Keto merchants are poised to take advantage of the billion-dollar weight loss industry. If you own a business in this market, ask yourself, are ready for growth and will you be ready for the next weight loss trend?
The ketogenic diet has steadily increased in popularity. In the US in 2018, “keto diet” was the number one diet search term according to Google’s 2018 Year In Search.
This is excellent news for keto merchants. Even better is the expectation that the market will continue to expand. Between 2019-2023, the global keto diet market size is expected to grow by USD 1.11 billion at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5%.
That means there’s a future for your business in creating and selling more products and services to help people to lose weight. There’s room for growth, and expansion of either your offerings or your market.
But with that comes the issues of getting your products and services to your consumers.
And that’s what this post will be addressing …
How to improve your payment channels to sell more keto products and services. We’ll do this by focusing on three keys to keto merchant processing which helps increase business without increasing fraud, chargebacks and other types of risks.
The 1st key to successful keto merchant processing – Knowing your merchant category
The diet and wellness markets are so extensive that the possibilities seem endless. As such, there are a variety of keto-related products and services.
- Keto diet books (print and e-books)
- Ketogenic diet supplements (pills, powders)
- Keto diet snacks (pre-packaged)
- Ketosis measurement devices
- Ketogenic diet coaching services
- Keto subscription services
What purpose does a merchant category serve if all the products and services above are keto-related? Simple. Merchant processing depends on the product category type.
So, the first key is knowing the category for your product or service. This determines what you put on your merchant application form. It also explains why some merchant accounts get suspended.
For example, do you sell keto supplements? Then you would fall under the nutraceutical category.
What if your main keto products are e-books on weight loss and nutrition guides using keto? Then these are digital or info products.
And what if you do a combination of products and services? Contact DirectPayNet. We’ll be happy to assist you in finding the right credit card processor for your keto business. It’s important that your merchant service provider is aware of your different product categories. Failure to comply may get your account shut down. Your business could be put on TMF or MATCH-listed for violating the terms of your contract.
The 2nd key – Know how to combat the problems of keto merchant processing
As a merchant, have you had to deal with any of these problems?
* Cease and desist orders from the FDA/FTC
The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, both in the USA, could become a threat to your business. The FDA and FTC provide regulations that govern the supplements market.
So, do not breach of any of these rules – like this marketer of a “fat burner diet pill” – as it can create trouble with the FTC. Or, your product could be recalled by the FDA, because it’s tainted with banned or illegal substances.
Do you also follow the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)? The EFSA provides independent input in the supplements industry. These inputs are used by the European Commission to set regulations for the industry.
Keep up to date with all regulating bodies in different countries where you sell. For example, just because a supplement can be legally sold in the US, doesn’t mean you can sell it in the UK. Customs may prevent packaged products from shipping to foreign markets. Interruptions like can cause chargebacks from customers not receiving their shipments through no fault of your own.
* High chargebacks and fraudulent transactions
Diet and supplement products and services are categorized as high risk. Part of the reason is the large number of chargebacks in the industry. For example, chargebacks are often by unsatisfied customers who want quick fixes.
* High drop-off rates
Like most subscription-type services, there is the issue of high drop-off rates. So, subscription diet plans are canceled regularly. Plus, there are highly specific requirements when recurring billing is offered. If you fail to adhere to these, you could lose your merchant account.
* Problems processing international transactions
Keto and other weight loss or diet supplement merchants find it hard to get reliable payment processors. This poses a challenge, especially if you want to tap into the global market. Regulations and rules for selling supplements are getting stricter, as such there are less banks that are willing to board merchants selling these products. Finding the right partner is increasingly important to ensure you can scale and work with a provider who can accepts your business type.
So, like your counterparts, you’ll need to ensure you have a reliable payment processor. Your provider should offer you secure credit card processing for both local and international transactions for the life span of your business.
What can keto merchants do?
Be careful of the claims you make:
Make sure you have proof or can back up the claims you make so that the FTC or the FDA doesn’t shut you down. If you make a health claim, you need to have a solid reference or a clinical trial backing up your claim. If not, best you stick to general statements. Avoid using the words: cure, treat, diagnose, heal, etc… These are medical terms that may be seen as misleading customers.
Follow the rules:
If you operate in Europe, it’s always good to check the Food Supplements Directive (FSD). It sets out allowable vitamins and minerals, and labeling requirements, for example. In the US, you would have to follow the FDA guidelines for supplements.
Diversify your payment processing:
Apply for a high-risk merchant account. This can complement your other payment solutions, such as Stripe or PayPal. Offer ACH and/or e-check processing options too.
Improve order fulfillment:
Order fulfillment history is critical for the approval of a merchant account. And high chargebacks do result from problems in your order fulfillment processes. Ensure you have a good history and also follow the digital trade rules. Test your checkout process and your fulfillment process including your customer support. This will ensure you are getting all orders to your customers in a timely manner.
Key #3 for successful keto merchant processing – Compliance
In addition to the rules above, other compliance issues can affect your ability to:
- be approved for a merchant account
- keep your merchant account
Here are 3 more quick strategies to ensure further compliance in the keto industry.
1. Tackle PCI and Website Compliance
Ensure you are Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. This means protecting the credit card data of customers through effective encryption and operational standards. Your payment processors and all 3rd party software involved in the transaction must also be PCI compliant. For your website, ensure the appropriate SSL encryption is in place on your checkout page.
2. Strategically Manage Trials & Subscriptions
Credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard have strict rules governing trials and subscriptions. So, we recommend that you strategically omit trials until you have a strong payment processing history. If you want to offer continuity, its best to offer the same monthly price as changing the price from month 1 to month 2 for example qualifies your offer as a trial which puts different obligations on your merchant account . This is especially useful to show that your business will be around for another year and won’t turn into a liability nightmare.
3. Monitor Influencer Marketing
Have you checked the FTC Endorsement Guides? This governs marketing by endorsements, influencers, and reviews. Don’t assume influencers understand the rules. Ensure you advise them on what they can and cannot do in promoting your product or service. The same should apply to participants of your affiliate program. In fact, you are responsible for how influencers and affiliates promote you. Thus, take active measures to ensure your brand is being represented correctly.
Let’s sum this all up
How keto merchants respond to various challenges are the keys for success. Selling more products and services without the challenges of fraud, chargebacks, etc. is possible. Talk to an expert in nutraceutical merchant processing industry today.
In the meantime, here are a few of the things you need to do to be proactive.
- Understand what the FDA does and does not allow.
- Know how to work with influencers and affiliates to protect your brand and business.
- Diversify your payment processing options. (Stripe and PayPal are not always friendly to high-risk categories especially merchants selling digital keto products or supplements.)
- Understand the business models applicable to you when applying for a merchant account and explain it correctly to your provider.
- Access more of the pie in the billion-industry through better order fulfillment and customer service practices.
- Look at how to expand your business across borders.
- Keep your eyes on the next health trend to start diversifying as soon as possible. All diet trends enjoy a nice lifecycle but when something new comes along some products get outdated quickly. For example, before Keto, there was Atkins, South Beach and Paleo that enjoyed a long success story.
- And most importantly, apply for an offshore merchant account.
You already know how profitable this industry can be since you’re operating in the market. Plus, doing $50,000 a month minimum in business is nothing new to you.
The weight loss and nutraceutical industries can only be more lucrative for you, if you know how to get it right. Like expanding your markets.
And, as you know, the biggest markets in the health and wellness space are North America and Europe. In brief, if you’re not yet operating in Canada, Mexico, USA, and European markets, you should be.