Learn why eCommerce edge storefronts for health and wellness brands are the future of online shopping to increase business sales.
The pandemic has brought back our attention to being healthy and following a lifestyle that pays close attention to what we do and what we consume for our wellness. This has led to rapid increase in the growth of businesses in the health and wellness industry to cater to different needs, preferences and the changing requirements of consumers.
Think about the number of health supplement brands you see today.
From a handful of brands focusing on supplements initially, we now have different brands following different science and methodologies to help us lead healthier lifestyles.
As per a study by Statista, the share of online health and wellness brands has been steadily growing over the years. While there are still a considerable number of consumers choosing to make purchases offline via physical stores to be able to make informed purchase decisions, online channels are also picking up for the convenience they offer.
But when other industries like beauty and cosmetics and fashion and apparel are growing so rapidly in the eCommerce industry, why is health and wellness slow on pickup?
It’s because of the way we make decisions when it comes to health and wellness products. And it has a lot to do with the disconnect between where we consume content or information on such products, and how we find them on brand sites.
In this article, we deep dive into why it is important for health and wellness brands to enable shopping at the point of discovery with Edge Storefronts to grow in the eCommerce industry.
Redefining the future of health and wellness eCommerce with Edge Storefronts
Before we start talking about why Edge Storefronts are the future of health and wellness eCommerce businesses, let’s take a quick look at the status quo of how the industry works as of today.
Status quo of health and wellness product shopping
As per statistics shared by Common Threads, the leading shopping channels in the health and wellness industry are slightly different from the others. Almost 69% of consumers can be seen shopping for these products at physical stores, followed by 25% of them choosing online marketplaces, 16% from retail websites and only 12% from brand websites.
Here’s what this translates to - health and wellness brands are losing their profit margins to third-party shopping platforms, and missing out on the opportunity to build better brand awareness and recall amongst their target audience.
A further deep dive into consumer behavior by the National Library of Medicine has found that health and wellness product purchases are mostly influenced by the following factors:
- Socio-demographics like age, gender, income and education
- Exposure to content on social media
- Personal needs and preferences
- Purchase power
- Channel of brand marketing and sales
If you take these factors into account, the preference to shop via various channels can be understood with ease. But let’s look into eCommerce here!
How does health and wellness product shopping happen in eCommerce?
An average consumer’s journey to making health and wellness product purchases via online stores typically includes the following stages:
- The consumer becomes aware of the health and wellness issues surrounding them
- The consumer then starts to consume information of the same on the internet
- The consumer discovers specific brands or their products related to the searches they have been making via images, videos or other media content
- They then visit the health and wellness brand’s social media profile to validate their legitimacy and the value of their products
- The consumer then proceeds to the brand website through the link provided either on the content or in the bio
- After being led to the website, they search for the product they stumbled upon to learn more about it
- They either make a purchase, subscribe to a newsletter or abandon the eCommerce website based on the search results
- At this point, they may also choose to explore other buying options available to them - for instance, marketplaces and physical stores
- If they make the purchase, the brand retargets them with ads promoting similar health and wellness products
- If they leave without making a purchase, the brand retargets them until they come back to complete the transaction whilst battling the competition from similar brands that the consumer starts to see products from
While this looks fairly simple - set up an online store, promote your health and wellness products on the search engine, social media, marketplaces and other channels, no brand takes into account the number of options that a consumer is exposed to at each stage of the buying journey.
And how their need for a health and wellness product may evolve as they consume more information about them.
So why are health and wellness brands following a one-way approach of leading consumers from different promotional channels to the website to drive sales?
The inability to connect the dots between where consumers discover brands and consume content, and the commerce experience they offer to help them make the purchase.
Why are consumers choosing to purchase health and wellness products offline?
Despite digitization, the majority of consumers still choose to make health and wellness product purchases offline.
This is because when they move to physical stores, they get a chance to read through the product details available on the packaging at ease as compared to the product descriptions available on the website - which are often tailored to make the product more enticing.
Similarly, they also get to ask questions about the product and how well it can serve their end goal or objective before having to make the commitment - which is not possible when the purchase is made via an online store; and having to run returns, efunds and exchanges in a health scenario, can be overwhelming.
Now add to that how we consume information related to our health and wellness on social media, and how we then move towards finding the product we need to make the purchase.
Let’s explain this with an example.
You’re someone who is actively seeking ways to boost your metabolism and get back on track with your health.
