Introducing the right ecommerce strategy: Healthspan

Choosing your ecommerce strategy

Introducing the right ecommerce strategy is essential for a streamlined approach that benefits both customers and retailers. Healthspan is a brand that has reinvigorated its ecommerce strategy, using data to understand consumer preferences, tap into trends and create a frictionless online experience for shoppers.

Modern Retail had the pleasure of speaking with Elis Bebb, Change Manager at Healthspan about their journey to finding the right ecommerce strategy.

1. How important is visibility into product demand and how can this shape ecommerce strategy?

Healthspan has used data to understand demand, feeding this into their overall ecommerce strategy. This is then marketed effectively to help customers find the most in-demand products.

“Developing new products is an expensive endeavor. At Healthspan, we wanted to make sure we invested our resources on delivering supplements that met the greatest demand. If customers are looking for something and they’re not getting it from us, then they will get it somewhere else. By monitoring the searches on our ecommerce site we are able to pinpoint which products have the highest demand from our existing customers, and plan our strategy accordingly.

“Once the product is on the site, Coveo enables us to how and where the product appears with ease, enabling a more targeted approach to merchandising our products according to our customer needs.”

2. Which challenges has Healthspan faced and how has the partnership with Coveo helped them to overcome these?

Healthspan decided to partner with Coveo in order to identify the best ways to help customers find the items that they need. Their ecommerce strategy means that they are able to inform and engage consumers throughout their purchase journey, making it as user-friendly as possible.

“Nothing in ecommerce is more lethal than returning a null page. This is especially challenging for a vitamins and supplements company, since customers typically struggle with spelling products such as ‘glucosamine’ off the top of their heads. Our customers are always no more than one click away from our competitor’s site.

“Additionally, we found that customers often were searching for brand-name supplements that were offered by competitors. The business was positioned to lose potential sales through those gaps. Regardless of misspellings, we needed to return the right product in the search results — or guide the shopper with intelligent suggestions. This is especially problematic when customers search for a health condition rather than a product.

“On our previous website, our search results were so poor we resorted to having an A-Z page listing all products in alphabetical order just to enable the customers to find what they needed.

“Healthspan approached these challenges by removing friction from the search bar so people could find relevant products quickly. Using a predictive Query Suggestion model powered by Coveo machine learning, the website is now able to return search results for the correct product even when the product name is misspelled or when there’s a typo.

“We also make smart use of thesaurus rules to automatically identify searches for known competitor products and return comparable products, allowing them to capture more business and make our website a one-stop shop for everything on a customer’s shopping list.

“Today we can ensure relevancy of results with the help of Coveo’s Automatic Relevance Tuning while also easily controlling which products get the spotlight with simple configuration rules. If we’re offering a promotion, we can boost a product up in the results; if we’re experiencing a stock-out, we can drop items lower in the list.

“Finally, Coveo enabled us to enhance our A-Z, now a must for a lot of our customers, by making it easier to navigate and filter. With these changes, 55 per cent of Healthspan’s revenue now comes from ecommerce. With a very strong and loyal customer base, 80 per cent of our visitors end up converting, and interestingly, 75 per cent of customers opt for a seamless guest checkout.”

3. How can retailers create a seamless guest checkout experience?

While it may be one of the final stages of an ecommerce strategy conversion, the checkout experience is essential in helping shoppers to finalise their purchases. This is another area that Healthspan has made as hassle-free and simple as possible.

“We’re fortunate that our checkout frequently converts at a better rate than Amazon, but nothing can remain the same and still be successful. We’re in the process of providing a one-click checkout to our logged-in customers, allowing a swift and seamless experience for them to complete their purchase. For guest checkout, the challenge is providing customers with an easy means of providing as little data as possible and providing them with secure payment options, giving them comfort in completing their purchase. Vitamins and supplements is a business that has an important proportion of older demographic customers, and we need to look at their concerns about providing their personal details, and provide them with the assurance they need to share that data with us. Customer confidence is key.”

4. Why should brands focus on analysing customer searches and how can this boost business?

The way that Healthspan has identified customer searches and integrated this into their ecommerce strategy has allowed them to tap into trends and understand items that shoppers search for most frequently. Using this data is a fantastic method of improving customer experience online.

“Coveo AI has allowed us to better understand the user journey as they shop, allowing us to cater to the customer’s real needs as opposed to our perception, enabling reduced friction in surfacing the products they want. For example, by analyzing customer searches over time, our team was able to identify a growing demand for CBD oil. That trend prompted us to develop a line of hemp-based products and enter the market early. Today, our online store offers 17 varieties of CBD drops, capsules, and cosmetics.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we also noticed a huge demand spike for supplements marketed as immunity boosters, like vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc. We actually ran out of our zinc inventory as we saw a 400 per cent increase in sales in March 2020.

“Following that spike, and the ensuing stock-out, we were able to respond quickly by ‘de‑boosting’ those products so they didn’t appear prominently in product pages and search results. The demand for immunity-boosting supplements attracted younger customers to our website which led our team to realize we had an opportunity to widen our customer base by providing these new customers a stellar experience not only on PC but across mobile devices and tablets.

“New customers (or returning ones) also benefit from relevant articles when they perform a search. This information can really help them to make an informed purchase decision. This is a bonus for us as Coveo is able to handle that seamlessly.

“All of this led to our biggest day of sales in 2021: Black Friday. Despite achieving our biggest single day of sales in the history of our business, our website didn’t just cope with the demand — it excelled at handling it. It’s boring — nobody wants to talk about stability until you don’t have it — but you cannot grow or scale until you have stability.”