Accelerated expansion abroad
The majority of the orders still come from the Netherlands, but Body & Fit is working hard to conquer the whole of Europe with its products. The fact that The Fit People’s Supermarket, as the company likes to describe itself, has been part of the Irish company Glanbia since the spring of 2017 will certainly help with this. “We had no intention of selling the company. In fact, we were busy growing independently abroad. But this opportunity was too good to miss.”
The continuous growth of Body & Fit attracted the attention of various companies. Private equity parties in particular were eager to invest in the company. Due to the lack of specific market knowledge, Body & Fit did not see any added value in this. This changed when Glanbia announced that it is the global market leader in the field of sports nutrition. “Glanbia has an awful lot of knowledge of the B2B market, but does not know how to get their products to the consumer. We know better than anyone how to serve the consumer, while the B2B sector is still relatively new to us,” says Dylan.
Body & Fit has also never made a secret of the fact that it aspires to have its own webshop in all European countries by 2020. In addition to the Netherlands, it was already active in Belgium, Germany and France. The acquisition of Glanbia ensures that Body & Fit can grow even faster. “Most of our products are protein-related, but the scarcity in this market is making purchasing increasingly difficult and expensive. With the acquisition of Glanbia, however, we are more powerful than ever.
Creating a competitive advantage
Although it seems as if Body & Fit is always going for the wind, the success has not come in the slightest. Especially the ban imposed by Google in 2011 to advertise via Google Ads was a serious disadvantage. Google had given Body & Fit a penalty at domain level, as a result of which all advertisements were rejected in advance. “This was quite frustrating, especially since competitors did advertise.
During the boycott, which lasted a number of years, Body & Fit put all its efforts into SEO. But this was not without initial problems either. “The SEO advice given by our former marketing partner was completely wrong. They advised us to focus on the brands we sell, while the search volume is based on generic terms such as proteins and creatine”. Ilco Bos, one of the founders of Body & Fit, knew the co-founder of AdResults from the past and decided to request a second opinion. “This advice not only saved us, it also enabled us to create an advantage over our competitors.
‘SEO accounted for 40 percent of turnover’
With a targeted SEO strategy, Body & Fit is able to secure many top positions for generic search terms within a short period of time. “For years, we have achieved around 40 percent of our turnover from organic search traffic.” When Body & Fit launched a German webshop at the beginning of 2016 and because of the other domain name it could use SEA campaigns here, it was decided to also create a separate domain name for the Dutch market. “Although we already had over a million customers in the Netherlands, we wanted to be able to advertise in Google. In Germany, Google Ads was so successful that we also wanted to use it here to reach new customers.”
Because it was not clear to Body & Fit which search terms caused the penalty, the domain Bodyenfit-shop.nl initially contained only a fraction of the total offer. “By cautiously adding new products, we were able to test which products were not allowed for Google.
Act according to the rules of Google
Also the self-developed Google Ads policy check tool from AdResults, with which a first check is done, helped to avoid suspension. “They were already familiar with our industry and understand that Google’s public rules and guidelines are not always complete for us,” says Dylan. He says that in the world of bodybuilding, tough terms are often used. For example, Body & Fit sells products from the Assault line of the American brand Musclepharm. “That a word like ‘assault’ in an advertisement can cause problems we understand, but there are also countless cases where you have no idea that you are breaking certain rules. Because AdResults already had an online drugstore as a customer, they knew how to deal with it.”
‘Quickly become market leader’
In spite of the fact that circumstances have not always made Body & Fit easy, the nutrition specialist quickly became the market leader. And the growth is still exponential. Whereas Body & Fit still had a turnover of 3.2 million euros in 2012, 2017 was closed with a turnover of 64 million euros.
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