December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

Mother knows best

Don’t forget to take your vitamins. MotherNature.com stands out in the online drugstore/nutraceutical arena for its wholesome approach. The site’s “we’re looking out for you overtones” are very effective, points out Martin DeBono, a senior analyst at Gomez Advisors.

With an aggressive marketing campaign that includes TV, radio and outdoor ads, the Web site stands to woo more first-time shoppers online. Fortunately, its retail-friendly design practically takes novices by the hand, providing numerous ways to shop-by specific product, lifestyle or “what ails you.”

Not just a place to get vitamins, MotherNature “embraces the whole healthy living space,” says Bonnie Tonneson, a consumer e-commerce analyst at Hambrecht & Quist in San Francisco. She praises a free news clipping service added earlier this year. It allows consumers “to discreetly” inquire about ailments and remedies rather than risk embarrassment with a face-to-face, in-store encounter.

Product wise, MotherNature has expanded beyond vitamins, herbs and supplements to add bath and body, pet products and home furnishings to its mix-all with a holistic bent, of course.

The store’s private label has done a lot to promote the brand. In fact, private label accounts for 43% of sales. On the fulfillment front, MotherNature expanded its distribution operations this summer, moving to a 25,000 square-foot-center in Springfield, Mass.

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