So you’ve been interacting and engaging with content related to workouts and diets. That’s when you come across the following post on social media:
While the brand has described the benefits of their superblend supplements in much detail in the caption, they also introduce you to a number of new terms related to the product - take antioxidants for instance.
And they also tap into another concern of yours that talks about food cravings at odd hours.
So you just went from seeking ways to improve your metabolism, to someone who is now also searching for products that serve as antioxidants or those that can help you control food cravings at odd hours.
So you instantly click through to their account to see if they have more information on the same instead of making the purchase.
You then click through to their website using the link in bio and are shown the following page:
Now if you notice, you’re back to being displayed only metabolism and energy supplement related search you started with. But now that your intent has evolved, this is no longer enough. At this point, you either have the choice to explore their online website or simply leave to explore products that will now meet your new requirements.
Case 1 - You click through to the brand website
The link provided takes you straight to the product page, giving you an option to make the purchase.
While the page lists out much in detail about the product, its benefits and how to use it for daily nutrition, it pretty much ends the journey right there.
So now you have the option to either buy this product to get started with or you move to case two.
Case 2 - You move away to explore more options
So your new search on social media, now leads you to the following results, wherein we can definitely see at least four new brands and products:
You can now choose to interact with each of these posts, explore the products the brands have to offer and if they meet your needs.
PS. 75% of internet users use social media to research products (DataReportal, 2022).
Case 3 - You head over to the search engine
After going through the options available to you, you decide to head over to the search engine to see if the brand you initially or eventually found sells on other channels. After all, you need to validate how good their products are!
And you find that they do sell on some of the popular marketplaces:
But now the products look entirely different from the ones you saw on their social media account.
Now instead of just exploring what product suits your needs the best, you’re skeptical about making the purchase entirely - after all, it is about your health and wellness concerns and you can’t leave any room for error.
In either of the cases, you as a brand are at the risk of losing a potential sale to a competitor or not being able to meet the consumer’s requirements at all.
How big is the problem of how health and wellness eCommerce works?
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the current approach to health and wellness eCommerce is not working, and why the problems stated above are larger than life for businesses:
1. Short attention spans
If you observe closely, we’re easily distracted by what we read or what we are exposed to. This not just includes what a specific brand is promoting to us, but how social media tends to recommend similar products and content to us. We move from one thing to another setting aside our initial purchase intent in less than a minute!
2. Evolving consumer needs
As we jump from one thing to another and explore our options, we are exposed to different needs, benefits and use cases of various health and wellness products. That results in consumer needs evolving rapidly and if brands don’t keep up, they risk losing the interest they paid hundreds of dollars for.
3. Experience gap
The way health and wellness brands present their products on social media, vs. what the consumer sees on their website, the marketplaces or even physical stores, is disconnected. While on social media, brands are focused on showcasing products in use via content that is more lifestyle-oriented, other platforms are harder landings focusing only on the product.
And brands are losing $700bn every year to this!
Experience gap is caused by:
- Shift of perceived value and confusion
- Loss of context
- Broken or incorrect links
- Incorrect or out of stock products
Despite setting up various marketing and advertising campaigns, retargeting and remarketing campaigns to bring back consumers, health and wellness eCommerce businesses have noticed a decrease in their average conversion rate.
As per statistics, the average conversion rate in the health and wellness eCommerce market has decreased by 16.51% from 3.46% to 2.89% in February 2023 compared to February 2022.
As per our research,
- CAC has risen by 222% in the last 9 years
- Brands lose $26 on every new customer acquired
- Underreported social revenue (almost 245%)
Simply put, it’s time for health and wellness brands to realize that consumer needs for this category of products is not driven by impulse. It’s driven by a lot of research and includes exploring all the options available before making a purchase.
Introducing Edge storefronts: Why eCommerce health and wellness brands need to push shopping to the edges
Compared to other industries, health and wellness is one industry that can benefit the most from tailoring shopping experiences as per consumer intent. That is where eCommerce edge storefronts come in.
What is shopping at the Edge?
Edge refers to an outside perimeter of an area. In the eCommerce context, this refers to the area that falls beyond your health and wellness brand’s website - this typically includes all the marketing channels such as social media, email, marketplaces and advertising platforms.
Learn more about shopping at the edge here.
What are eCommerce Edge Storefronts for health and wellness brands?
Let’s say you found a brand that sells supplements to boost your metabolism.
But as you start to do your research, you discover other terms related to boosting your metabolism and want to ensure they cover those needs as well.
At this point, if you lead this consumer to a product detail page, you risk losing them to not being able to meet their evolved needs.
