The Commodity Myth for Nutritional Supplements


Shattering the nutritional supplement commodity myth secures the sale and educates customers for better health.

In the nutritional supplement world, The Commodity Myth is when consumers say that “all  supplements are the same.” When supplements are commoditized in consumers’ minds, dollar-store brands and bargain Amazon listings reign supreme.

Many El-Cheapo nutritional supplement brands are commoditized to a lowest common denominator.

You know the brands I am talking about. There is a certain economy class nutritional supplement that ranges from toxic to adequate. They are most often found at rock-bottom prices in locations like:

  • Drug Stores – Generic brands that offer bare-bones basic supplements
  • Dollar Stores – Probably the worst option due to low supplement quality and FDA safety risk warnings regarding bad foreign manufacturers
  • Amazon – Consumers who believe the Commodity Myth will sort by price and buy the cheapest supplements
  • Membership Warehouse Stores – The combination of bulk purchasing and generic ingredients makes for irresistibly cheap supplement for budget-conscious consumers

Now, not all supplements in the aforementioned outlets are crappy quality.

Bargains can be had, and health can be supported without breaking the bank. That is, if a customer is lucky or informed enough to pick a winner against difficult odds.

But quality supplement brands are something altogether different. They may cost more, but the extra expense is justified. Consumers will pay more for supplement cleanliness, bioavailability, safety and overall effectiveness.

The truest supplement forms (those that respect and realize nutrition’s potential to optimize health) cannot be commodified. Instead, they offer unique properties that create unique sales propositions.

When Vitamin World needed to train its sales force on the Nutritional Supplement Commodity Myth, they called the Natural Health Writer.

In tandem with nutritional supplement industry Marketing Genius Gerard McIntee, I created the following Commodity Myth training piece. It was subsequently published in Vitamin World’s Healthy Sales in-house newsletter:

The Commodity Myth, as it appeared in the Healthy Sales newsletter for Vitamin World store associates

Education is always the secret to supplement sales success.

In this case, the commodity education can completely change a customer’s supplement buying habits — compelling them to shop for the most effective supplement, and not just the cheapest.

With Vitamin World, shattering The Commodity Myth was a slam dunk because they had the right products to back up the claim.

Standardization, cleanliness, branded ingredients, sophisticated stacking strategies… there are many ways for supplements to rise above the commodity crowd.

The Natural Health Writer is here to help you find those sexy supplement features and benefits that set you apart from other products. You may have unique features and benefits that you have not even identified and tapped yet.

The Lesson

The Commodity Myth is an intriguing frame for a common challenge in supplement sales: product differentiation.

The Natural Health Writer‘s magazine spread-style sales training piece proved a successful tool in educating associates on how to educate customers about The Commodity Myth — ultimately selling more nutritional supplements at a higher price, while meeting customer demands for cleaner, healthier and more reliable formulas that work.

As my one-time mentor, Nutritional Health Alliance founder and supplement industry legend Gerald Kessler used to say, “Don’t bargain with your health.”





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