How to Sell Nutritional Supplements Online

With the Perfect Website for your Nutritional Supplements Business

sell nutritional supplements online

The market for nutraceuticals businesses is unlimited

Who doesn't want to be healthier? All over the world, people from all walks of life are looking for convenient ways to improve their health and well-being. Nutritional supplements offer a simple method for doing so in many different ways, such as improving daily intake of vitamins and minerals, improving mood, energy levels, and sleep, increasing the efficiency of exercise, and more. Of course, there's no such thing as a "quick fix" for health, but nutritional supplements are just that: supplements. By providing your customers with these products, you're offering them a practical way to improve their health even if they can't make other changes. For example, not everyone has the time or ability to prepare and eat perfectly-balanced meals three times a day to ensure their bodies get everything they need, but everyone has time to take a multivitamin in the morning.

This is why the market for supplements is huge. People know they can improve their health through diet and lifestyle changes, but they often simply don't have the time. Work schedules, family, kids (who may insist on pizza every night), stress, and other factors can all interfere with a person's ability to make these changes. Nutritional supplements can help the body and mind regardless of the tight day-to-day schedule that most people live by. Forced to grab your meals on-the-go? You can still get all your vital micronutrients in a convenient pill or shake. Wish you could spend more time in the gym? Supplements let you squeeze more results from each workout. By selling nutritional supplements, you're helping your customers get healthier despite the restrictions placed on them by their lives — and if you use the right eCommerce software, you'll have all the tools you need to give them a convenient shopping experience they'll love.

types of nutritional supplements to sell online

Selling Different Types of Nutritional Supplements Online

Nutritional supplements offer a multitude of ways to improve physical and mental health. There's a wide variety of supplements out there and each one is made to meet a specific need. Basic nutrition is covered by vitamins or meal replacements, which save tons of time and money for people who want to eat healthier but can't fit the change into their current schedule. Other supplements help with mood, digestion, sleep, memory, energy levels, and even sex drive. Often, these types of supplements work by providing the body with certain nutrients that are hard to get in sufficient levels through diet. Others use plant- or animal-based substances that have been shown to have a positive effect on the human body, like ginger (for sensitive stomachs) or fish oil (for mental clarity and other benefits).

Workout supplements are another market with vast potential, and there are tons of different types for use in all stages of exercise, from pre-workout to workout recovery. Weight gainers and protein are popular among people trying to pack on more muscle than diet alone would allow. Muscle builders like creatine are useful for strength training. While you might think only serious bodybuilders would be interested in these products, that simply isn't true — anyone with an interest in exercise, from the office worker to the triathlon competitor, can decide to use supplements to get the most from their workouts.

You have a lot of choice as to the types of supplements you sell, so it's important to research the industry in the early stages of planning your business. Not only do you have to understand the needs of your target market, you must also be familiar with the laws and regulations that apply (which we'll summarize later). You'll also need to stay up-to-date on the illegal or otherwise banned substances that occasionally show up in the ingredients of certain supplement brands, so you'll know to avoid them. A well-known example is ephedra. Supplements containing ephedra are illegal because it's been proven to be dangerous. Other substances are not outright illegal but are banned from usage in sports because they've been determined to provide an unfair advantage — and you certainly wouldn't want an angry customer who had been kicked off a team for using one of your products. Since it would be impossible for us to list all illegal or banned substances on this page, make sure you exercise due diligence when selecting supplements to sell, and always disclose all the ingredients contained in your products.

Following laws and best practices doesn't mean you're limiting the number of supplements you can sell on your online store — far from it. Instead of trying to sell every type of nutritional supplement you can think of, it's better to find a niche you can focus on intently. Finding a niche doesn't mean you can only sell a single type of supplement, as many types are meant to be used together, such as the various workout supplements. Customers interested in general health benefits may also want to buy a selection of complementary supplements that you can easily sell together. It's up to you to judge which supplement types can work well together in your online store, but first you need to understand your options.

multi vitamins

Multivitamins

Multivitamins include a daily dose of vitamins and minerals that are often hard to consume in sufficient amounts through meals. They come in several different forms, including capsules, chewables, and gummies. Multivitamins are available in different formulas aimed at people in different life stages, such as adult men and women, children, seniors, and pregnant women.

