May 14, 2014, 12:44 PM

Site upgrades and Amazon sales help Vitacost.com grow Q1 web sales

Online sales grew by 7% for the online retailer of vitamins and diet products, aided by more orders and customers from Amazon.

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Vitacost.com reports $104.8 million in Q1 earnings.

Vitacost.com, a web-only retailer of vitamins, supplements and diet products, reported web sales growth in the first quarter of 2014, helped by web site upgrades and increased activity on Amazon.com.

Recent web site enhancements included a new tool called Promo Pocket, which stores all of the promotions available to a customer in one, says a company spokeswoman. This includes coupons personalized for a specific customer and those that everyone can use.

Another upgrade is a new recipe micro-site that includes more than 500 recipes, offering customers new ways to use healthy foods Vitacost sells in their daily cooking, the spokeswoman says. The recipe center also offers an Add to Cart feature that enables customers to purchase ingredients featured in the selected recipe. And in early March Vitacost.com rolled out a single-page checkout designed to streamline the process and enable customers to complete the order process in just a few seconds. Early results show “a measurable decline in the rate of cart abandonment,” the spokeswoman says, but did not reveal specific data.

“In the first quarter, we launched a national television advertising test and remain focused on increasing our reach to a wider base of customers,” says Jeffrey Horowitz, Vitacost.com’s CEO. More web site enhancements are planned for 2014, he says.

For the first quarter ended March 31, Vitacost.com, No. 89 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500, reported:

  • Web sales of $104.8 million, a 7.2% increase from online sales of $97.8 million for the first quarter of 2013.
  • Net loss was $3.9 million, compared with a net loss of $3.0 million in the first quarter of 2013.
  • Total shipped orders increased by 8%, to 1.5 million. That number includes results from the company’s Amazon.com sales. Excluding Amazon, orders generated on the Vitacost.com web site increased by 5% year-over-year.
  • The company added 389,000 new customers in the first quarter of 2014, including those from Amazon. That represented a 7% increase from the same quarter last year. Vitacost.com, excluding Amazon, added 266,000 new customers in the quarter, a 2% year-over-year increase.
  • The company’s average order value at Vitacost.com was $75.55, a 2% year-over-year increase. Total AOV for the first quarter of 2014 was $69.95, up by 1% year-over-year and including orders generated from the company’s Amazon.com sales channel, where the average ticket is lower, the company notes.

Vitacost.com did not break out dollar sales derived from Amazon.com.

In March, when Vitacost.com disclosed year-end 2013 numbers to Wall Street, the company also revealed it was evaluating various strategic options, including a possible sale.

Vitacost retained New York investment banking firm Jeffries LLC to help the company evaluate its various options including “a sale of the company, a business combination transaction or continuing to operate the company as an independent entity.”

Vitacost.com hasn’t said when it plans to make a decision about its future.

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