling your products on these marketplaces is going to cost you. They charge various fees and commissions so be sure to figure out what makes sense for your pricing model.
Some marketplaces give you more control and access to customers than others. While eBay is much more like a store in a mall Amazon has switched gears a bit. Selling on Amazon is more like having your products sit on a shelf in a store. The people you sell your products to are Amazon’s customers, not yours.
We can help you with the paperwork you might need to prove the quality of your supplements so that shouldn’t be a worry. We third party test all of our supplements and you can have access to that paperwork.
You can explore more of the pros and cons of different marketplaces here.
Which Supplements to Sell
So your website is up and you’re ready to start selling on marketplaces but wait, which supplements will you offer? You could try randomly picking few products that you think might sell. You could try selling every supplement we offer. Honestly though there are better ways to go about picking which supplements to sell.
Here are three steps that you can go through in order to make a more educated guess and start off on the right foot.
1. Take a look at our catalog and figure out which supplements you find interesting that fall into your niche. If you’re not passionate about your product then it can be hard to sell so find a few products that excite you.
2. Use Google Trends to see how interest has changed over time. It’s a free tool that we highly recommend. It will tell you if interest is rising, declining, flatlined or if there’s seasonal trends to be aware of.
3. Use the Jungle Scout tool to see how much competition and money there is to be made with a particular product. Jungle Scout specifically looks at how products perform on Amazon but it can give you a great idea of overall trends.
You can read more about this three step process here.
Establish Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you’re ready to start selling it’s time to start marketing. This is the hardest part of about selling supplements since there is no surefire method. People will try to sell you some secret 100% guaranteed strategy but there’s no substitute for good marketing built on a foundation of basics.
It’s about testing and trying new and different things and finding out what works for you and what appeals to your customers.
A great place to start is with your own social network: family, friends, acquaintances, etc. spreading marketing through word of mouth is essential and it always has been. Now and days we have the amazing tool that is social media that makes maximizing that network easier.
Use your email contacts to start your email list invite everyone you know on social media to follow your business. Ask family and friends to share your content. Just make sure you’re asking for the right amount of help from the right people.
You wouldn’t ask a high school friend you haven’t talked to in 10 years to help you move, right? So don’t do the equivalent with your business. The worst thing you can do is burn out your network and leave them feeling used. These are your friends and family after all make sure you give as much as you take if not more.
Learn more about how to leverage your network here.
Set up all the basic social media accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are great places to start since these are some of the most popular and most used. Make sure that all the information is correct and that you fill out your profile completely using high-quality images.
People are using social media as a way to research companies. If your social media accounts are difficult to find or they don’t look professional, it can reflect poorly on your brand. Pick a name that’s as close to your business’ name as possible.
Post regularly on each platform and interact with customers so that they can see there’s a real person behind the screen and not a bot or a scammer. There are thousands of fake accounts and businesses popping up and people are becoming wary of scams. Social media is a way for you to build trust with your customers.
With the explosion of social media marketing there’s a myth out there that email marketing is dead. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Many marketers list email as their most valuable platform with better ROI than any other type of marketing.
Email allows you to connect directly to customers and to tailor your messages very specifically. If you want to deliver a message to your customers that have purchased probiotics and no one else you can only do that with email, not social media. With social media everyone can see every message.
Setting up email marketing doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive either. We recommend Mail Chimp because you can email up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails a month for free. It’s very user friendly and offers templates and other helpful tools.
Read more about email marketing here.
Actually getting started can be the toughest part of starting a new business. Once you can get the momentum moving your business can be unstoppable!
If you have any questions on connecting On Demand’s API with your shop or need more help getting started be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.