Online Nutritional Product Sales Made Easy
— By Karol Clark, MSN, RN
While it is advantageous to offer your high quality nutritional products in-house, adding a convenient online purchasing option for your patients has many benefits. It has also never been as easy to do as it is today.
Let’s face it, if your weight loss patients aren’t purchasing high quality protein products from you, they are buying them somewhere else. Unfortunately, those purchased elsewhere may not be of the highest quality, designed specifically for weight loss, or taste very good. Your patients need your prescribed, great tasting products to assist with not only their weight loss efforts, but their overall health.
Benefits of Having an Online Nutritional Store
Perhaps you already offer products in your weight loss practice, so you fully understand the benefits to your patients and your practice. You understand that having your products readily available makes them easier to sell and satisfies the “immediate gratification” mentality buyers have come to know, enjoy and demand.
However, below are a few benefits that come with offering an online sales option or direct product sales, fulfillment and shipping:
- Increased Sales Potential: With an online store, you can sell to your patients at any time. Your store is always open. You can have a weekend “special” and come in Monday morning to an inbox flooded with sales.
- Added Product and Flavor Availability: If you are short on space in your practice, yet want to offer a wider variety of nutritional products, you can offer direct product sales to your patients. In such a scenario, the manufacturer can create your customized online store, determine the sale price with you and take care of shipping them in a timely manner. Then, you receive your monthly payment percentage each month.
- Cost-Effective: Setting up and maintaining an online store can be more cost-effective than a physical store from a staffing and overhead perspective. If you offer direct product sales through the manufacturer, you minimize your costs and enjoy recurring payment based upon overall sales.
- Patient Convenience: The ability to shop for your products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, adds convenience for your patients.
- Competitive Advantage: If your competitors aren’t offering online sales, the ability to offer your products at all times is advantageous. It also allows you to adapt to changing patient preferences and market trends, while staying ahead of your competitors.
Six Steps to Easy Online Nutritional Product Sales
Whether you offer online nutritional product sales online or not, here are six steps to help make the process easier for you and your team — as well as your patients.
- Select High Quality Physician Prescribed Products: Research and carefully select high quality nutritional products from a reputable company that understands the unique nutritional requirements associated with weight loss treatment. Make sure the products are great tasting, exclusive to practitioner distribution, and be sure to explore the value-added services likely offered by the company. They want you to succeed as well and have many resources to help.
- Evaluate Online Selling Options: Depending upon your situation, you can create your own e-commerce store or utilize the simplicity of a customized online store with your chosen vendor.
- Determine Your Plan: You can have your online nutritional product store up and running quite quickly — often within a week or two. Once you know what you want to sell (and how you want to sell it) put together your action plan for implementation. Be sure to include time for team training and marketing to your patients. It is important to also ensure that your online store is user-friendly, mobile-friendly, showcases your products with clear descriptions, images and pricing.
- Establish Your Marketing Strategies: Marketing your online store doesn’t have to cost you any money at all. You simply add the link to your website, highlight products with direct links through social media (have fun with this one — even highlight a photo of each team member with their favorites), include in your weekly e-newsletters and promote with a flier and QR code in your office. You can also add special promotions, discounts or loyalty programs to attract and retain patients.
- Provide Easy-to-Understand Patient Education and Outstanding Service: Your patients need to understand the many benefits of the high quality nutritional products you sell. You can accomplish this with signage in your office, product descriptions in an easy to view catalogue, shopping lists for easy selection and more! Understanding the benefits and firsthand use of the products will help you promote them with integrity and enthusiasm. Aim to exceed patient expectations and ensure satisfaction to build loyalty and trust.
- Ensure Regulation Compliance: While the manufacturing company complies with labeling requirements, health claims, and any legal restrictions, be sure to familiarize yourself with any state-based tax implications or marketing requirements.