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Building High Converting and Profitable Promotions for Supplement Brands

The supplements industry has been no stranger to evolution over the past decade. After ecommerce skyrocketed in 2020, we’ve seen brands introduce direct-to-consumer (DTC) supplement models, customized vitamin subscriptions, and even bundle wellness packages. So it’s no surprise that supplement brands are acting swiftly to innovate their offerings and promotion strategies.

As merchants gear up for their FY2024 promotion planning, our team put together this guide filled with learnings from our favorite supplement brands. This is a great way to acquire new tactics that drive profits while grasping what other businesses in this space are doing.

In this guide, we walk through the promotion strategies for the following brands:

The Supplements Category—Why Promotions are Mission Critical

Before digging into the strategies and tactics, let’s understand the landscape of the supplements category and the core trends that will shape promotion strategies.

  1. High Lifetime Value and Repeat Purchase Behavior: Supplements are consumed frequently, and need to be replenished. Merchants can leverage their understanding of the customer’s purchase cycle to personalize promotions. ie. They can encourage long-term customer loyalty by encouraging trials across categories for optimal frequency.

  2. Flavor Options: Unlike larger retail brands that have limited supply chain flexibility, smaller DTC brands are more agile. This means they can quickly launch small runs of unique flavors and design discovery campaigns for their customers.

  3. Perishable: One downside is that certain supplement products can’t sit on a warehouse shelf or pantry forever. This means you have to be proactive with sell-by dates and dynamically adjust an offer based on the life cycle of the product.

6 Tactics Supplement Brands Use to Maximize Sales

  1. Big Number Discounting: 40% off? I’m in. Leading with your largest promotion is the best way to attract customers to click through on your ads. Even if you only discount a specific collection, it’s a great tactic to get your customer’s foot in the door.
    Obvi’s big number discount on their homepage
    Obvi’s big number discount on their homepage
  2. Bestsellers Highlight: Navigating an ecommerce store for the first time can be overwhelming. That’s why creating a Bestsellers Highlight ensures a guided experience for their first purchase. We’ve also seen merchants feature Bestsellers based on positive customer reviews or user-generated content. Lead with the best, make a strong impression.

    Obvi’s Bestseller Highlight—organized by product category
    Obvi’s Bestseller Highlight—organized by product category
  3. Countdowns and Urgency: Communicating the limited time available for offers creates a sense of urgency. Rather than a bigger offer each day, you can use rotating offers for each day of the sale to create scarcity.

    Good Protein’s promotion countdown creates urgency and directs traffic
    Good Protein’s promotion countdown creates urgency and directs traffic
  4. Gifts and Tiers to Scale Up AOV: It’s important to incentivize customers when they get on your site. The most common tiered approach is free shipping, but especially around the holidays, there are multiple ways to get creative through gifts with purchases.

    Create Wellness offers gifts at different tiers to increase AOV
    Create Wellness offers gifts at different tiers to increase AOV
  5. Gift Card Offers: Offering gift cards is an effective strategy to encourage future spending. Although there is some upfront administration, there’s an upsell benefit with 72% of gift card recipients spending about 38% higher than the face value of their cards.

    Xendurance’s tiered gift card offer
    Xendurance’s tiered gift card offer
  6. New Product Launches: With all the inbound traffic to your store on Black Friday, take it as an opportunity to launch new products. Giving your customers early access to new or popular products is sometimes enough of a compelling offer.

    Good Protein launched an exclusive Holiday Shake during BFCM
    Good Protein launched an exclusive Holiday Shake during BFCM

Common Mistakes or Weaknesses:

  1. Inconsistent experience: Some brands fail to maintain a consistent customer experience throughout the shopping process, especially concerning the visibility and clarity of the promotions. The result? Friction in the checkout journey and lower conversion rates.

  2. Unclear savings calculation: When the actual savings from discounts are not clear, it’s difficult for customers to understand the true value of the offer. This leads to abandoned carts at checkout.

  3. Lack of exclusivity for repeat customers: Promotions that are available to all customers might not feel special to repeat customers, diluting the offer’s perceived value. Brands with cult followings build effective loyalty reward systems.

  4. Trust issues with gift card promotions: When promotions involve gift cards or future discounts, there can be trust issues, particularly if the details are forgotten or not visible throughout the shopping experience. A poor CX flow for complex promotions damages brand equity and might flood your support inbox.

A playbook you can use

Designing for exclusivity

In the world of promotions, one size doesn’t fit all. The key to winning the hearts of your customers is to personalize; and design for exclusivity.

Think about how you are giving access to your offer. Is it only for newsletter subscribers, returning customers, or early access?

Intentionally designing your offers to select segments of your customer base is guaranteed to boost loyalty and drive stronger conversions than one large discount campaign.

Here are some tactics to try out:

  1. Early bird promotion: launch a larger promotion to your customers one to two weeks before your public promotion. This targets new and returning customers who are holding out for a deal and want the benefit of having their desired item in stock.

  2. Email subscribers only: have customers unlock their discount by joining your subscription list. This creates the perfect opportunity to retarget them with an email drip sequence that will have them coming back to your store.

  3. VIP: create an exclusive promotion for your best customers. Maybe it’s your customers that have made at least one purchase in the last 6 months. Offer a gift with purchase, a higher discount, or early access to a new product drop.

Read more about these tactics here

Lead customers where you want them

Your store’s home page is prime real estate to capture your customer’s intent and direct them where you want. Whether it’s creating a bestseller highlight, featuring new collections, or highlighting your limited-time discount—make navigating your store easy and seamless.

Ultimately, minimizing distractions and reinforcing trust in the shopping journey drives shoppers to checkout and away from abandoned carts.

Prioritizing customer experience is especially important if you’re running complex promotions (ie. gift card offers, tiered discounts, and gift with purchase). Going the extra mile to make sure discounts are auto-applied and consistent throughout the shopping journey can drive conversion and build trust and loyalty with your customers.

Build trust through transparency

Over time, build trust with your customers through consistent and transparent pricing. If customers know how much they’ll pay from the get-go, they’re less likely to drop off. No more unpleasant surprises at checkout.

Build a customer loyalty engine, giving them a seamless store experience every time they make a purchase.

Tactically you can explore using dynamic pricing on your storefront to ensure that your promotion prices are reflected throughout your store. Alternatively adding clear banners, popups, or progress bars when discounts are applied helps to communicate your offer.

Optimize your offers to drive more sales

We hope you have had some ideas you can use in your business today from this guide.

If you could use an extra hand looking for how to improve your experience on your promotions feel free to book a walkthrough with one of our experts from the Abra team.