It’s never too early to think about the holiday rush, says Ashvin Melwani, chief marketing officer at My Obvi, a supplements DTC brand.
“The biggest thing we’re looking at right now is our lead times,” he says. “Last year, they were four weeks out, and this year, it’s tripled to more than 12 weeks. We’re figuring out how to move forward.”
According to research firm Kearney, over the next five years, inefficient supply chains will cause more than half (52%) of all consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to either shrink in size or grow below the market.
Obvi supplements are manufactured in California and shipped to its warehouse in Wisconsin. Both the formula and production of My Obvi products are produced in the U.S., Melwani says.
Not easy to switch manufacturers
My Obvi sells supplements toted to “make you feel younger.” Ingredients include collagen, biotin, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, iron, iron E, among other ingredients. The powder supplement is promoted to support gut health and claims to provide other benefits such as helping customers with their weight loss goals as well as improve skin, hair and nails.
As lead times increase, Melwani says it isn’t as simple as switching manufacturers.
“It’s difficult because we are producing supplements, and it’s not easy to replicate the formula,” he says. “Flavoring has to be perfect because if a customer gets a product that tastes slightly off, it becomes a customer-service nightmare.
“Switching manufacturers late in the game is not easy,” he continues. “So right now, we’re trying to compare what we did last year and see how to move forward.”
Omnichannel helps boost My Obvi revenue
Despite supply chain challenges, Melwani says My Obvi expects to double its revenue through its online channels. Melwani says DTC sales are flat compared with year over year 2021.
“I think we’ll actually end up doubling revenue just from our in-store retail efforts,” Melwani says. Earlier this year, My Obvi started selling its products in the Vitamin Shoppe. The brand also sells at GNC as well as smaller “mom and pop” brick-and-mortar shops, he says.
“We’re trying to almost mimic forecasts based off last year’s data and incorporate the growth we have this year,” Melwani says.
The average order value (AOV) on My Obvi’s website is much higher than in store at about $75. GNC and Vitamin Shoppe sell My Obvi’s best-selling items in-store and online.
My Obvi wants customers to be able to add beyond its bestsellers to their carts, so Melwani says the goal is always to drive customers to the DTC website, through frequent promotions and a rewards-points loyalty program. Melwani says conversion is higher compared with third-party sellers or a marketplace like Amazon. He did not disclose My Obvi’s conversion rates.
Attribution in a post-iOS world
Apple’s iOS changes allowed people to opt out of tracking when browsing online.
“We were doing pretty well before the iOS changes,” he says. “Our average cost for acquisition (CPAs) was around $30,” he says. “After the iOS update, we quite literally hit a peak of $93 to acquire a customer. That wasn’t sustainable.”
Cost per acquisition refers to the fee a retailer pays for an advertisement that results in a sale.
My Obvi reassessed how to move forward.
“We’re testing more creative content than we’ve ever tested in the entirety of our business,” Melwani says. “We’re testing 30 to 40 pieces a week, with multiple offers and ads on landing pages to find that winning combination again.”
Creative content includes everything from its landing-page designs, offer pop-ups and other advertising content.
To see what works and what doesn’t, My Obvi invested in Triple Whale ecommerce software that allows Shopify retailers to track ads and how they perform on different platforms. The cost varies depending on factors like traffic and revenue volume. My Obvi spends anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million per month on its overall advertising. Triple Whale costs the retailer about $2,000 per month.
“That $2,000 per month for Triple Whale is really a drop in the bucket when it comes to our overall budget,” Melwani says. “And it gives us peace of mind. You can’t trust what these social platforms [like Facebook] are telling you. It’s good to separately reassess.”
In practice, Melwani says My Obvi learned that while Facebook was telling him ads were giving a 5x return, Triple Whale refuted that data. Triple Whale also allows Melwani to see how it’s faring on different social platforms like TikTok.
“I’m not saying you live and die by third-party tools, but it helps validate what’s actually happening in the ad platform,” Melwani says. “We realized that our blended costs looked good, and I am able to make adjustments where necessary.”
