Why Nutravita is taking a mixed marketplace approach

Vitamin supplement company Nutravita has grown its business primarily via Amazon for the past six years, but although the platform has allowed it to scale up quickly, it is now focusing on new channels as part of its next phase of expansion.

Teja Adavi, head of sales and marketplace at Nutravita, says there has been an increase in demand for its products during the pandemic as people became more health conscious. "Covid has shown the importance of being in as many channels as possible to reach more customers," he tells Essential Retail.

He says the company is looking to showcase its range on other big marketplaces such as eBay, as well as on smaller up-and-coming ones, while also intending to grow its own eCommerce platform.

"Our website has been growing. We did start off just on Amazon, but as we gained traction we built out the website - rather than the site coming first. Now we want to make it more of a focus, as it gives us a greater level of control over our brand and we can have deeper conversations with customers."

He notes that every channel has its advantages and limitations. "You do play by Amazon's rules and it acts as an intermediary between you and the customer. Amazon controls the data as well and that is a very important piece for companies, as it helps them understand their customers better. When you are selling on Amazon you're going via them, at the end of the day they are Amazon's customers."

Image credit: Nutravita
Image credit: Nutravita

Data ownership

Rupert Staines, co-founder at marketplace specialist Maze-one, agrees it is crucial companies get the mix of channels right. He likens platforms such as Amazon to the "highways" of eCommerce "you use it to get somewhere faster...  And more importantly they are tolled motorways," he adds. "They are the best and fastest at logistics and will ensure everything they do is for their customers."

However, Adavi believes Amazon has made "great strides" in opening up more data. "They are not there yet, but there have been improvements in terms of the tools and facilities they are offering for brands. There are some up-and-coming brand analytics tools that are slowly giving us more information to understand Amazon customers better."

A technology ecosystem is slowing building around the platform to help companies maximise sales and data. Nutravita is in talks with technology company Nozzle, which specialises in scalable advertising on Amazon, using API-integration. However, as Staines notes, beyond Nozzle and a few others, there still aren't many technologies designed specifically to help brands as "this is a nascent area," he says.

Meeting customer demand and managing the supply chain over the last few months has been "challenging" says Adavi. But he says the company has "ambitious growth plans" over the next 12-18 months.
 
"We're looking at several ranges outside of core supplements and vitamins as well as new lines in that space. And we're also looking at international expansion - outside of Europe. The last piece is omnichannel... we want to have as many sales channels as possible to mitigate risk as much as possible."