Nutraceutical News

Volume 9, Issue 2

Welcome to the latest issue of Nutraceutical News from IFS. In this issue, we take a look at the increasing popularity of herbal and botanical extracts as Nutraceutical ingredients in the Industry Update. The Marketing Column provides tips about how to stay relevant in today's crowded e-commerce world. In the Customer Service Corner, you'll learn the importance of providing the same level of service for all of your customers. And our Fulfillment Advice provides tips on how to avoid gaps in customer service with a full-service fulfillment provider.

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Industry Update

The Growing Popularity of Herbal and Botanical Extracts in Nutraceuticals

According to the study, "World Nutraceutical Ingredients to 2015," published by the market research firm Freedonia Group of Cleveland, OH, naturally derived herbal and botanical extracts will experience some of the fastest growth among the major Nutraceutical ingredient groups in 2012. World demand for Nutraceutical ingredients is expected to rise 7.2 percent annually to $23.7 billion in 2015. Naturally derived herbal and botanical extracts and marine-based derivatives are expected to command the fastest growth.

Industry experts cite numerous reasons for the continued popularity of botanical ingredients, including the cost-saving benefits of maintaining good health. A report released by SymphonyIRI Group, Inc., in Chicago, found that 81 percent of consumers are trying to save on medical expenses by maintaining good health.

For Americans concerned about high rates of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, the preventative properties of botanicals have fueled their popularity as sources of prevention. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition in Washington, D.C., 23 percent of the U.S. health-minded community are using botanicals to address such concerns as heart health, mental sharpness, cancer, vision, appearance/skin, arthritis and joint health. Currently, the top-selling ingredients include herbal formulas and teas, flower essences, turmeric/cur-cumin, oregano, holy basil and stevia.

Marketing Tip

How to Get Noticed in a Crowded E-Commerce Environment

With more and more Nutraceutical and Cosmeceutical companies establishing a presence in the marketplace, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Getting attention for your product in today's active, multimedia world can be a lot easier if you differentiate your company from the competition.

The following tips will get you started on your way to top-of-mind recognition!

  1. Let the world know what makes your products or your company different. If production of your product involves "green" initiatives, talk about them. Include these facts in everything - from your business card, advertising, stationary and website to any printed material you distribute. If there is something that sets you apart, it's up to you to spread the word.
  2. Do your homework to learn more about your competition. Are there features about your product, price, delivery efficiency or customer service quality that makes you a better product source? If so, promote them! By focusing attention on the things you consistently do really well, you can set yourself apart from the competition and grow your market share.
  3. When planning your marketing activities - whether online or direct to consumer - try to establish a relationship with your customers by offering them something extra. This can include:
    • additional information about the products they purchase or additional items that might be of interest to them;
    • content on your website or blog that is related to your industry, but not necessarily about your specific product - for example, if you specialize in pet products, write about topics and activities that will help pet owners provide better care and nurturing for their special companion; and
    • expand this information beyond your own site to related blogs in order to establish yourself as a resource for interesting and helpful information.
  4. Stay in contact with your customers. Don't just wait for them to contact you for a new order or product re-fill. With the online resources available today, like Facebook and Twitter, there is no excuse for not staying in touch with the people who do business with you. Building relationships with your customers will make a world of difference when they are considering where to make their next purchase of a product that you happen to offer.

Customer Service Corner

Are Your Customers Getting Consistent Service?

With the increased connectivity consumers have today through the various social media venues, it is more important than ever for ecommerce businesses to treat their customers consistently. A few bad reviews regarding inconsistencies in return policies, refunds, delivery schedules and problem resolution can spread quickly and cause lost business opportunities.

The best way to insure that you are treating your customers with the same level of excellent service across the board is to maintain consistent policies and make sure that all of your employees know them and practice them every day.

To achieve this goal, it is important to implement and maintain on-going customer service training for all employees. And while busy schedules can often derail the best training intentions, lunch-and-learn sessions, evening gatherings and even on-going webinars can assure that everyone is "on the same page." As a result, it will be much more likely that customers are receiving the excellent service they expect and deserve.

Some key areas to consider for training include:

Return Policies - If you have any restrictions on accepting returns, make sure all employees follow them in the same manner for all customers. Inconsistencies can lead to loss of business, as well as public relations headaches if a customer shares a bad experience on traditional or social media outlets.

Phone Etiquette - Phones should be answered within three rings. A prompt and pleasant response starts the customer's call off on the right foot.

Product Information and Promotions - Make sure all employees have easy access to your product information. Your business can suffer if your customers aren't provided the latest details on the products they purchase.

Customer Follow-Up - Customer complaints and questions should be addressed quickly. Simple errors can become much bigger problems if allowed to go unresolved for more than a couple of days.

Fulfillment Advice

Avoid the Hidden Problems of Plug and Play Order Systems

As the emphasis on quick deliveries increases, more and more fulfillment providers are following the lead of and other large ecommerce companies that use "Plug and Play" formats for filling product orders. On the surface, it appears easy enough - the client enters the customer order information directly into the fulfillment company's system or website and the order is picked, packed and shipped to the consumer.

As long as everything throughout that process goes according to plan, the system works. However, if a glitch appears anywhere along the way and the client is not prepared to handle all customer service and support functions required to address the situation, serious problems can result.

To ensure that your product will reach your customers on time and problem-free, it is important to select a fulfillment company that provides not only accurate, timely product shipments, but also offers comprehensive account management capabilities that can help to troubleshoot small issues before they become BIG problems.

This includes such account administration components as:
  Project Management Checklist:    
a designated account manager who is fully trained on every aspect of your product line;
direct communications to guarantee that you are aware of all activity and any issues related to your account;
a professional, well-trained Call Center staff that gives your customers the attention and excellent service that they deserve; and.
seasonal staffing support to guarantee efficiency and excellent customer service during high volume periods, such as holidays and special promotions.

With this comprehensive approach to fulfillment, you can focus on the many other important aspects of running your business and know that your customers are receiving the best possible service available.

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About IFS

IFS is a world class, full-service fulfillment operation with a track record of success. A woman-owned business, we proudly serve some of the country's most respected corporations. With a special expertise in the fulfillment of Nutraceuticals and Cosmeceuticals, we can help you run your business more efficiently and more cost effectively. We appreciate your comments and welcome the opportunity to discuss your particular needs.

Innovative Fulfillment Solutions
4346 Belgium Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64150
Toll Free: 1-888-275-3000
Local: 816-587-5880
Fax: 816-587-5881