With the health and wellness industry valued at over $1.5 trillion, there’s never been a more pivotal time to promote your herbal supplements business online. Even though it’s a promising avenue, embarking on it means being vigilant about how you produce, license, and market your products.
We’re here to help you get started on the right foot. Let’s dive into how to sell your supplements online by discussing three key areas: FDA guidelines, certifications, and marketing.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Guidelines
Manufacturers and distributors do not need a license nor do they need FDA approval to sell dietary supplements. This means the FDA does not review supplement businesses and their products prior to sale.
The exception to this rule is when a business sells a product that contains a new dietary ingredient not marketed in the U.S. In this circumstance, the company must notify the FDA 75 days prior to selling their product online or in stores.
Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994
Even though you don’t need FDA approval to establish your business, once your product enters the marketplace, the FDA holds monitoring responsibilities. In other words, they have the right to regulate your supplements that are for sale.
This means you need to ensure your business has procedures in place that proactively safeguard the quality of its products. A good resource to look into is the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. It outlines the FDA’s rules and regulations for dietary supplement products and ingredients.
Here’s a snippet:
- Your products cannot have any claims stating that a supplement will heal, cure, or aid an ailment.
- Your labels must list all dietary ingredients along with their nutritional facts. The FDA has separate guidelines on supplement labeling that must also be followed.
- If you want to add a new dietary ingredient to your product, you need the FDA’s approval.
Certifications from authoritative agencies can help you build credibility and prove the safety and efficacy of your products.
Here are a few certifications that are worth pursuing:
- Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP): This is a set of guidelines established by the FDA that ensures all products are made and controlled per quality standards. Receiving CGMP certification involves setting up an FDA audit.
- Organic and Kosher label: Depending on your brand and the type of products your business provides, it may be worth receiving organic and/or kosher labels. These can further bolster the credibility of your products.
Learning how to sell supplements online the right way involves understanding how to strategically market your products. Online product marketing requires keeping two key areas in mind—the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Google’s search quality ratings.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
According to the FDA, “dietary supplement advertising…falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission.” One of the main goals of the FTC is to protect consumers from misleading product information.
The reality is, not all products can live up to the high hopes some advertisements convey. For example, you can’t guarantee supplements will help people lose weight or mitigate their illness. Therefore, it’s important to avoid providing misleading information and veer away from making any health claims.
Supplements must be marketed with the disclaimer: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
To give your online supplements business the best shot at success, you need to ensure your website is rich in credibility. In other words, it should possess expertise, authority, and trust (E.A.T.).
Google—which owns over 92 percent of search engine market share—carries a set of search guidelines to assess the quality of your site among your competitors. The more you beat out your competitors on quality the more your site will show up for relevant searches made by your target audience.
Here’s a quick breakdown of Google’s E.A.T. standards:
- Expertise: Your site offers expert and detailed knowledge that helps answer the users’ questions.
- Authority: The information provided on your site carries credible information backed by authoritative sources. Authoritative sites also link to your site (i.e. backlinks).
- Trust: Your site provides accurate information that solves the pain points of your target audience.
In this digital age, capturing prime real estate on the search engine is pivotal to your success. So be sure to incorporate E.A.T. for your all-natural products site.
Rely on a Reputable Contract Manufacturer
To be sure, selling health supplements online by yourself is a pretty big endeavor. With the numerous regulations and business strategies to plan for and execute, starting your own supplement business can be a large undertaking.
Don’t be discouraged, though. There are, in fact, reputable supplement contract manufacturers who can mitigate the burden of risk and reliability involved in manufacturing. The right contractor will offer private labels, so you can easily add botanical products to your product line. Be sure to look into botanical contract manufacturers to give your company the viability it deserves.