How to Reach Health-Conscious Shoppers Online
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
When it comes to communicating your health and nutrition services to consumers online, it’s crucial that they can find products and programs that integrate with their daily needs and routine activities. To gain trust as a wellness resource and reach your target customers effectively you need to understand the following about your audience:
The Age Group – Health-conscious consumers are becoming younger, based on recent studies. Gen Z or those nearing the age of 20 have real concerns about their health and that of their elderly relatives. Many of them express worries about parents, grandparents, or older friends and want to take action to help themselves and others reach and maintain well-being. Ensure the health services you offer to older generations are also sold to younger family members, especially those between the ages of 18 to 30.
Online Behavior – It’s important to know where your customers spend their time online. For example, if you are promoting plant-forward products, recipes and meals, you need to be aware of the social sites or blogs that vegetarians and flexitarians follow. Are they looking for quick meal solutions for their busy schedules? What are their main food needs – breakfast, snacks, dinner? Use the right social sites to promote your website, programs, and products. Look for specific influencers your customers frequently use and review their information to help direct your communication.
Just the Facts - Many health-conscious shoppers want to confirm their health beliefs and behaviors are based on research and they do their homework. They are wary of pseudo health claims so make sure your retailer knows that your science-based focus on realistic nutrition topics such as digestive health or weight management helps drive trust and loyalty. Partner with CPG companies, like PepsiCo and others who are focusing their marketing dollars on expanding their better-for-you product portfolio. Millennials and Gen Z consumers are providing a big opportunity for high sales of these health-related products and wellness services both online and in store.
Personalize Wellness Tools – As you work to personalize the online shopping experience for your customers, consider the key wellness topics of interest, such as weight management, and offer unique tools to effectively assist these shoppers. According to a study recently published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health suggested three tools that could effectively reach these shoppers: A “healthy shopping” preference setting, a healthy meal planning tool, and a calculator that tallies up the nutritional quality of their shopping carts. Effective tools should help online shoppers discover new products and those items most relevant to their needs. For instance, Shipt's new feature allows shoppers to sort products according to dietary labels like low sodium and vegetarian, and save their preferences under a profile. This can be done for a variety of wellness issues including heart health, diabetes and food allergies.
Supermarkets offer thousands of product options to shoppers and by helping shoppers zero in on those items that meet their needs, your stores will gain loyalty and reorder sales. As consumers continue to seek ways to eat healthier post pandemic, this is an opportune time to simplify the process and capitalize on their interest in healthy eating.