Food & Beverage
How Z Natural Foods and Lean Factor optimized their Amazon sales with Magento Commerce
Growing pains: A thriving business needed to streamline eCommerce operations
A health-conscious consumer who searches for superfoods or organic protein powder on Amazon will likely land in the Marketplace storefront of Z Natural Foods or Lean Factor. The Florida-based sister companies sell premium organic, all-natural health food products and nutritional supplements through Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, as well as through their own websites: www.ZNaturalFoods.com and www.LeanFactor.com.
For a small company, running a multichannel e-commerce operation serving B2C and B2B customers can be a challenge. Wholesale and B2B orders account for about half of Z Natural Foods’ sales, but their existing PrestaShop e-commerce site couldn’t keep up with demand. “If someone put in a large order, it would fail,” said Jonathan Parker, Director at Z Natural Foods.
The disparate sales data that resulted from managing e-commerce transactions on separate platforms also made it hard to access consolidated metrics. It took a lot of work to holistically measure and manage inventory as well as the impact and effectiveness of campaigns across the various channels. All in all, said Parker, “It was a real hassle.”
The Amazon Marketplace channel presented some specific challenges. The marketing team had to enter the data for each Amazon listing into a 160-column spreadsheet and manage all aspects of their Amazon sales separately from their own e-commerce website. “Amazon wants you to do everything directly in your Amazon account,” said Parker. “It’s like having to run and manage two websites.”
The fact that Amazon Sales Channel pulls all our Amazon orders into our Magento account really simplifies management. I’d estimate it eliminates 60 to 70 percent of the work that previously had to be done in the Amazon account.Jonathan Parker
Director, Z Natural Foods
Reducing manual work to grow ROI across B2C and B2B
In 2018, Z Natural Foods decided to migrate their online store to Magento Commerce because they needed a more robust, reliable, and scalable platform. The B2B capabilities in Magento Commerce were an important factor in the decision. Other key capabilities on their wishlist included order subscriptions — since the company relies heavily on repeat business — as well as automated shipping and integration with Amazon.
When Z Natural Foods migrated their store to Magento Commerce, they quickly began using its robust features to improve processes and access to information throughout the sales cycle. But the opportunity to be one of the first to integrate the new Amazon Sales Channel extension, which Adobe released in the spring of 2019, has quickly proven to be a game changer. “The fact that Amazon Sales Channel pulls all our Amazon orders into our Magento account really saves time and simplifies management,” said Parker. “I’d estimate it eliminates 60 to 70 percent of the work that previously had to be done in the Amazon account.”
Z Natural Foods lists about 100 of its 350 products on Amazon, which is the company’s second most successful channel based on sales volume. But traditionally, it was a difficult channel to manage. The high demands on employee’s time was eroding the ROI of selling on Amazon. “Seller Central was difficult to set up, learn, and, most importantly, extend,” said Parker. “When you have 30 to 50 products you want to input, and you have to do it all via an Excel spreadsheet with 160 columns of data points that need to be entered, it’s like building an entire shopping cart into a spreadsheet. It’s a lot of work.”
Since adopting the Amazon Sales Channel extension in Magento Commerce, Z Natural Foods is able to automatically push their product catalogs to the Amazon marketplace directly from their Magento Commerce store — no massive spreadsheets required. This means that instead of spending time on manual data entry, the marketing team can more quickly get products in front of eager buyers.
Building on efficiencies with Amazon Sales Channel Extension
Launching the Amazon Sales Channel extension has also unleashed other important efficiency gains. Inventory management with Finale, for example, reduces frustrating “out of stock” experiences by enabling accurate real-time stock updates that take into account in-flight orders from all sales channels. Meanwhile ShipStation, helps speed and streamline fulfillment by automating shipping label printing and address corrections. Minimizing the manual work of fulfilling ongoing subscriptions has also proven key for Z Natural Foods, which relies on steady repeat business for products such as its Organic Coconut Milk Powder and Organic Vegan Protein Powders. The Amazon Sales Channel extension works seamlessly with both tools. For example, if the Z Natural Foods team makes an inventory change in Finale, it flows through to Amazon via Magento Commerce.
In addition to selling their own healthy lifestyle products under the Z Natural Foods brand name, their sister company also sells high-end vitamin and herbal supplements under the LeanFactor.com brand. These too, are sold via multiple channels including a dedicated website and Amazon Marketplace store. Building on the successful integration of ZNaturalFoods.com and the Z Natural Foods Amazon store in Magento Commerce, the company is now set to launch the Amazon Shopping Channel extension for Lean Factor, its sister brand.
By also managing Amazon sales for www.LeanFactor.com via Magento Commerce, the company will be able to streamline sales operations for both brands on the backend, providing access to consolidated sales metrics. “To customers Lean Factor and Z Natural Foods look like totally separate companies selling different products through different websites. But on the backend we can manage both stores and all of our marketplaces through Magento Commerce which is something we could not do before,” said Parker. “Being able to plug two different seller accounts into Magento Commerce is a huge benefit.”
Selling on Amazon provides exposure to a huge market of buyers, but it can also require a tremendous amount of time and work. Z Natural Foods has been able to reduce the time its team spends managing their Amazon channel by as much as two-thirds, automating key processes and integrating its brands and channels into a single set of unified dashboards.
Being able to plug the two different seller accounts into Magento is something we couldn’t do before. It’s a huge benefit.Jonathan Parker
Director, Z Natural Foods