You’ve probably heard the term “frenemies,” a new word that combines “friends” and “enemies.” In the business world, frenemies are two competitors that cooperate with each other to increase business, but at the expense of sharing customer purchase data and other proprietary business information. The birth of the Internet spawned the term, as smaller companies with something to sell struck deals with large web portals like Google, Facebook and Amazon in order to get access to the millions of eyeballs visiting these massive sites every day.
You spend your days helping others achieve optimal health, but what about your store? As the old adage goes, it is always the cobbler’s children that have no shoes. So, with March in full swing, and your vitamin and supplement sales at their annual peak, now is a good time to plan how you will optimize your slower summer months. Here are a few things you can think about to help get your store in good shape—optimal health, if you will.
What products should you carry? The answer to this question 20 years ago was fairly simple, since natural products weren’t widely available; you just carried them all. But today, with retail competitors in eight separate distribution channels offering some or all of the same products you carry, the answer becomes more complex.
A couple of weeks before my mother passed away, and knowing she soon would, I asked for any advice she would give me. I was 31 at the time. After pausing for a moment, Mom answered, “Try to build something.”
Every business owner does it; thinks about selling from time to time. If you are an independent natural products retail store owner, chances are you’ve owned your store for a decade or more. Could it be time to pass the torch?
A Brief History
In June of 2002, H.J. Heinz Co. introduced the first organic ketchup by a mainstream, mass market food producer. Up until that time, only then-niche organic brands such as Muir Glen, Walnut Acres and the private label line of supernatural retailer, Austin, TX-based Whole Foods Markets, had risked venturing into the small but fast-growing branded organic foods segment. Around this time, conventional supermarkets were in various stages of toe-dipping into the natural and organic waters, expanding and then shrinking shelf space for the products depending on their stomach for risk. By 2003, the U.S. had entered a recession—mild by comparison to the Great Recession of 2007–2009—which caused a slowdown in sales of natural and organic foods within these traditional supermarkets.