Magazine Deal a Handy Tool for Tools for Wellness

Tools for Wellness, a $3 million-plus cataloger of alternative health products, has doubled traffic to its Website and increased its online sales 250% during the past year. And it managed the feat without spending thousands of dollars. Instead, the Chatsworth, CA-based mailer attributes the growth largely to a partnership with Alternative Medicine magazine.

Under the deal, the magazine, which also sells health-related books, has a link on the product portion of its Website to the Tools for Wellness site.

Alternative Medicine provides all content for the Tools for Wellness site, while the cataloger handles fulfillment and customer service for items sold on Alternative Medicine‘s site as well as on its own. The companies also share their lists.

The partnership, implemented late last year, comes in handy for a company that “runs close to a zero marketing budget” on the Web, says Peter Chane, director of e-commerce for Tools for Wellness. “We wanted our customers to have a great online shopping experience with us, but we didn’t want to invest in content.”

And while the cataloger had invested in online advertising since launching its site in February 1999, its efforts were “ineffective,” Chane says. The 12-year-old company has tried banner ads, e-mail sponsorships, Website sponsorships, “almost everything at least once. And none have been effective in driving users to our site to make purchases.” The cataloger’s wares include nutritional supplements, sound-therapy recordings, biofeedback machines, and magnetic shoe insoles.

The leap in online orders led Tools for Wellness to reduce its print book from 148 pages to 108, giving the company “significant” cost savings. What’s more, the cataloger hasn’t had to add staff to support the increase in sales.

As for Tiburon, CA-based Alternative Medicine, “we get traffic based on content, not commerce,” says president Blair Kellison. “We don’t have the capability to sell online, but we have a lot of books that we can offer online. We can’t match Tools For Wellness’s fulfillment speed and customer service.”

Alternative Medicine‘s Website attracts consumers seeking alternative therapies and products to alleviate chronic pain or prevent illness. “Our readers are very hard to find, and we can deliver them as customers to Tools for Wellness on a silver platter,” Kellison says. “And Tools for Wellness enhances our Internet experience through the unique, high-quality products it has to offer our customers.”

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