A recent visit to Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA, revealed that the industry is seeing nonstop growth. This is great news for food merchants in the natural and specialty food category. Overall growth means that those who love to create innovative food will mostly likely find ready demand.
Barriers to entering the space have diminished with the prevalence of rentable commercial kitchens in most cities, and access to fresh superfood ingredients has increased the ability to express creativity through new and unique products.
With over 3,000 vendors at Expo West March 2016, it’s clear that those with great ideas feel great comfort in launching a food venture and reaching a marketplace that recognizes added value in artisanal food over the typical mainstream packaged goods from the giant companies.
As the new food entrepreneurs build amazing companies around the natural food trend and see their businesses take off, there are three keys to watch which signal expansion, keys which investors at Expo West outlined and monitor as well.
Increasing Sales Velocity: accelerating growth
When most businesses start out, sales can be erratic for a while. One sale here, another the week after. If the product has tested well outside of friends and family and generated interest within your price point -- even preorders -- you're off to a good start. With the right amount of dedication, persistence and repeated exposure, sales will begin growing at a faster rate -- this is a key indicator of success and one that investors are keen to see.
Attractive Gross Margin: making money
Many businesses operate at a loss in the beginning due to the investment required to initiate activities. However, losses can eventually be replaced with gains if the product has a healthy profit margin. Positive profit margins can be used internally to fuel expansion and create wealth for the company. When product development is done to ensure that a healthy profit margin exists based on competitive pricing for the product, then those profits produce a solid foundation from which to expand.
Scalable BranD: enduring positioning
Often, the most valuable part of a company is the brand. A solid brand helps position a product early in the consumers' mind and gives it a life of its own. When creating a brand, it should have the flexibility to grow with the company. A brand that is too narrow may limit the company’s ability to adjust to changing consumer preferences and outdate the product before its time. Further, as a business’s customer base expands, the message needs to appeal to a wider audience - a brand that can’t scale may have trouble doing that. A well crafted brand and brand message indicates a company is ready to expand and scale without restraints.
Small businesses are discovering Treatmo's sales platform and using it as a new channel to generate orders and awareness. When used in the conversation with clients and customers to indicate a mobile option for paying anytime card and cash free, Treatmo is empowering.
Through Treatmo like-minded natural products companies facilitate:
- Product discovery -- intelligent search and helpful detail
- Easy payment -- simple checkout encouraging repeat orders for shipping or payment in location
- Confidence -- transparent business and product details as well as social proof/trust through the sharing of purchases made by friends in the app
- Loyalty -- optional point system to trigger gifts to the customer.
Treatmo enables frictionless selling which can increase the speed of sales. With more businesses going mobile to offer a sales solution and satisfy the customer demand and interest in paying by mobile, merchants prepare their business for the new consumerism. Because Treatmo is easy to join with low fees, it doesn’t eat away at the profit margins either.
Lastly, Treatmo helps build brand within the mobile selling space, indicate merchant features to share offerings and distinguishing characteristics, promote visibility through streaming purchases made by customers.
The expanding natural foods marketplace has created amazing opportunities for food startups and Treatmo makes reaching that market and scaling your new venture possible with its efficient and agile mobile selling and payments platform. Soon investors will be able to look at the Treatmo newsfeed to get insight into the next big food trend.
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