At the nutritional supplement retailer Nutrishop, a focus on growth comes as the pandemic upends the ways consumers consider health and nutrition.
I recently asked Nutrishop CEO Bryon McLendon to tell us how he and his team navigate these challenges.
Paul Talbot: What are the key planks in your marketing strategy?
Bryon McLendon: We aim to connect with customers and potential franchise owners. Our customer engagement runs through three major channels; in-store experience, digital outreach and word of mouth.
Our customers are simply anyone who wants to look and/or feel better. We reach them through search engine optimization, digital ads, emails and text messages. We also work with sponsored athletes, social media influencers, brand ambassadors and affiliate marketing.
But our customers are our biggest asset. When they see results, they tell their friends and their friends come to us.
We also engage with potential franchise owners through our new franchise website and billboards. We work to create awareness and interest in opening a Nutrishop.
Our key message is that it’s a great opportunity to become your own boss and build your career while helping others get in great shape.
Talbot: What noteworthy changes to your marketing strategy have been made since the arrival of the pandemic last year?
McLendon: Our franchisees set up home delivery and curbside pickup so people could still get the supplements they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially crucial last year. We also quickly mobilized to ramp up e-commerce for our corporate website and individual stores with online shopping and shipping options.
In addition to adjusting our strategy for sales, we adapted our approach to marketing content. We provided customers with more information including special edition email newsletters filled with health and safety tips. Our franchisees were more active on social media to provide helpful nutrition and fitness insights.
Talbot: You compete in a crowded field. What do you do to differentiate Nutrishop?
McLendon: In addition to our guaranteed low prices and cutting-edge exclusive products, we also offer a completely unique experience to the consumer. When customers come into our stores, we do more than focus on selling products. We’re looking at the big picture – your sleep, your diet, your activity level and more.
In our stores, we guide customers using a body composition analysis machine, which we offer free of charge. This gives us important data, like body fat percentage and lean muscle mass, to start with when building a customized nutrition plan.
Talbot: When you look at how your online platform co-exists with brick-and-mortar locations, what is working well and what would you like to improve?
McLendon: Sometimes, with businesses that run on a franchise model, the franchisor somewhat competes against the franchisee for a sale, as crazy as that sounds. At Nutrishop we’ve solved that problem.
Our customers can shop in-store or online and get a seamless experience that also supports our franchisees. We invested in a sophisticated back-end system that tracks all of this to ensure the franchisees are not losing sales to NutrishopUSA.com.
One area we are looking to improve is expanding our market reach. We have stores in 23 states and we are aggressively seeking to grow nationwide. We also recently partnered with 24 Hour Fitness to place Nutrishop Pro Shops inside strategic club locations across the United States.
Talbot: One common observation we hear is that the pandemic accelerated the execution of online sales capabilities by three years. Does this hold true with Nutrishop?
McLendon: We definitely saw a spike in online sales, but our physical locations remained open because we are considered an essential business. One notable difference is that we sold more wellness products than pre-workout supplements because some people weren’t going to the gym due to temporary closures.
We did accelerate our e-commerce functionality, but our in-store sales stayed strong.
Talbot: What do you do to retain a customer and grow lifetime value once the customer has been acquired?
McLendon: Nutrishop is all about relationships, and a relationship grows with trust.
We earn that trust by pointing a customer in the right direction and collaborating with them to achieve their goals. That’s how these relationships continue to grow.
Talbot: Any other insights on your marketing strategy you’d like to share?
McLendon: Our marketing strategy centers on communication and caring for our customers and our franchise owners. We provide the best experience possible, one that focuses on reliable and cutting-edge health and fitness information and products.