Health Ecommerce: Serving and Selling Wellness in a Jaded Online World

Health Ecommerce: Serving and Selling Wellness in a Jaded Online World
  • In one year, Hubble has grown their contact lens subscription service to $30M+ in sales and is still seeing 20% MoM growth
  • THINX is redefining the $36 billion feminine-hygiene market with original, thought-provoking stories and user-generated content  
  • The global digital health market — one segment of the $3.7 trillion wellness economy — is worth $368 billion and expected to reach $418 billion by 2020

Global digital health ecommerce market

Data from Statista compiled in the Health and Wellness Industry Report

Health in the 21st Century has been digitized. And that not only includes how consumers take care of themselves, but how businesses take care of their customers.

With that being said, it’s no wonder the global wellness industry was worth a whopping $3.7 trillion when The Global Wellness Institute crunched the numbers last year.

Global wellness economy by market segment

Data from GWI compiled in the Health and Wellness Industry Report

In this uber-competitive marketplace, what can your health and wellness business do to stand out from the crowd?

To help answer this question, we reviewed some of the …

Best health ecommerce sites to see how they are serving customers above and beyond their products in this multi-trillion-dollar market.
  1. Hubble: Monthly Subscriptions Your Eyes Will Love
  2. THINX: Taking the Taboo Out of Periods, Period
  3. Campus Protein: UGC Meets Personalization
  4. Dr. Axe: Membership Has Its Privileges
  5. 310 Nutrition: An Online Community for Support
  6. Edens Garden: Rewarding with Notable Essentials
  7. YouFoodz: Putting Their Money Where Their “Ballz” Are
  8. 100% Pure: Living Up to Their Name in Every Language

1. Hubble: Monthly Subscriptions Your Eyes Will Love

Buying contact lenses online is a tough sell — they are your eyes after all. So how can an ecommerce shop manage to convince customers to spend tens of millions of dollars in less than one year?

To meet that challenge, Hubble created a doctor-validated subscription-based product that allows new customers to sign up from their homepage for 15 pairs of lenses for free.

This does one of two things: a free trial introduces new customers with a risk-free way of seeing (pun intended!) if Hubble lenses pass the wear test and shows these same new customers just how easy it is to set up their subscription.

Hubble makes it easy to set up your prescription and get the best lenses delivered to your door each month
Not only has using Shopify Plus translated into $30M+ sales in one year, but they’ve also seen a 20% MoM growth as a company.

Of course, when your business is built on a recurring subscription model, your logistics need to be aligned on the backend, especially if you have a multi-channel ecommerce strategy. This includes multi-channel order management, keeping track of your stock, and fulfilling your order as efficiently as possible.


Interested in the future of ecommerce health?

Get the latest, in-depth Industry Report on online health and wellness.

Keep pace with data and trends impacting its direction as well as the technologies that will influence how you position, market, and sell tomorrow and beyond.

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2. THINX: Taking the Taboo Out of Periods, Period.

A woman’s menstrual cycle is still (in the 21st Century) a taboo subject. From young girls to women of a certain age, and from boys to men, everyone blushes a little when it comes to talking about it. THINX is making everyone think positively about periods.

How are they doing this?

First, by sharing stories on their blog — aptly dubbed Periodical — about things everyone can relate to. They infuse their posts with humor, puns (eggs are definitely a recurring theme), and lots of no-BS facts.

Filed as THINX pieces, women’s health issues, feminism, pop culture, and ‘undie’ the surface, you’ll find a huge variety of stories, guests posts, rumor quelling, and myth busting. They even tackle the issue from a man’s perspective!

THINX’s blog, Periodical

Second, by putting customer reviews front-and-center on their site. Instead of the usual “Sign up for a discount” popup, THINX drives prospective shoppers to their reviews page:

Ratings and reviews should be implemented heavily in any health-based ecommerce business to establish trust

Those same reviews also appear on the corresponding product pages.

Lastly, thanks to their incredible influence on the topic, women all over the world are now sharing their stories with THINX on social media — from Facebook Live videos about their experience to Instagram posts.

It’s a thing of beauty and they’ve only just begun.

Speaking of the power of the user-generated content …

3. Campus Protein: UGC Meets Personalization

According to Yotpo’s benchmark study of 559,276,000 online shoppers, the average conversion rate for visitors who saw user-generated content (UGC) increased 166% compared to those who didn’t.

Using Yopto, VWO, and Shopify Plus, Campus Protein put that stat to the test by adding a gallery of “photos [that] were either curated from Instagram using their hashtag #TeamCP or they were uploaded in reviews” to their product pages.

The result?

Campus Protein’s already impressive product page to checkout conversion rate increased from 20.7% to 26.7%.

Today, the company provides UGC on almost all their product pages. This includes social media posts — which can be expanded to show the full, original content — product reviews, numerical rating, and even Q&A between prospective customers and existing customers.

UGC on product pages helps visitors learn all they need to from your existing customers instead of your own marketing

But that’s not all. They also provide a curated bestsellers list through their personalization partner, Nosto.

This helped Campus Protein see a 50% click-through rate from these bestseller pages to the product pages.

If you’d like to see higher click-throughs to products and better conversions, consider a more integrated approach to UGC throughout your sales funnel.

4. Dr. Axe: Membership Has Its Privileges

What sets Dr. Axe apart from other holistic, naturopathic, and health stores is the sheer amount of helpful information customers (new and existing) can get absolutely free. It’s no wonder he’s considered one of the top health influencers with more than three million social media followers, and one million YouTube subscribers.

