January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

MotherNature Takes B2B supplement

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Jockeying for position in a crowded market, online vitamin and health products retailer MotherNature.com plans an expansion aimed at small businesses. The e-retailer says it will add a new commercial channel for small, natural-product retailers, supplementing its current focus on consumer sales with its recently added professional channel targeting health care practitioners and HMOs.

The expanded business model calls for maintaining the current MotherNature Web site and continuing development of the company's professional channel, which it launched in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1999. This channel includes the Wellness Advisor Network and the HMO Network.

The company's new B2B focus will allow small retailers to order shipments of vitamins, supplements and other products on the Internet. MotherNature.com says it's also considering ways to let smaller retailers the opportunity open branded storefronts using the existing MotherNature.com commerce engine..

"We have discovered that one of the value propositions that MotherNature.com can provide lies in the business-to-business sector," says Michael Barach, president and CEO of MotherNature.com.

Barach says the company has begun to cut back on consumer marketing to fund the additional sales channels.

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