The ecommerce health and wellness market is booming. Vitamin and supplement sales have increased by 40% in the last year — and ecommerce is playing a big role. Online vitamin and supplement purchases are growing at a rate 12% faster than the overall ecommerce average. It seems like there are always new supplements coming to market and gaining popularity; it’s no wonder that the online market is growing quickly to keep up.
However, with an increase in market size comes increased competition. New players are constantly entering the market, especially online where barriers to entry are relatively low. Consumers are finding themselves with nearly unlimited options for vitamins and supplements on-demand. If you want to capture their attention and loyalty, you need to go above and beyond consumer expectations.
One way to ensure that your online vitamin and supplement store offers the best experience possible is by partnering with an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) provider. An experienced 3PL will know the ins and outs of the industry and be able to offer you the right fulfillment solutions to meet customer expectations and grow your vitamin and supplement business.
What to look for in a vitamin and supplement 3PL
The right 3PL for your vitamin and supplement business will do the following:
- Automate order fulfillment for your online store
- Provide data you can leverage to discover trends
- Meet customer expectations around deliveries
1. Automate order fulfillment for your online store
Rather than having to manually send orders to your 3PL, look for a fulfillment provider whose technology integrates with your online store with just a few clicks. This means that orders are automatically sent from your ecommerce platform or marketplace (such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or eBay) to your 3PL’s fulfillment center. This helps speed up the fulfillment process, making sure that your customers’ supplement and vitamin orders are processed, picked, packed, shipped, and delivered as quickly as possible.
Part of automating the fulfillment process includes a two-way push of data between your ecommerce store and your fulfillment provider’s software. This two-way push includes tracking information, order details, inventory levels, and ship option mapping.
The 3PL’s technology should be able to automatically select the carrier, service, and even fulfillment center that can ship each order to your customer in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Once an order has shipped, the 3PL’s system can automatically send confirmation back to your ecommerce platform, which in turn will forward tracking information to your customers.
Overall, automating the fulfillment process provides a better customer experience and gives your team more time to focus on growing your vitamin and supplement business.
2. Provide data you can leverage to discover trends
As mentioned before, the supplement industry is rapidly changing, with new products and trends emerging constantly. It’s important that you not only stay on top of industry trends but trends in your own sales and customers as well.
The right 3PL for your vitamin and supplement store will provide in-depth reporting and analytics that allow you to see which products seem to resonate with which customers, and tailor your marketing and manufacturing accordingly.
Approaching supply chain decisions from a data-driven perspective can help you compete in a crowded market. Your 3PL’s software should offer reports that showcase both past performance, as well as forecasts of future projections. Reporting and analytics on sales, orders, shipments, and inventory allows your business to identify trends, pinpoint areas of improvement, and celebrate success.
3. Meet customer expectations around deliveries
With 73% of shoppers expecting affordable, fast shipping, meeting customer expectations around delivery speed and cost is vital to your success as an ecommerce merchant. Today’s customers expect Amazon Prime-level shipping wherever and whenever they shop online. Working with the right 3PL can help you offer 2-day shipping to your customers at an affordable price.
One way to offer faster, more affordable shipping options to your customers who purchase your vitamins and supplements is by distributing inventory across multiple fulfillment or distribution center locations. If your customers are geographically distributed across the country, we recommend choosing a 3PL with fulfillment centers in or near major cities across different regions of the US.
This puts your inventory closer to your customers, meaning you can offer affordable 2-day ground shipping for customers in surrounding areas instead of only offering costly expedited air shipping.
Learn more about choosing the right 3PL
If you’re shipping vitamins and supplements for your ecommerce business, choosing an experienced 3PL can help you meet customer expectations, grow your business, and gain market share in a crowded industry. Using the criteria discussed in this blog post can help you find a 3PL that you trust to handle every part of the fulfillment process for your online supplement store.
To learn more about choosing a 3PL, download “How to Choose a 3PL for Your E-Commerce Business.” This guide goes into more detail on the questions your business should ask a potential third-party fulfillment provider to make sure you find a partner that is a great fit for your business.