Specific Vitamins and Minerals

These are individual vitamins or combinations of vitamins brought together for extra supplementation purposes. Sometimes customers take these to meet a specific deficiency, like iron, calcium, or B vitamins. Others like vitamin C and zinc are sought out by people seeking to boost their immune system after exposure to illness. There are hundreds of vitamins out there and many are purchased along with regular multivitamins.

Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements come in both capsule and powder forms and provide the user with something missing from their usual diet. Fiber is a well-known dietary supplement, since it can be difficult for some people to get enough fiber from food alone. Green supplements are another popular type; they make it possible to get the nutrients from multiple servings of vegetables and other plants all at once. Green supplements are popular among people who want the benefits of a vegetable-heavy diet without needing to prepare the large quantities of vegetables they'd otherwise need to eat.

Fat Burners

Fat burners provide a boost to the metabolism and are popular with anyone trying to lose weight. They're sometimes taken with meals or before exercise, to help the body burn extra calories. You should be careful choosing products from this category because they're the most likely to contain a banned substance (we cover these below), but there are legal and effective fat burners out there. You should also inform your customers that fat burners are most effective when combined with exercise, as they do very little on their own. They are often purchased with workout supplements.

Pre-Workout Supplements

Pre-workout supplements are meant to be used shortly before strenuous exercise. They provide extra stamina and mental clarity to help the user work out harder with more focus and motivation. Some pre-workout supplements are meant to be used on an empty stomach for what athletes call "fasted training." Fasted training burns more fat, but makes it harder to gain muscle at the same time without the proper supplement. Pre-workout supplements for fasted training allow the body to burn fat at this accelerated rate while still putting on muscle normally.

Workout Recovery Supplements

Exercise works specifically by damaging the muscle fibers and forcing them to grow stronger to adapt, but this also results in soreness and sometimes a feeling of weakness as the muscles recover. Workout recovery supplements include substances that aid muscle repair and healing, helping them strengthen faster and minimizing soreness. Since they help users get back to the gym faster, these supplements are extremely popular among active athletes and others with a heavy workout schedule.

Muscle Growth Supplements

Muscle growth supplements include protein, which can be derived from whey, soy, or other sources. Protein is needed to build muscle, and it can be difficult to get enough protein from diet alone without overeating. Creatine is another supplement that helps speed up muscle growth and also provides additional benefits like providing more energy to muscle cells during exercise. Creatine needs to build up in the body to be effective, so customers will want to maintain their supply.

Natural Boosters and Remedies

These include plant- and animal-derived substances that aren't technically "vitamins" but are often sought out by people who want to avoid medications. Each of these offers a specific benefit; for example, in addition to the ginger and fish oil we mentioned earlier, there's also glucosamine chondroitin for joint health, chamomile and valerian for sleep, ginseng and guarana for energy, and hundreds more. Note that this type of supplement requires a bit more research when choosing products to sell, just because there are so many and not all are equally effective.

Accessories

Accessories for supplements depend on the type of supplements you sell, but they include all types of products for organizing and taking supplements. Daily vitamin counters, measuring spoons, jars and other containers, and shaker bottles are all examples of accessories you can sell in your online nutritional supplement store.

Meal Replacements

Meal replacements offer complete, balanced nutrition for people on-the-go and are popular among those with a busy lifestyle as well as those looking for a convenient way to meet their nutritional needs. They often come in powder form, to be mixed with water, juice, or milk. Meal replacements are also frequently available as bars.

Summary of Types of Nutritional Supplement Products You Can Sell

  • Multivitamins
  • Fat burners
  • Specific vitamins
  • Pre-workout supplements
  • Natural boosters and remedies
  • Workout recovery supplements
  • Meal replacements
  • Muscle growth supplements
  • Dietary supplements
  • Accessories

Now that you have an overview of supplement types, you can start deciding which types to sell on your online store. Several of these types fit well into the same niche. For example, multivitamins, specific vitamins, and natural remedies go well together if you want to sell supplements for general health. If your preferred niche is workout supplements, that would include pre-workout, recovery, and muscle growth at the very least, and possibly also fat burners and meal replacements. No matter what niche you choose, accessories are great as well.

