How to sell supplements on Amazon?

What are the most popular dietary supplements sold online? Who buys them? And, most importantly, how can we start selling dietary supplements on Amazon?

In today’s guide we shall endeavor to answer these and other questions!

Selling dietary supplements online, a fast-growing business

The market for dietary supplements in the United Kingdom is particularly vibrant, with those based on vitamin D, purchased by 42% of surveyed buyers, taking the top spot ahead of:

  • Multivitamins (33%),
  • Vitamin C (31%),
  • Omega 3 (25%).

Data provided by Lumina Intelligence also reports that the number one source of dietary supplements are pharmacies and healthcare professionals, with 58% of respondents considering their doctor to be the most reliable source of information. Specialized retailers are the second most trusted source, with 39% of buyers stating they would turn to them for guidance. Despite the boom in social media and digital channels, only 7% say they trust online influencers as a source of information for dietary supplements.

Where are dietary supplements sold?

Where are dietary supplements sold? How important is the online channel in this sector?

Let’s immediately say that the main sales channel for dietary supplements in Europe is still the traditional pharmacy. The most traditional pharma sector absorbs a share just slightly under 70% of the market. However, if we add the 15% of the para-pharmaceutical channel to the pharmaceutical one, the result is that about 85% of all dietary supplements are currently sold in brick-and-mortar stores.

However, beware! The trend of online sales of dietary supplements, and in particular, the sale of dietary supplements on Amazon, is strongly increasing. Nowadays, its volume on the total European market exceeds 10%.

For Amazon sellers, this is obviously great news, considering also:

that dietary supplements are small-sized, benefit from the reduced 10% VAT, and are non-seasonal products.
 In short, a mix of factors that could make this business irresistible!

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The future trends of dietary supplements sales

Before understanding how dietary supplements can be sold on Amazon, it is certainly helpful to learn what the future trends of this sector might be.

  • Online commerce. Consumers are and will increasingly be inclined to purchase dietary supplements online and, given the reliability of the channel, on Amazon. Convenience and affordability seem to be the most appreciated preference characteristics.
  • Overall demand is increasing. The increase in the average age of the population and the greater awareness of the correct use of these products will further increase the demand for dietary supplements.
  • Effectiveness. Over time, dietary supplements will become increasingly effective, targeted, and innovative.
  • Formulations. European consumers claim to prefer taking supplements in capsules rather than in less practical sachets. It is therefore very likely that dietary supplements incorporated in this form, and especially in modern biotech innovations that can be taken without water, will be in greater demand. However, one-third of consumers will still prefer to take supplements in liquid form in the coming years.

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Requirements for selling dietary supplements on Amazon

Now that we have a clearer idea of the contours of selling dietary supplements in Europe, let’s try to understand the requirements for selling dietary supplements on Amazon and on digital channels, in general.

First of all, it is important to clarify that dietary supplements are food products. As such, they fall within the framework of the general discipline for the sale of food products regarding hygiene and safety, controls, and consumer information.

Considering that there is not yet a specific updated regulation for dietary supplements, the regulatory framework to refer to is the old Directive 2002/46/EC for the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to food supplements. While awaiting a hoped-for new European regulation, this is therefore the main reference point that anyone intending to sell dietary supplements on Amazon should be aware of.

Among the main highlights of online sales, we point out the following:

  • the registration of dietary supplements with prior notification to the Ministry of Health with the layout of labels, in electronic format, upon payment of a fee (in Italy, 160.20 euros). The procedure ends with the issuance of an alphanumeric code that identifies the name of the operator and the product in the Register of dietary supplements;
  • the registration of the operator with the competent health authority;
  • the obligation to provide the consumer with all mandatory information before purchase and on the label. Note that the mandatory information to be provided online includes whatever is prescribed on the labels of dietary supplements.

For more information, we also recommend reading the marketing and production requirements indicated on the Ministry of Health’s website.

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The necessary documents to sell dietary supplements on Amazon

Dietary supplements are a category that requires specific documents for approval. This is not at all surprising! Since these products can have a significant impact on consumer health, Amazon strives to ensure they meet the requirements for European Union safety. As a current or future seller, you can consult them here.

Among the required mandatory requirements is the notification for marketing purposes, which, according to current regulations, may be:

  • Proof (a screenshot, for example) that the ASIN is registered in the dietary supplements database published by the local authority.
  • Proof of sending, receiving, or a confirmation of pre-marketing notification of the ASIN sent to the local authority:
    • from the manufacturer,
    • from the brand owner,
    • from the importer in the European Union.