TikTok outreach to consumers
TikTok has proven to be a worthwhile venture for My Obvi, Melwani says.
“We’re still figuring things out on TikTok, but it’s there in people’s hands,” he says. “They’re opening up their phones and wanting to be entertained. They want to consume content, whereas on Facebook, it’s more about scrolling or you’re part of a few groups, and you’re looking at news. It’s not as engaging.”
TikTok is another opportunity to reach customers, he says.
“People go onto TikTok to watch videos. We want to catch them in a moment where they’re willing to go away from watching videos to check out our website,” he says. “They might check it out, but they’re in a mood to consume content and might get back to it later.
“Maybe they search for our brand and there’s a level of discovery, and right now it’s not easy to track if they found us on TikTok and later searched for us on Safari or ended up coming back through Google,” he continues. “Over time, we expect better attribution tracking with TikTok, but it’s still a volatile platform.”
Melwani says it’s important to keep in mind that people looking up recipes might happen to come across their powdered supplements, which can work well into a smoothie-type recipe.
“There might be content about how someone lost 10 lbs. in 30 days using our protein,” he says. “You’re not just trying to attract your audience. You want to sell. Make a story out of it. You can’t just say, ‘Buy this.’ Nobody wants to watch that.”
My Obvi reaches out to content creators or micro-influencers after reviewing that person’s content.
“We offer to send them some of our supplements to try, no strings attached,” he says. “If they end up posting, it’s because they actually like the product and you can tell in the videos. We don’t want someone to just push the product.”
My Obvi on Amazon
Amazon helps My Obvi get in front of customers, Melwani says. This year, My Obvi offered a Prime Day deal on its Super Collagen Protein Powder.
“Prime Day is like another version of Black Friday,” he says. “We obviously want to play into that promo where the traffic and visibility is much higher. Why not?”
Melwani says Amazon Prime Days give a boost in rankings and reviews.
“We send out a promotion to our customers and let them know there is Prime Day two-day shipping and a certain percentage off,” he says. “We let them know it’s time to stock up and include keywords and URLs where we can rank a little bit better with certain keywords.”
He says more orders translate into more reviews, which, if positive, help give the brand a boost on Amazon. Meanwhile, on its DTC website, Melwani says My Obvi offers customers rewards points. This year, customers are able to show My Obvi their Amazon receipt and earn two- to three-times more rewards points on MyObvi.com.
“That way, customers that are diehard fans but wanted to take advantage of the promo, we let them know they’ll be rewarded,” he says. “And we also ask that they provide a review.”
Amazon Prime Days TikTok strategy
This year, My Obvi supported its Amazon Prime Day Deals with marketing solely from TikTok, Melwani says. Last year, without any marketing toward Amazon, My Obvi nearly doubled its daily sales average during that period.
“This year on day one, our sales quadrupled,” he says.
During day two, “we had another trick up our sleeve,” he says. My Obvi launched a surprise product exclusively on Amazon and shared it with the brand’s Facebook community, which has more than 50,000 members.
“Because it’s a new product launch, ranking on Amazon is quite difficult initially,” he says. Melwani says by emailing and texting My Obvi’s customer base and alerting its Facebook community, resulted in six times the daily average sales on Amazon.
Selling giftable supplements during the holidays
My Obvi plans to use social media to help it bolster holiday sales this year, Melwani says. He anticipates customers being a bit more careful with their spending this year.
“I would like to think that we’re a little bit recession-proof being a health and wellness product,” he says.
Melwani expects to lose retention and recurring revenue during November as people start their holiday shopping.
“But we’ll still run offers on a daily basis,” he says.
My Obvi plans to get shoppers excited for its Black Friday deals as well as offer giftable bundles and accompanying free gifts with purchase. It also plans to appeal to its loyal customers already interested in My Obvi by reaching out to groups like its Facebook community.
“We want to hype up new product lines or flavor expansions,” he says.
The retailer plans to offer free samples to that community so they can post online and share the new products.
“I want to avoid the fatigue that hits consumers by Black Friday and instead bring back some of that excitement about a sale launching at 12 a.m.,” Melwani says.
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