Boost Supplement Sales with an
Auto-Delivery of Nutritional Supplements

Remember that selling nutritional supplements online means your customers will want to restock their products regularly. If you build your online store with 3dcart, you'll have access to some powerful features your customers will appreciate, including Autoship — a subscription software that customers can use to automatically receive their chosen products on a regular basis.

3dcart also comes with the ability to create product bundles, which serve an important need for customers buying workout supplements. People with a serious exercise regimen like to buy all their workout supplements together in a "stack," and you can set this up easily on 3dcart. Depending on your selection, you can create multiple stacks to target customers doing different types of workouts. For example, you could offer a regular workout stack that includes pre-workout, recovery, and protein supplements, a fat loss stack with a fat burner, creatine, and a pre-workout supplement specifically for fasted training, and a muscle builder stack that includes both protein and creatine along with pre-workout and recovery supplements. You can bundle any number of products together with a discount to create the stacks your customers demand. Combine this with Autoship and you'll create the most streamlined shopping experience possible.

Since supplements are often bought together, upselling and cross-selling features will benefit your online store. Customers will see related products while they shop, and may decide to add these additional products to their cart. A customer buying multivitamins might be happy to toss in a bottle of fiber capsules, while another customer buying a meal replacement mix could be alerted that you also sell shaker bottles. If you sell workout supplements and include stacks as described above, you could upsell your customers by suggesting they purchase the bundle instead. These features bring in more profits and provide convenience to your customers.

auto delivery

Accepting Online Payments for Nutritional Supplements

One of the biggest challenges faced by a new nutritional supplement business is finding a payment provider that will process sales of these products. Nutritional supplements and nutraceuticals require special payment providers for credit card processing because they are considered a high-risk industry. This means a high-risk payment provider is needed. Fortunately, 3dcart integrates with several of the best high-risk payment providers for selling nutritional supplements.

Why are Nutritional Supplements a High-Risk Industry?

A high-risk industry is any industry subject to heavy or inconsistent regulation or abnormally susceptible to chargebacks from customers. Supplements and nutraceuticals fit into both these categories. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) applies strong regulations to supplements of all kinds. In addition, supplements are not FDA-approved. This doesn't mean they're not effective, only that they haven't been evaluated (so steer clear of making any direct medical claims on your website and make sure you include a disclaimer stating the lack of FDA evaluation).

Customer chargebacks are also common in the supplement industry because customers commonly believe they don't work. Some supplement brands are definitely poor in quality and will never give the customer the results they want, but even the best supplements can fail if the customer doesn't use them properly. This is why you should only sell high-quality products and disclose plenty of details to help customers understand how to use them. For example, some supplements need to be taken on a schedule, while others work best with exercise, and others won't show results until after a few weeks of regular use. The more informed your customers are, the better they'll understand what to expect, and the less likely they are to be unsatisfied.

high risk payment processors

Selling Private Label Nutritional Supplements

While there are many popular brands of supplements out there, you may want to sell your own brand under your company name. Formulating your own supplements and sourcing the ingredients is possible, but can be very difficult since you'll also have to balance FDA regulations. The better option is to find a private label supplier, which is a supplier that will provide you with products that are fully branded for your business. This can help you stand out from the competition and gain an edge in the industry.

Selling Private Label Nutritional Supplements

Understanding Shipping and Delivery for Supplements

Supplements must be packaged well and delivered promptly. Any damage to the containers can render the product unusable, and additionally, a few supplements are sensitive to extreme temperatures. It's important to use sufficient packaging that can meet the needs of your products and to fulfill orders as quickly as possible. Remember, your customers are also eager to receive their orders, especially if they've come to rely on keeping a supply of their favorite supplement. If you'd prefer to avoid all the intricacies of packing and shipping your products, dropshipping is a viable option.

