Who doesn't want to be healthier? All over the world, people from all walks of life are looking for convenient ways to improve their health and well-being. Nutritional supplements offer a simple method for doing so in many different ways, such as improving daily intake of vitamins and minerals, improving mood, energy levels, and sleep, increasing the efficiency of exercise, and more. Of course, there's no such thing as a "quick fix" for health, but nutritional supplements are just that: supplements. By providing your customers with these products, you're offering them a practical way to improve their health even if they can't make other changes. For example, not everyone has the time or ability to prepare and eat perfectly-balanced meals three times a day to ensure their bodies get everything they need, but everyone has time to take a multivitamin in the morning.
This is why the market for supplements is huge. People know they can improve their health through diet and lifestyle changes, but they often simply don't have the time. Work schedules, family, kids (who may insist on pizza every night), stress, and other factors can all interfere with a person's ability to make these changes. Nutritional supplements can help the body and mind regardless of the tight day-to-day schedule that most people live by. Forced to grab your meals on-the-go? You can still get all your vital micronutrients in a convenient pill or shake. Wish you could spend more time in the gym? Supplements let you squeeze more results from each workout. By selling nutritional supplements, you're helping your customers get healthier despite the restrictions placed on them by their lives — and if you use the right eCommerce software, you'll have all the tools you need to give them a convenient shopping experience they'll love.
Nutritional supplements offer a multitude of ways to improve physical and mental health. There's a wide variety of supplements out there and each one is made to meet a specific need. Basic nutrition is covered by vitamins or meal replacements, which save tons of time and money for people who want to eat healthier but can't fit the change into their current schedule. Other supplements help with mood, digestion, sleep, memory, energy levels, and even sex drive. Often, these types of supplements work by providing the body with certain nutrients that are hard to get in sufficient levels through diet. Others use plant- or animal-based substances that have been shown to have a positive effect on the human body, like ginger (for sensitive stomachs) or fish oil (for mental clarity and other benefits).
Workout supplements are another market with vast potential, and there are tons of different types for use in all stages of exercise, from pre-workout to workout recovery. Weight gainers and protein are popular among people trying to pack on more muscle than diet alone would allow. Muscle builders like creatine are useful for strength training. While you might think only serious bodybuilders would be interested in these products, that simply isn't true — anyone with an interest in exercise, from the office worker to the triathlon competitor, can decide to use supplements to get the most from their workouts.
You have a lot of choice as to the types of supplements you sell, so it's important to research the industry in the early stages of planning your business. Not only do you have to understand the needs of your target market, you must also be familiar with the laws and regulations that apply (which we'll summarize later). You'll also need to stay up-to-date on the illegal or otherwise banned substances that occasionally show up in the ingredients of certain supplement brands, so you'll know to avoid them. A well-known example is ephedra. Supplements containing ephedra are illegal because it's been proven to be dangerous. Other substances are not outright illegal but are banned from usage in sports because they've been determined to provide an unfair advantage — and you certainly wouldn't want an angry customer who had been kicked off a team for using one of your products. Since it would be impossible for us to list all illegal or banned substances on this page, make sure you exercise due diligence when selecting supplements to sell, and always disclose all the ingredients contained in your products.
Following laws and best practices doesn't mean you're limiting the number of supplements you can sell on your online store — far from it. Instead of trying to sell every type of nutritional supplement you can think of, it's better to find a niche you can focus on intently. Finding a niche doesn't mean you can only sell a single type of supplement, as many types are meant to be used together, such as the various workout supplements. Customers interested in general health benefits may also want to buy a selection of complementary supplements that you can easily sell together. It's up to you to judge which supplement types can work well together in your online store, but first you need to understand your options.
Now that you have an overview of supplement types, you can start deciding which types to sell on your online store. Several of these types fit well into the same niche. For example, multivitamins, specific vitamins, and natural remedies go well together if you want to sell supplements for general health. If your preferred niche is workout supplements, that would include pre-workout, recovery, and muscle growth at the very least, and possibly also fat burners and meal replacements. No matter what niche you choose, accessories are great as well.
Remember that selling nutritional supplements online means your customers will want to restock their products regularly. If you build your online store with Shift4Shop, you'll have access to some powerful features your customers will appreciate, including Autoship — a subscription software that customers can use to automatically receive their chosen products on a regular basis.
