Split into two sections, the report first summarizes the results of a survey commissioned through Great Sites NZ to probe consumer attitudes towards buying vitamins and health supplements online. Secondly, online marketing tactics of selected New Zealand vitamin and health supplement businesses are compared to show who is currently leading the market online. Tactics compared include: Search Engine Optimisation, Google Adwords, Social Media Optimisation, Mobile Optimisation and Google Analytics implementation.
Key Survey findings included:
- 88% of those surveyed have taken vitamins or health supplements, with 63% responding that they take vitamins or health supplements daily.
- Supermarkets, health shops and pharmacies are the usual places respondents purchase supplements from with just 13% buying online.
- The main reasons people do not purchase online are shipping costs, product quality and checkout security and the convenience of buying in-store for instant gratification.
- The two main reasons purchasers of vitamins and health supplements buy online are product availability and lower prices.
- While choosing product brands, 49% of the respondents prefer to do research themselves and purchase mostly based on price, while 20% follow recommendations from friends/families and doctors and another 20% seek recommendations from store staff.
Key implications included:
- There is a large active audience with regular repeating business – perfect for online businesses.
- Currently online’s share of this market is relatively small at 13% including those who shop both online and offline. There is significant room for businesses to grow their online market share if done smartly and the market may be looking for more online-offline integration.
- Online businesses must make shipping policies clear and use tactics such as free delivery to entice customers to shop online. Trust elements including consumer ratings and security badges are also important. Online businesses can use tactics such as auto-repeat purchases to reduce the value of the offline convenience factor.
- Online businesses should effectively communicate their lower prices and range of products.
- With a high number of people doing their own research – effective search marketing and conversion optimisation strategies are key to help people find supplier websites and that the information offered through these is valuable.
- Recommendations are important and online businesses could benefit from online customer service functionality such as ‘Live chat’, or ‘Ask Us’. Integrating more social mechanisms can increase referrals and traffic from friend’s networks.
Looking at specific digital marketing tactics – It appears that almost all providers are currently lacking in appearance on organic search and paid search with no single company ‘dominating’ the search results. The latest Google Analytics code is not installed by most of the businesses included in this research. Some have a solid base of social followers and are posting frequently, but need to utilise more networks and have more interaction. Almost all of the businesses reviewed are yet to fully realise and utilise the benefits of mobile platforms and media.
It appears that this category is under-developed in New Zealand, offering huge opportunity for those companies who are smart and willing to make the investment to claim dominance.