Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA via video, Andrew Laudato, Chief Operating Officer for The Vitamin Shoppe, said that the retailer experienced a shift as more customers shopped online on its website and fewer customer in the store.
“We also had a large shift as customers were looking to buy all of the immune support products: vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and elderberry. And a little bit of a downtrend in sports nutrition products [in the early weeks and months of the pandemic],” he said.
“While that business has stayed strong, as customers have come back to stores, our web business has stayed strong, as has immunity, but now we’re seeing customers in addition add to their carts sports nutrition, foundational health, sleep, and stress products.
“So, there’s been a shift from stores to digital, a shift back as stores reopened but still a strong digital presence, and really strong across all categories with immune still leaving the way.”
On the supply chain, Laudato explained that The Vitamin Shoppe has had a longstanding partnership with many of its suppliers, which allowed for open communication lines and collaboration if and when scarcity was challenging supply.
“There were some areas where we found and sourced new products from new suppliers in a quick timeframe. The one thing that surprised me is some of our suppliers are struggling not with the raw ingredients as much with plastic bottles and capsules. We have been chasing product and inventory, but we were able to keep our shelves relatively stocked throughout through these partnerships.”
Making consumer behavioral changes stick
As sales of dietary supplement products have surged in 2020 with new consumers becoming users, many in the industry are conscious of what must be done to keep those consumers focused on health and wellness.
“I’m really excited to see it [more consumers become dietary supplement users],” said Laudato. “Already before the pandemic there was a trend towards health and wellness, which is good news all around. It’s really taken off now. I believe this trend it here to stay.
“One of things at The Vitamin Shoppe is we really focus on education. We consider expertise to be a pillar of our business. We retooled a lot of our communications on social media around knowledge: the more people know, and they understand, the more [behavioral changes] will stick.”
Laudato also discussed The Vitamin Shoppe’s ecommerce infrastructure, same day delivery, how their experiential stores are still part of the strategy, and the growth targets the retailer has set itself for the remainder of 2020.
Watch the video above for more from Andrew Laudato.