Grocery retailers can find a lot of sales — $37 billion — in the rapidly growing category of dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, sports and nutrition, and other specialty products). Today mainstream retailers sell less than a third of the category, according to Eric Pierce, Director of Strategy and Insights for New Hope Media 360. The opportunity gap is glaring, but what do grocers need to do to win a greater share of the business?

Learn from the best customers

“So, who are the best supplement customers and what can learn from them?” Bill Bishop asked in the SuperMarket News piece Supplements: Big growth opportunities for grocery retailers. “New shopper research presented by Eric Pierce at Expo East 2015 shows that these customers have some very interesting and important attitudes that are pivotal for better serving them.”

• “First, they take a personal responsibility for their health and have an intuitive relationship with food. These customers look at supplements as a way to enhance their nutrition and put a lot of emphasis on first-hand experience.”

• “Second, they believe that certain types of supplements offer solutions that modern medicine can’t. These customers see that dietary supplements provide protective health that complements food. They also sometimes see supplements as an alternative to medicine.”

Drive more sales both in-store and online

“In a recent industry session, Pierce offered merchandising suggestions that involved the supplements section, integrating key products strategically across the store, and solution selling,” Bishop wrote. You can encourage your advertisers to employ these tactics as well.

1. Highlight the role of supplements in augmenting a healthy diet by visually pairing them with whole, fresh foods in produce and dairy.

2. Draw attention to well-recognized benefits in seasonal messaging. For instance, promote the benefits of Vitamin D as part of the seasonal merchandise for cold and flu remedies.

3. Identify supplements by health benefit or condition to make it easier to connect with shopper needs.

4. Use digital marketing to make it easier and more enjoyable for customers to research, learn about, and possibly experiment with supplements based on the experience and expertise of others.

5. Connect the potential opportunities to save on supplements with helping customers achieve an affordable healthy and balanced diet.

Reach out to your grocers to see if they’ll emphasize their supplement offerings in ads with you. You can give them detailed profiles on this audience because AudienceSCAN research reveals that 31.8% of consumers intend to buy vitamins/nutritional supplements in the next 12 months. Think about approaching your warehouses too, because these shoppers are 51% more likely than average to shop at warehouse/discount shopping clubs. Ads/Coupons in their mailboxes can be effective in reaching these shoppers because 41.7% took action after getting them in the past month. Also try some email campaigns – 31.4% took action based on them in the past 30 days too.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.