In case the ASIN does not appear in the local database and you are not the manufacturer, brand owner, or importer in the European Union, then you will need to contact the company responsible for the ASIN and request proof of notification.

However, do not be intimidated by this seemingly complex set of requirements. During the procedure for requesting authorization to sell dietary supplements on Amazon, the marketplace will provide you with everything you need to obtain approval. If you are already a professional operator such as a pharmacy, then things will be even simpler and more straightforward!

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The 10 steps to sell dietary supplements on Amazon

As we have already mentioned several times, the dietary supplements sector can be very lucrative for a seller on Amazon.

However, the fact that you can obtain interesting profits from selling these products on the marketplace (and, in general, on all online channels) should not deceive you. Like any other business activity, it needs to be approached with the right kind of awareness.

For this reason, we have outlined a 10-step path for you in the following paragraphs. An ideal road that will allow you to successfully sell dietary supplements on Amazon!

1. Prepare everything necessary for the sale

The first thing to do is to prepare everything you need to be ready to sell. We are obviously referring to compliance with current regulations – some of which we have already discussed. Make sure to fulfill:

  • both the general ones for any online sale (VAT registration, Chamber of Commerce registration, etc.),
  • and those specific to the food sector.

Then, make sure to comply with the requirements for information transparency on the label. Hone your skills with training courses for selling dietary supplements. You can find excellent ones online too! Also, remember that each country has its own different rules. Therefore, carry out diligent analysis for each of the markets in which you intend to operate.

2. Do your research to find the right niche

As already mentioned, not all categories of dietary supplements are experiencing the same trend in terms of demand and sales.

Therefore, do your research to understand which market niche is worth targeting. Read analyses and studies that will make the decision a bit easier for you.

3. Find the products to sell

Once you are certain that you comply with all the current legal provisions and have chosen which niche to focus on, find the products to sell.

The easiest thing to do is to sell ready-made products, either imported or purchased from local manufacturers. Be sure to make a good selection of merchandise, tailoring it to your target audience.

4. Open a seller account on Amazon

Opening an Amazon account is mandatory if you want to capitalize on your business projects on the marketplace.

We have talked about this topic many times. You can take a look here to learn more and compare prices on the official Amazon website.

healthy supplements

5. Get familiar with Seller Central

After registering as an Amazon selling partner, get familiar with Seller Central. It contains all the most useful resources for effectively starting to sell on Amazon.

Think of Seller Central as a kind of gateway to your Amazon business. Or, if you prefer, as an essential tool for managing your sales account, from adding inventory to handling payments.

6. Publish your offers

When the times comes to publish your offers, you can do so by either associating an existing offer or creating a new one.

For each offer, highlight:

  • Product ID.
  • SKU.
  • Product title.
  • Description.
  • Bullet points.
  • Images.
  • Search terms with relevant keywords.

Also, keep in mind that you may be selling products that are subject to restrictions. As such, they will need to be specifically approved on Seller Central. You will need to provide any additional information that will be detailed in the screens you find on the platform.

7. Establish delivery rules

As an Amazon seller, you have two options for delivering products to your customers. The first is to act independently, through direct inventory management. The second is to entrust Amazon with the responsibility of packaging, labeling, and shipping products through its own logistics.

Since the differences are significant, we recommend you focus on this strategy with due attention.

8. Monitor the evolution of your performance

Selling on Amazon also means ensuring compliance with the high-performance metrics of the marketplace. The platform wants its customers to have the best shopping experiences. This applies especially to rather delicate products like dietary supplements.

Therefore, keep an eye on statistics such as:

  • Percentage of defective orders less than 1%
  • Percentage of cancellations prior to shipment less than 2.5%
  • Percentage of late shipments less than 4%.

9. Get good reviews from customers

Reviews on Amazon are a fundamental part of the shopping experience on the marketplace. They represent an important advantage for both customers and selling partners!

Try obtaining more positive reviews by offering a comprehensive and effective service. Be very careful to avoid taking actions prohibited by Amazon.

10. Promote your business

Selling on Amazon also means competing with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of other sellers.

Promotional strategies will certainly help you succeed and get the right visibility. It’s also a good idea not to underestimate the benefits of advertising, coupons, and other customized formulas!

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