Man does not live on bread alone, or so the saying goes. In the 21st century, where food can occasionally better resemble that of science fiction thanks to additives, preservatives, and added hormones, you may be able to make a case that the average man does not live on food alone.
That’s arguably why a store like iHerb is so important. The premise of the store is simple enough, as it is designed to sell various supplements, herbs, superfoods, skin care products, and other means of natural enhancements. But rather than hitting you over the head with aggression and sculpted people that don’t look anything like the average person that may be interested in these products, they simply present the goods that they have available and step out of the way. It creates kind of a “mom and pop” type of vibe to the site, and it is something that makes them stand out amongst some of their intense competitors.
iHerb has been around since 1996, so we’re not exactly dealing with a fly-by-night company or a brash young upstart here. They derive their name because they started out promoting the benefits of the herb St. John’s Wort; since these humble beginnings, they have expanded to a pretty huge operation with warehouses in both California and Kentucky.
In essence, the core of iHerb is built on delivering two major tenants. The first tenant is to provide the best overall value for the wide array of natural products that they offer through a process they dub “e-simplicity.” The second tenant is being able to conscientiously meet the needs of their customers and other associates in a way that protects and honors the integrity of the environment.
The Southern California-based company has also been certified by NSF International as a company that practices good manufacturing policies. It has also received accolades by groups like Consumer Lab for being a leader in their industry. In short, they have the kind of credentials that you would be looking for with a trusted company.
Top Products of iHerb
iHerb’s best selling products are an exceptional indicator as to just how eclectic their product base is. It serves as a top notch barometer as to how eclectic their clientele is, too.
For example, their top selling supplement is the Gummy Vitamin C Slices, Tangy Orange Flavor from Rainbow Light. These Vitamin C supplements are a fun way for the whole family to make sure they are getting the proper Vitamin C that they need on a daily basis. Second on this list is the Jarro-Dophilus EPS from Jarrow Formulas. This product is used to ensure the maximum survival of probiotic bacteria in the small intestines – a bit different than vitamin supplements in gummy form, to be sure.
The best selling products that iHerb sells are essentially split into four different categories:
- Supplements and herbs
- Bath & Beauty and Skin Care
- Grocery and Kids & Babies
- Sports and Pets
Like the supplements, each of the categories similarly indicates how iHerb seems to specialize in having an eclectic catalogue for their customers to choose from. In the herb section, for instance, black elderberry lozenges and milk thistle extract are the top two selling items.
Some of the top sellers in the other categories tend to demonstrate how iHerb also devotes a decent chunk of space to looking good as well as feeling good. And this attitude isn’t just contained to their human clientele, either. Case in point: Shampoos, complexion sponges, and African soap bars lead their Bath & Beauty section, while various dog grooming products are their top selling pet products.
Based on the various price points that iHerb has to offer, it’s pretty clear that this is a company that is not in the practice of trying to gouge its customers. The price points are competitive with other business within their industry, which is always a good thing. What’s even better is that they usually have some sort of discounted price going on with select inventory, so smart shoppers can take advantage of an even greater amount of savings.
Another neat thing that iHerb offers are trial samples of various products, as customers can tack on one trial product to their order for a very low price. This is an excellent service to provide to customers.
After all, there are a lot of products out there; so much so, even the savviest of consumers may get a little nervous about spending a certain amount of dollars on a product that they haven’t given the proverbial “test drive.” By offering trial samples, customers can be given an additional measure of confidence in trying out a product – if they don’t care for it, they can at least say that they didn’t pay the proverbial arm and a leg for it.
The cost-effectiveness of iHerb expands to their shipping, too. The company offers free expedited (1 to 5 day) shipping on orders greater than $20 in the contiguous United States, and free expedited 2-day shipping for orders over $60 in the lower 48.
Criticism of iHerb
The one element in which iHerb is lacking in comparison to some of the other companies in its industry is in online information. While the simplicity of iHerb is a good thing in terms of its products and even its navigation, the site could benefit from the presence of a blog or a page devoted to articles – items that may give the consumer a little better gauge as to the what and the why regarding the products and the ailments and deficiencies that they may be looking to correct. Granted, they do have a links page that connects the site to well-known names in the healthy living field, such as Dr. Andrew Weil. But while that is nice, it would be a little better if that kind of information was readily present on the website.
Even though iHerb does not have a blog associated with their website, they do have other indicators to show that they connect to the customer. The site does feature links to package tracking so people can follow where their order is every step of the way. They also feature a friend referral program that can give participants further savings, which is a nice touch.
The website also has a compact FAQ section that may be able to help customers with some the more basic inquiries. If the customer would rather interact with a person, they can do so via phone, e-mail, or even a live chat. The latter service is especially noteworthy because other leading companies don’t offer this feature.
If you are looking for an online health and supplement store that will bombard you with shrill whistles and shiny bells in the hopes that it will pump you up enough to purchase a couple of things, look elsewhere. That’s not what iHerb is all about. But that’s perfectly fine. In fact, their humble, no-nonsense approach is something that most likely will appeal to the sensibilities to the average person; one that has a general sense of what he or she wants and doesn’t want the din of advertising as part of the process. This is a company that has been around since the late ‘90s, so they have been making a practice of promoting their products in a straightforward, relatively quiet matter. It certainly works for them considering the various accolades they have received over the years, and it is certainly worth checking out if you are in the market for the products that they sell.