As the eCommerce arena picks up steam, some retailers are still in the midst of making the transition.
One of the latest companies to pull eCommerce into focus is Vitamin Shoppe. Now although the supplement company’s direct sales decreased four percent in Q4, its overall direct sales for the year saw a slight uptick of 0.9 percent from $128.8 million in 2015 to $130 million in 2016.
The likely culprit of Vitamin Shoppe’s stagnant yet stable condition of its direct sales is because of two changes in 2016. Within the past year, the company decided to move away from selling its products on third-party marketplaces, and it overhauled its website to accommodate mobile shoppers. With online orders being picked up in store accounting for nearly 8 percent of the company's online transaction, it’s no wonder Vitamin Shoppe made the move to make navigating its website via mobile more streamlined.
Vitamin Shoppe’s CEO, Colin Watts, discussed the company’s website November relaunch and its impact. He said, “In addition to comp growth of 7 percent for the quarter, our overall visits to the site increased by 9 percent, and conversion improved by 14 percent, driven by mobile conversions, which improved by 34 percent,” Watts said. “We are very pleased by the early and positive results we’ve seen since the relaunch.”
The real test of time for Vitamin Shoppe will come after 2017’s direct sales and website traffic can be better analyzed. The hope is that the company’s investment in eCommerce optimization will pay off within the next year.
The strategy of more traditional businesses over the past few years has been to make the move to embrace the online arena and test out ways to successfully carry it out. As more companies make the transition to better serve the eCommerce community, it’s likely that we’ll see a similar pattern of direct sales staying afloat rather than skyrocketing in a short period of time.