But an eCommerce edge storefront works differently. Instead of giving the consumer a hard landing, edge storefronts leverage the intent a consumer displays on social media and connect it to the commerce experience offered on a brand site, creating a contextual storefront tailored to their individual needs!
Simply put, instead of creating multiple touchpoints across the customer purchase journey, driving them to the brand site, now the brand is capable of taking the shopping to them!
Edge storefronts help you turn every piece of content on social media into a shoppable experience for consumers that not just helps them learn more about the product they’re interested in, but also help them explore related products on your site.
To learn more about how eCommerce edge storefronts work, read the complete guide to understanding eCommerce Edge Storefronts.
What are the benefits of eCommerce edge storefronts for health and wellness brands?
Health and wellness brands can be seen diversifying their marketing and sales channels to reach their target audience.
From offline to online, these brands are covering all potential touch points to get discovered by the right set of consumers and drive sales.
That’s where edge storefronts come in to connect the dots between disjointed experiences offered on different online platforms.
Here’s taking a look at some of the benefits in detail:
1. Create contextual and engaging experiences
Health and wellness product purchases are driven by both need and influence. It is important for brands to understand that the influence can come from the search engine or what the consumer sees on social media. While creating content is great for enticing and engaging their audience, not enabling the consumer to make the purchase through it can lead to drop-offs.
Edge storefronts are an all-in-one solution that makes social content fully shoppable - while retaining the trust and security that brand sites offer for making transactions. When the buyers see what they discovered on social media alongside the products used in the content, the engagement rate remains high.
2. Enable informed purchases
The brands succeeding in the health and wellness industry are those that are able to meet consumer demand proactively. They are the brands that have a positive rapport in their target market for delivering what they promise. But to be able to do so, brands need to focus on being able to understand the evolving needs across the purchase journey.
Edge storefronts leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify consumer intent and interest on social media, and connect them to the eCommerce experience on the website. This enables you to introduce the consumer to the right information at the right time and link them to related products.
3. Learn more about consumers
While Edge Storefronts don’t require a consumer to leave the social media platform, they are connected to your eCommerce site in the backend.
This allows you to capture customer data that like demographic, intent, interest and engagement rates across campaigns being run. Using this information, you can further improve your consumer personas and identify aspects that motivate them to make purchases from brands such as yours.
As compared to a product detail page or custom landing page, the edge storefront’s capability to adapt to a consumer’s evolving needs encourages them to explore more. The more they explore, the better is the product discovery and the more likely they become to make the purchase from you.
4. Reduce customer acquisition costs
When you know more about your customers, you are armed with information that can help you reach them with the right message at the right time.
The data captured through online shopper interaction on edge storefronts can help your health and wellness brand run better retargeting and remarketing campaigns. You have information not just on demographics but how their needs tend to evolve as they discover products with your brand.
And that has proven to help health and wellness brands reduce customer acquisition costs by almost 20%.
5. Create new revenue streams from the edge
As per a study by McKinsey, a brand’s ability to personalize shopping experiences as per consumer intent, interest and point of discovery, is what drives success in driving more sales and revenue for the business.
Edge storefronts are designed to handle different levels of intent and hence deliver a higher level of personalization to consumers shopping for health and wellness products.
Can you build an eCommerce edge storefront for your health and wellness brand?
The growth in the health and wellness eCommerce industry is no longer gradual.
From personal care brands to health supplements, ayurveda and more, there are new brands coming into the market every day. And with the ease of setting up an online store with no-code website builders like Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix and others, setting up an eCommerce business model and interface is a matter of just a few days or weeks.
But what this also translates to is an increased amount of competition in enticing consumers to the store from the edges (your marketing channels) and converting them into customers.
The journey from awareness to consideration and a purchase has become longer than ever. Consumers take their time to explore the options available and relevant to them - especially when it comes to health and wellness products.
So how do you connect the dots and enable shopping at the point of discovery and content consumption?
While most health and wellness brands will seek retargeting and remarketing as their key strategy, we recommend optimizing the entire customer journey instead with Edge Storefronts.
Google edge retail solutions and Google retail API have been talked about in the past by companies like Salesforce and Microsoft. The recent integration with the Shopify CMS has further brought everyone’s attention to the technology.
But is it possible for health and wellness brands to get started with Edge Storefronts without extensive development time?
With SimplicityDX, edge storefronts are now as easy as a plug and play app for marketing.
Want to learn more about Edge Storefronts and how they can help health and wellness brands succeed online?