Dr. Axe's loyal social media following
With its one-click upsell and “Subscribe & Save” plan, Dr. Axe has seen a 38% higher customer lifetime value.

The way it works is simple: by subscribing to a regularly scheduled and recurring delivery for your product, you get to save 15% on your order, get free shipping on all orders, get twice the rewards on dollars spent, and more.

Dr. Axe’s one-click upsell subscription shows customers how easily they can save by subscribing. It’s a win-win for both the business and the customer because the former receives a 38% higher customer lifetime value, and the latter saves and gets their favorite products replenished regularly without having to think about it.

Customers can easily subscribe on all product pages

5. 310 Nutrition: An Online Community for Support

If there’s one thing we know about changing your eating habits, losing weight, and getting fit — none of it is easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and willpower. And — even with those in place — most people still fail.

What’s the secret ingredient to help people succeed, retain customers, and transform them into brand evangelists?

An international community to support you on the hard days and cheer for you on the good.

Based on this principle, 310 Nutrition has created a robust community for those who use their products. To help you stay accountable, the 310 Community on Facebook offers its members recipes, answers to questions from 310 Nutritionists, and comradery from other members.

They also leverage their community onsite through reviews and success stories as well as throughout top-of-the-funnel user-generated content on social:

Building a social community is important to support your members

6. Edens Garden: Rewarding with Notable Essentials

Essential oils are becoming the talk of the internet, a sweet smelling industry worth an estimated $1 billion. Companies like Edens Garden are taking notice and reaping the rewards … by offering rewards..

A 2017 Accenture report found that loyalty program members generated between 12-18% incremental revenue growth, compared to non-members, worldwide.

Edens Garden’s customers fell into one of two categories: occasional versus frequent buyers. This lead the company to create a two-tiered program to not only reward top buyers, but to incentivize occasional shoppers.

A two-tier loyalty program

The Aroma Notes program is free to join, and the more you engage with Edens Gardens, the more you get noted. Following on social media, signing up for an account, referring friends, and even celebrating your birthday will give you lots and lots of notes to get you off to a great start.

The perks of membership

7. YouFoodz: Putting Their Money Where Their Ballz Are

YouFoodz historically used TV and radio ads to grow their business. Quite successfully, too. However, in the spring of 2017, the food delivery giant decided to try something a little more digital.

To showcase their food catalog video and their new menu offerings, they used Facebook Collection ads for a two-week period. By using the Facebook pixel on their site, they were able to quickly generate custom audiences as well as lookalike audiences to retarget their ads.

The results were an impressive 15.6x ROI, a 16% increase in conversion rate, and a 10% lower cost per acquisition compared to the previous month.

With results like these, it’s no surprise they’ve taken this experience and are using it to put their money where their ballz are … their coconut protein ballz, that is.

YouFoodz is on a mission to donate AU$1 million to Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and the National Breast Cancer Foundation (in Australia) to fund 13,000 hours of research. You could say YouFoodz is going Ballz to the wall on this promo!

It takes ballz to run a fun campaign like this one

8. 100% Pure: Living Up to Their Name in Every Language

100% Pure is not just the name of this ecommerce business, but their mission, their values, their guarantee, and their promise to customers as well.

They have a 100% guarantee (love it or return it for free), and they believe in 100% transparency when it comes to their ingredients and their process. And they are trying to minimize their footprint by running an (almost 100%) sustainable business by using LED lights, 100% solar power, recycle packaging, vegan ingredients, 100% biodegradable formulas, and much more.

The problem was …

100% Pure used to manually prepare their websites before major sales and releases. But since using Launchpad, automation has saved the company 12 hours on average for each campaign, thus eliminating hundreds of hours of work each year. And these time savings translates into healthy growth, 40% YoY.

“The more we automate, the more money we save. Automation is going to play a big role in our future. It’ll allow us to focus on being merchants and growing the business instead of the repetitive tasks that slow us down.” Chris Tran, Engineer at 100% Pure

For businesses ready to start automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, the major lesson here is to have all your systems on the back-end in place first. 100% Pure has dozens of brick-and-mortar locations and ecommerce stores in 12 countries.

This means the business needs to be able to keep real-time tabs on inventory, product information, marketing resources and more in order to fulfill all their customers’ orders.

By using the Shopify API, 100% Pure was able to create a custom tool allowing easy inventory syncing, product information, and everything else with one simple button click. They call it, the Purity Toolbox.

From left to right: 100% Pure’s storefronts in the US, Germany, South Africa, and Australia

What Lessons Can Other Health Ecommerce Businesses Take Away?

When it comes to health and wellness, your customers want to trust your brand more than anything.

That can mean building your know-like-trust with an encyclopedic-style website, being 100% transparent with what you do and how you do it, or empowering your customers to support themselves through your community.

However you choose to service your clientele, one thing is for certain: health and wellness consumers need to be supported with committed and consistent brands.

About the Author

Karine Bengualid is a freelance copywriter (and Sesame Street enthusiast) at Brought to you by the letter K. She writes audience-specific stories to connect brands with their ideal customers. Karine brings her special spice blend (2 cups of research, 1 tbsp of detail, and a dash of chutzpah) to her style of copywriting. When she’s not busy stringing your perfect words together, she’s building her animal rescue, Maison Misha. Connect with Karine on LinkedIn and let her bring your story to life.