Today the online shopping journey starts with consumers turning to Google, Amazon and their social media feeds to research products but just a few years ago, health conscious consumers were limited to reading the back of labels in brick-and-mortar stores to check product ingredients.
Gemma Andrews, co-founder of Superfood Market, was one such consumer. After a busy week in her full time role as Community and Content Manager with the Department of Business, Gemma would unwind by baking and sharing her latest recipes with her online community through her popular blog and social media channels.
As well as gaining feedback and engagement from a like minded community of consumers seeking natural alternatives to daily essentials, Gemma quickly realised that many of her followers struggled to source products.
“Any time I’d post a recipe, I’d get a flood of questions about where to buy natural products online,” says Gemma. “There were specialist stores concentrated around cities in the South East of the UK which not everyone could reach, and online the options were limited.”
The problem: Meeting growing demand for natural products online.
Spotting an opportunity, Gemma began sourcing products herself and selling to her community through eBay, but struggled to scale as demand grew as order fulfillment was a manual process managed by Gemma in her spare time.
The solution: Scaling to a viable ecommerce business through technology.
While attending an ecommerce trade show in Birmingham, Gemma met with the Linnworks team who set her up with an account to help her process orders.
“That was a pivotal moment,” says Gemma. “Looking back, that moment was the fork in the road where I decided to chase my dream. Supported every step of the way by my then-fiance, now husband Mark who had been helping me to manually fulfill orders from my blog, I took the plunge and left my steady employment to set up Superfoods Market as an online store for natural products.”
With first hand experience of the effort shoppers were going to in order to research and source suitable natural products, Gemma’s goal was for Superfoods Market to make healthy living affordable, convenient and accessible to everyone.
In order to make product discovery more convenient, shoppers create a profile on the site where they can define their dietary requirements, which enables them to quickly find products that meet their needs. Starting with gluten-free and vegan products, Gemma expanded the range to nut-free, organic and fair trade ranges.
What’s next: Hitting 2.5 million orders.
Within the first year of selling online, Superfoods market had turned over £4 million, which served as a proof of concept, growing steadily to £15 million in 2019 and outgrowing warehouse space each year alongside. Superfoods market is due to hit 2.5 million orders processed through Linnworks and will soon move to a 38,000 square foot facility to manage increased capacity and accommodate a growing warehouse team.
Throughout Superfoods Market growth, Gemma has stayed close to the needs of her community and is still a passionate advocate for natural living through the brand and her personal social media channels.