Dropshipping Nutritional Supplements

Dropshipping is a fulfillment model in which you don't keep products in stock yourself; rather, the orders you receive are forwarded to your supplier, who handles shipping to the customer. There are many benefits to dropshipping that make it ideal for new businesses. You don't need to spend money up front on inventory, nor do you need warehousing space or packing materials. Since you don't have to prepare and ship the products yourself, dropshipping also saves time.

Some dropshipping suppliers will provide extra benefits, like branded packaging that matches your business — another great way to build your brand. When choosing a dropshipper for supplements, it's best to go with one based in the US (or your own country) to ensure quality products and fast and affordable shipping for your customers. Since your company reputation is on the line, it's also a good idea to order a few products for yourself so you can inspect them and the packaging.

Dropshipping Nutritional Supplements

Choosing the Right Nutritional Supplement Supplier

Whether you decide to dropship or stock products yourself, you need to find a good supplier to source your nutritional supplements from. Your choice of supplier should be based on a few different factors. Product quality is crucial, as well as the ingredients used — remember, you want to avoid banned or illegal substances. If you're interested in a specific supplier, also check for any bonus services they offer, like white label supply (for private label products), dropshipping, custom packaging, and more.

Here are some excellent supplement suppliers that offer dropshipping.

Successful Stores Selling Nutritional Supplements Online

Online Supplement Sellers Powered by 3dcart

How to Get Started Selling Nutritional Supplements

3dcart is by far the best solution for building and growing your online nutritional supplement store. Start by signing up for a FREE online store 15-day trial with no credit card needed. You can use your trial to learn about the 3dcart software, experiment with nutritional supplements store themes, and decide if 3dcart is right for you. Here are some of the features that make 3dcart best for selling supplements:

Why 3dcart is the Best eCommerce Platform for Selling Supplements Online

Autoship Auto-Delivery Feature

Help customers keep their favorite supplements in stock with a convenient subscription. Set up multiple subscription intervals and let customers choose how often to receive their products. When the time comes, the customer's payment method is automatically charged and a new order is created.

Dropshipping Support

Easily connect your 3dcart store to your dropshipping supplier of choice. Instantly notify your supplier of new orders via automatic emails, and use your supplier's location for shipping calculations. Plus, you can connect your store in minutes to popular dropship automation software like Inventory Source.

Easy Product Reviews and Q&As

Product reviews are extremely valuable for products like supplements and nutraceuticals. With 3dcart, you can display customer reviews right on the product page and send automatic emails to request them from customers. Plus, a full Product Q&A system lets customers ask questions on product pages just like Amazon.

Built-in Blog and Page Creation

Content marketing is key, and with 3dcart's built-in blog you can conveniently share news, articles, and tips to spur interest in your supplements. You can also create all the extra website pages you need, to display your store policies, business information, FDA disclaimer, product ingredients, and more.

3dcart includes everything you need to sell online

Frequently Asked Questions

Does FDA regulate supplements sales?
The FDA regulates supplements and their ingredients. Compliance with the FDA is crucial to your business, so make sure you're well-versed in the FDA's regulations for dietary supplements. To summarize, all products must be accurately labeled and you're forbidden from making direct medical claims about your products. Other regulations may also apply depending on where your business is located. It's your responsibility to ensure that your business is in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws.
Is it legal to sell nutraceuticals?
Nutraceuticals are the type of supplements used for direct health benefits, including the types of products we listed on this page under "natural boosters and remedies." However, this is not a strict category, and the words "supplements" and "nutraceuticals" are often used interchangeably. It is legal to sell nutraceuticals as long as you follow all the guidelines and regulations stipulated by the FDA (or, if outside the US, your country's regulating body). Remember that it's illegal to market any type of supplement as a cure or treatment for any disease. However, while you can't outwardly say a product (for example) relieves pain, you can cite studies showing pain relief effects of the product's ingredients.
Can I sell vitamins on Amazon?
Yes, you can sell on Amazon vitamins as well as other supplements, but first you'll need to get approval from Amazon. In turn, this requires a Professional Selling Plan, which comes with a monthly fee. It may be best for your business to start with your own eCommerce website and then branch out into Amazon once you've started making sales.