Is Amazon Taking Over The Supplement Industry?


There seems to be no industry Amazon will leave untouched. Their e-commerce model has changed shopping forever like, arguably, no other company ever has. This segment of their business has gotten so big they’re directly impacting retail store sales worldwide and forcing companies to reevaluate their strategy also. They’ve worked hard and long to offer services for everyone; brands, retailers and consumers alike. They have ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ for companies that do not want to deal with storage and shipping of their own goods. The ‘Prime’ membership estimates that the number of Amazon Prime memberships in the U.S. jumped 35% last year to 54 million. As the company continues to expand and make life easier for the retail industry, things will get increasingly difficult for competitors to keep pace.

Now there’s a new Amazon initiative on the block. Amazon Elements first debuted in 2014 focusing only on baby products, but was relaunched recently as a line of supplements and vitamins. They have started small, only releasing a few products including Vitamin D2, Turmeric Root Extract, Calcium Complex, and Vitamin K2. Many industry insiders are wondering why they went this route, but but many retail experts believe it’s a time-sensitive strategy in the wake of turmoil at supplement and vitamin industry leader GNC. As reported by Retail Dive, “GNC is going through a major rebrand in an effort to fight off struggles due to confusing pricing and merchandising” which has left a huge hole in the market that Amazon is clearly trying to fill.



Their roll out of ‘Fulfillment By Amazon’ left something to be desired and allowed FedEx to open up a competing fulfillment program. So it seems they’ve been a bit more careful with this one. The products will be available to Prime members, which makes the $99 membership fee worth it to many. Amazon Elements is also being incredibly transparent regarding the ingredients in their supplements and vitamins. This is in response to the 2016 FDA announcement that major retailers like GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart were selling “dietary supplements that do not contain the herbs specified on their labels” and have had to pull certain items off the shelves and make good on their ingredient-list moving forward.

There’s much to applaud when looking at this kind of strategic expansion from a distance. But what about if you’re a health and wellness brand? There are certainly pros and cons to the mega-retailers move.

There is a lot to be learned from the decision, and the industry standards will certainly raise – a good thing if you’ve got a well-thought out brand. On the flip side, Amazon has the infrastructure, the reach, the budget, and the ‘go get ‘em’ mindset to outpace some competitors. What companies can do is focus on having quality, craft-made products and a more diversified product line in order to become the first choice of health and wellness consumers.