Shift4Shop also comes with the ability to create product bundles, which serve an important need for customers buying workout supplements. People with a serious exercise regimen like to buy all their workout supplements together in a "stack," and you can set this up easily on Shift4Shop. Depending on your selection, you can create multiple stacks to target customers doing different types of workouts. For example, you could offer a regular workout stack that includes pre-workout, recovery, and protein supplements, a fat loss stack with a fat burner, creatine, and a pre-workout supplement specifically for fasted training, and a muscle builder stack that includes both protein and creatine along with pre-workout and recovery supplements. You can bundle any number of products together with a discount to create the stacks your customers demand. Combine this with Autoship and you'll create the most streamlined shopping experience possible.
Since supplements are often bought together, upselling and cross-selling features will benefit your online store. Customers will see related products while they shop, and may decide to add these additional products to their cart. A customer buying multivitamins might be happy to toss in a bottle of fiber capsules, while another customer buying a meal replacement mix could be alerted that you also sell shaker bottles. If you sell workout supplements and include stacks as described above, you could upsell your customers by suggesting they purchase the bundle instead. These features bring in more profits and provide convenience to your customers.
One of the biggest challenges faced by a new nutritional supplement business is finding a payment provider that will process sales of these products. Nutritional supplements and nutraceuticals require special payment providers for credit card processing because they are considered a high-risk industry. This means a high-risk payment provider is needed. Fortunately, Shift4Shop integrates with several of the best high-risk payment providers for selling nutritional supplements.
A high-risk industry is any industry subject to heavy or inconsistent regulation or abnormally susceptible to chargebacks from customers. Supplements and nutraceuticals fit into both these categories. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) applies strong regulations to supplements of all kinds. In addition, supplements are not FDA-approved. This doesn't mean they're not effective, only that they haven't been evaluated (so steer clear of making any direct medical claims on your website and make sure you include a disclaimer stating the lack of FDA evaluation).
Customer chargebacks are also common in the supplement industry because customers commonly believe they don't work. Some supplement brands are definitely poor in quality and will never give the customer the results they want, but even the best supplements can fail if the customer doesn't use them properly. This is why you should only sell high-quality products and disclose plenty of details to help customers understand how to use them. For example, some supplements need to be taken on a schedule, while others work best with exercise, and others won't show results until after a few weeks of regular use. The more informed your customers are, the better they'll understand what to expect, and the less likely they are to be unsatisfied.
Supplements must be packaged well and delivered promptly. Any damage to the containers can render the product unusable, and additionally, a few supplements are sensitive to extreme temperatures. It's important to use sufficient packaging that can meet the needs of your products and to fulfill orders as quickly as possible. Remember, your customers are also eager to receive their orders, especially if they've come to rely on keeping a supply of their favorite supplement. If you'd prefer to avoid all the intricacies of packing and shipping your products, dropshipping is a viable option.
Whether you decide to dropship or stock products yourself, you need to find a good supplier to source your nutritional supplements from. Your choice of supplier should be based on a few different factors. Product quality is crucial, as well as the ingredients used — remember, you want to avoid banned or illegal substances. If you're interested in a specific supplier, also check for any bonus services they offer, like white label supply (for private label products), dropshipping, custom packaging, and more.
Shift4Shop is by far the best solution for building and growing your online nutritional supplement store. Start by signing up for a FREE online store today and gain access to Shift4Shop's software, experiment with nutritional supplements store themes, and much more. Here are some of the features that make Shift4Shop best for selling supplements:
Help customers keep their favorite supplements in stock with a convenient subscription. Set up multiple subscription intervals and let customers choose how often to receive their products. When the time comes, the customer's payment method is automatically charged and a new order is created.
Easily connect your Shift4Shop store to your dropshipping supplier of choice. Instantly notify your supplier of new orders via automatic emails, and use your supplier's location for shipping calculations. Plus, you can connect your store in minutes to popular dropship automation software like Inventory Source.
Product reviews are extremely valuable for products like supplements and nutraceuticals. With Shift4Shop, you can display customer reviews right on the product page and send automatic emails to request them from customers. Plus, a full Product Q&A system lets customers ask questions on product pages just like Amazon.
Content marketing is key, and with Shift4Shop's built-in blog you can conveniently share news, articles, and tips to spur interest in your supplements. You can also create all the extra website pages you need, to display your store policies, business information, FDA disclaimer, product ingredients, and more.