Health and wellness brands have some unique requirements for order fulfillment. So, let’s check what factors they need to consider when selecting a 3PL provider.
The consumer market has become more health-conscious over the last few years. The demand and behavior shift towards fitness heightened during the years of the global pandemic that made health and wellness a priority. With more disposable income, millennial consumers spend considerably on health and wellness brands.
According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, in 2022, the global wellness market, which already exceeded $1.5 trillion with a steady annual growth of 5-10%, was up for a boom. It has come to light that younger consumers, who are increasingly aware of the importance of keeping well, spend most on products and services that promise better health.
A bulk of these purchases are online. For example, there is a notable increase in purchasing various vitamin supplements through different online portals and websites. The demand for online vitamin purchases increased 12% faster than the average of all other categories in eCommerce. The U.S. vitamin and supplement manufacturing industry was worth $35.6 billion as of 2022, with the global supplements industry expected togrow at a CAGR of 6.9% between 2021 and 2026.
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With a spike in demand, most health and wellness brands are aiming to expand their portfolio and come up with better products to win customers. Since business experts have already foreseen that this trending hyper-focus on health will continue, you must strengthen your order fulfillment to join this massive growth.
Challenges of Order Fulfillment Exclusive to Health and Wellness
Timely delivery of products, coupled with quality, is a sure-shot winning plan for you. It’s here that choosing the right 3PL plays a significant role because the first step towards success in this category is replacing the competitor on the shelf through fast transportation and specialized stock maintenance and ensuring the best product fulfillment.
Choosing the right 3PL for your health and wellness business can be crucial to your growth. After all, your business can benefit from the best practices that 3PLs offer to integrate with your established supply chain. 3PL providers specialize in different geographic regions. You must analyze the requirements of your established supply chains and your plans for expansion before choosing a 3PL provider to partner with you. Selecting the right logistics partner is a critical process as they can help your brand in price containment, accurate order delivery, and route expansion.
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Also, given how these products can impact consumer lives, health and wellness brands must go through the safety compliances of respective regulatory bodies. Brands must have stringent policies in place as far as adherence to quality is concerned. If you want your health and wellness business to prosper, you must ensure the safe and timely delivery of your products to your consumers. Any error in product delivery might bring down your credibility and affect your business growth. Since customer safety is paramount to your business, you will require a supply chain that diligently follows strict guidelines and policies to ensure order fulfillment in perfect condition.
Order fulfillment of this category of products is crucial and involves some practical challenges, including the following:
Limited Shelf Life. As health supplements and wellness products have a limited shelf life, so to store these products, you must pay attention to adhere to the safety measures outlined by the regulatory bodies in this sector. Hence, it would be best to use warehouses with the required certifications to store your inventory.
Hassles of Expiry and Batch Tracking. Unlike any other product, health and wellness products come with expiry dates. This implies that to ensure the safety of your consumers and to make order delivery a certainty, your business cannot afford to lose track of the expiry dates. An expired product should not reach your customer at any cost. The chances of error are high when your portfolio has multiple products, each with expiration dates. Moreover, this is a category where in case of a product recall, seamless and smooth batch tracking has to be in place to enable you to track products through the supply chain process. The batch tracking process gets complicated when you manage it in-house by employing various vendors and service providers.
Specialized Packaging. Health and wellness product are often photosensitive. In some cases, they are also temperature sensitive. With these constraints in place, these products are often considered fragile fulfillment. You must effectively package these products to ensure they reach the consumers safely, thus making packaging a crucial factor. Right packaging determines safe shipping, protection from in-transit damage, and an enhanced unboxing experience, and all these come together to make specialized packaging a crucial requirement in this category.
Tips for Selecting the Right Health and Wellness 3PL Partner
Now that we have identified some of the challenges of order fulfillment of health and wellness products, here are some useful pointers you must remember when choosing your 3PL provider:
- Look for a 3PL provider that offers superior quality control and stringent adherence to the set guidelines regarding inventory management.
- Your 3PL provider must have a smooth reverse supply chain to manage exceptional situations such as product recalls. You must be able to recover your products from faulty batches if its already shipped to customers. The absence of a powerful system might jeopardize customer health and put your business at risk of legal action.
- The 3PL provider must have a robust system in place for batch tracking since, in the health and wellness sector, an expired product reaching your customers will immediately spoil your credibility. It requires efficient inventory management that leaves no room for error regarding thorough batch tracking. It is a category where every player is ensuring undisrupted health routines for their consumers through express delivery. To compete, you cannot lag. Your 3PL provider must be competent enough to ensure high eCommerce fulfillment.
- The unboxing experience plays a significant role in maximizing customer satisfaction in eCommerce order fulfillment. Your 3PL provider will guide you effectively in this aspect of order delivery, which will help you to establish a strong brand presence in this category. Many expert 3PL providers also include packaging as a part of their service.
- Since the nature of the category compels customers to be recurring buyers of your products, subscription box management is crucial. Your 3PL provider must have an agile supply chain and multiple fulfillment centers to ensure this.
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Only when all these factors are given their due weightage by the 3PL provider that your business stands a fair chance of making it big in this category.
Today there is a major paradigm shift in consumer expectations and behavior regarding health and wellness. Customers, especially millennials and Gen Zs, are extremely serious about fitness and will not think twice about changing a brand if the product condition after delivery is not as per their expectations. So, be careful while selecting your 3PL partner to grow your eCommerce business. After all, your business and brand reputation are at stake.
XPDEL is a leading hi-tech provider of Fulfillment and Logistics Services on a mission to enable growth for eCommerce companies. We are futuristic in our vision and constantly work on creating technology that helps us meet customer expectations for today and tomorrow. We have a wide network of Fulfillment centers that enables us to efficiently handle nationwide delivery in the US – same day, next day, and 2-day delivery. Being closer to the end consumer, we deliver much faster than others.