In conversation with Jas Krdzalic, CEO of BodyBuilding.com

‘Amazon has accelerated the path to either consolidation or exit strategies out of the space’: BodyBuilding.com CEO

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

NutraIngredients-USA traveled to Boise, Idaho to the HQ of BodyBuilding to catch up with its (relatively new) CEO, Jas Krdzalic to talk about a wide variety of topics. In Part 2 we cover e-commerce, from the company’s best-selling products to the challenge of Amazon.

Krdzalic took over the reins at the online retail giant in early 2017. The company boasts over 29 million unique visitors per month to its website, which is both the largest online sports nutrition store in the world and home to 35,000 pages of workouts, recipes, nutrition, and much more.

“The largest category continues to be protein,” ​he said. “People look at protein as food, they don’t look at it as a supplement. Consumers are starting to get very familiar with the idea of tearing down of the muscle and rebuilding the muscle and we’re seeing an influx of interest in that. One of our most searched terms is BCAAs.

“We also see the natural lines are becoming a big deal – you hear a lot more about non-GMO, organic, natural, no artificial sweeteners or ingredients, and we’re already seeing our most trusted partners embarking on full product lines that are natural.”

The Amazon effect

Commenting on the rise of Amazon and its extensive supplement range, Krdzalic noted that the overall retail landscape is very fragmented and over-saturated. “When that happens, price and promotion become the value proposition, and any industry that sustains itself on a price and promotion for an extended period of time is probably going to have a hard time surviving,”​ he said.

“Amazon has accelerated the path to either consolidation or exit strategies out of the space. Am I concerned? I’m only concerned that I will never be able to learn fast enough to deliver the consumer a value at a rate that Amazon does it.

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“We are so different to Amazon,” ​he added. “We sell one category of products. We’re dedicated to the fitness community. You cannot buy a couch, razor blades and toilet paper on BodyBuilding.com. You don’t go head on with what they do really well.

“If you’re “Jeannie from Ohio”, and you go to Amazon to buy a supplement, where did you learn about it? How do you know it’s the right supplement for where you are on your fitness journey? You will not. How you’ll do it is to open another window, go to BodyBuilding.com and read our content. You’re going to learn what’s the best and talk to our customer service. The challenge is if she’s still going to buy on Amazon because she’s also buying toilet paper that day. We want to win on customer intimacy and customer experience.”

International aspirations

The United States is BodyBuilding.com’s primary market by some distance, but the company does have extensive international expansion plans.

“We have to get a lot better about localization, not just BodyBuilding.com but all of us,” ​said Krdzalic. “What’s read well in the US may not read well in other countries. What tastes good in the US may not taste good in other countries. So if you launch a Signature private label line in the UK it’s important to localize to their tastes and preference and compliance.

“Around the content, you have to translate with a meaning. Anyone can translate an article, but when we say “gains”, how do you translate that into Mandarin? Establishing partnerships in those regions is also very important.”

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