Health and wellness ecommerce: how to leverage the opportunity and build a loyal customer base

With an estimated worth of $4.2 trillion, the health and wellness industry is definitely booming. The market has grown 12.8% in the last two years and the revenue generated by vitamin and nutritional supplements alone is projected to hit $32 billion this year.

Smartwatches are the must-have accessory, healthy snacks can be delivered directly to your door and influencers are endorsing healing crystals everywhere you look.

With so many new health and wellness crazes launching daily, it can be difficult to keep customers motivated and loyal towards your brand. This is exactly why it’s so important to nurture relationships with your existing customers to keep them interested in what you have to offer.

But, before we get started on how to do just that, maybe you’re wondering, where has this fascination with health and wellness come from?

Why are we fascinated by health and wellness?

Well, compared to our ancestors, we’re a lot more immobile. We spend hours watching TV or surfing the web rather than being constantly active. We’re also bad eaters. Not only do we overeat, but the food we eat is poor quality. These blows to our health create a larger supply and demand for services that get us out of this rut and promote health and wellness instead.

This behavioural shift has birthed a new generation of shoppers. Wellness has become a daily, active pursuit and understanding our holistic state of being has become a priority. We attend fitness classes, use apps to track our sleep, prioritise organic food and take health supplements. And, with millennials being dubbed as the “wellness generation”, these trends are only set to increase as they mature.

As the number of customers who hope to improve their health increases, so too does the number of businesses capitalising on the opportunity. As a result, health and wellness has even become its own stand-alone economy with a network of companies spanning fitness, mind and body, healthy eating and personal care.

Health And Wellness Economy

What are the challenges for health and wellness ecommerce?

For the world of ecommerce, this health and wellness boom poses some challenges.

Corporates, such as Coca Cola and Kellogg’s, have invested in a number of healthy snacking brands while personal care masters, such as P&G and Unilever, are actively backing natural and organic wellness companies. The industry has become an active market and big-name brands are doing what they can to take ownership.

With the entrance of these health and wellness heavy-lifters, smaller brands are getting stuck in a race to the bottom. To match on price and logistics, these retailers are feeling like they need to slash prices, sacrifice revenue and pour money into acquisition tactics to get their message heard.

At the same time, it’s becoming a consumer’s market. With so much choice to pick from, shoppers can spend time scouting out the best health and wellness deals and will happily leave their loyalty at the door if there are better offers and discounts up for grabs.

To get the upper hand over big name brands, smaller health and wellness ecommerce stores need to do more. But how?

Well, some reports estimate that by next year the customer experience will overtake price and product as key brand differentiators. To set yourself apart, it’ll be necessary to establish new ways to offer intangible benefits to consumers.

Stores that excel in the health and wellness industry will be the ones that give customers a warm fuzzy feeling and provide purpose beyond purchases.

What can you do to benefit?

To help your health and wellness business stand out from the crowd, there are four key things you need to focus on:

  1. Fostering loyalty
  2. Finding your niche
  3. Building trust
  4. Engaging in the right way

1. Fostering loyalty

The health and wellness industry is full of competitive brands, so you need to do all you can to keep your existing customers returning to you. On average, 53% of your revenue comes from the top 20% of your most valuable customers, so harnessing the interest these shoppers already have in your brand will significantly benefit your revenue.

Give these customers a reason to keep returning by building a relationship and communicating with them outside of purchases. This could be to tell them about your latest products or to show them that you value them as an individual over email.

A loyalty program allows you to reward your customers with additional perks for on-site activities too  – such as social followers or leaving a product review. This shows your customers that you care and that their loyalty is valued.

2. Finding your niche

The health and wellness industry is brimming with trends, niches and unique branding opportunities.

Find the one thing that’s unique to you and own it. From your website to your social media channels and your loyalty program, take every opportunity to tell your individual brand story.

65% of customers buy on the basis of their beliefs, so identify and communicate your uniqueness in a way that’s also genuine and relatable. Not only does this show how you’re different from other health and wellness brands, but it also encourages customers to return and spend with you as they’ll see you have a larger purpose they’ll be excited to get behind.

3. Building trust

Investing in new health and wellness products can be a risky decision for a consumer. What if it isn’t right for you? What if it doesn’t solve the problem you want it to? What if it’s just a fad?

To dispel the worries and myths that may surround what you’re selling, you need to build trust and leverage the power of social proof.

Do this by encouraging your existing customers – who are already using your products day-to-day – to back up your claims. Through a loyalty program, you could reward customers for leaving reviews or sharing their experiences on social media. 84% of customers trust product reviews as much as recommendations from friends. Clearly, reviews are a great way to build confidence in your brand.

4. Engaging in the right way

Health and wellness has become entwined with every aspect of modern-day living. As a result, cataloguing our lives on social media makes looking great and feeling good something that the average consumer wants to share. Because of this, the health and wellness community is now incredibly active on social media.

Celebrity influencers are expensive and difficult to come by, so make your existing customers advocates on your behalf instead. Customers want to know what products to choose and how they will fit into their lifestyle.

To engage in a way that encourages advocacy, start by showing your customers that you care about them on a personal level. This could be done by adding them to a special tier of your loyalty program, gifting them with exclusive experiences or rewarding them for referring friends to your site. This way, you’ll benefit from new customers discovering you and your loyal customers get rewarded for their loyalty.

So, what’s next for health and wellness ecommerce?

When it comes to health and wellness, there’s clearly a strong and engaged shopper base to make use of – and that’s only set to grow.

But to really succeed it’s important to stay one step ahead of the competition and to offer more than just innovative products at an affordable price. You need to leverage the opportunities health and wellness already pose: an engaged community, a variety of niches and the prevalence of social media. Only when you discover how to make these part of your approach, will you be able to set yourself apart, attract customers on a recurring basis and improve your store’s performance.

Read about some customer loyalty tactics you could implement today that will help your health and wellness store succeed.