With the global outbreak of COVID-19, the print-on-demand supplement industry is rising. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, the industry will grow at a 12.1 percent annual rate by 2020. One of the most significant changes in the print on demand supplements industry over the last year has been eCommerce sales. For context, eCommerce has been the fastest-growing channel in the supplement industry over the last decade. Ecommerce is everywhere, no matter how you slice it. Every day, more businesses move their operations online. It comes with some benefits as well as some challenges. And, if you have a supplement online business, you must understand the challenges to succeed in this industry.
4 ECOMMERCE CHALLENGES THAT PRINT ON DEMAND SUPPLEMENTS IINDUSTRY ARE FACING
Challenge 1: Increase in Online Supplement Sales
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, consumer demand for supplements—particularly immunity-related supplements such as vitamin C, as well as general wellness supplements—rose rapidly. The governments quickly impose lockdowns and many consumers opts to stay in to avoid COVID. As a result, e-commerce became the new channel of choice for many supplement users. According to Mintel, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 50 percent increase in online vitamin and mineral supplement purchases in the United States. Consumers’ shift to online platforms is expected to have long-term consequences for the supplement industry, with e-commerce becoming the third largest channel in 2020, after natural and specialty retail and mass-market retail.
Challenge 2: Strict regulations are difficult to implement online.
The world of supplements and medications is heavily regulated in hospitals and pharmacies. However, with the rise of eCommerce, anyone can now sell over-the-counter supplements and prescription medications online. Studies show that 66 percent of countries worldwide have no laws governing online drug sales. Authorities in the United States have many laws and regulations in place, and they try to intervene to ensure that the public receives legitimate medications from legitimate sources.
As a retailer of print on demand supplements, you must stay current on regulations. In addition, do everything possible to ensure that your sales are legal and legitimate. If you do not, regulatory authorities may intervene, and you may lose credibility.
Challenge 3: A healthcare professional’s insufficient involvement in online sales.
Because so many medications and supplements are now available online, anyone can obtain them—whether or not a doctor or pharmacist is involved. It can lead to dangerous situations, as many people order supplements online without a doctor’s diagnosis or any idea of the proper dosage from a pharmacist. It can easily lead to supplements being used incorrectly or a patient taking too much of a particular supplement. Print on demand supplements eCommerce retailers should always sell only legal products in the recommended dosages. Before selling any print on demand nutraceuticals online, it’s critical to check the FDA’s website to avoid getting into legal trouble.
Challenge 4: All Nutra eCommerce businesses must adhere to HIPAA regulations.
As a print on demand supplements company with an online presence, you are subject to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations, so you must understand how to comply with them. HIPAA regulations can be lengthy and complicated. They demand that businesses implement policies to protect patients’ health information. Moreover, limit all sharing of confidential personal data, and train all employees on security and confidentiality. As a result, you must select the right HIPAA-compliant eCommerce development partners to ensure that your customers’ personal information is always secure and never exposed online or elsewhere.
Hackers can breach your customers’ healthcare records if you aren’t careful, sending you down a path of never-ending legal problems. Furthermore, customers are quick to abandon any company that makes them believe their personal information is at risk.
As your supplement company expands its eCommerce presence, you will undoubtedly face challenges. It’s a good idea for online merchants to consult with legal counsel to ensure that their activities are above board. Failure to do so can quickly lead to items falling through the cracks, exposing a company to catastrophic losses. However, your online sales will be a resounding success by anticipating challenges and strategically addressing them.