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December 16, 2017 | By: deaneparkes

Recently, I was at a conventional grocer and noticed there were no stickers on the conventional pesticide-laden fruits and veggies.  Yet, the organic produce had two stickers that said “organic.”

At my local health store, they also have “organic” and “local” stickers on the fruits and veggies.  Personally, I think there has to be a better way.  We are offering clean, sustainable and pure food, yet we are putting plastic with glue on our organic foods.  And the plastic is probably made from GMO corn oil.

I think any stickers on any food should say: “Warning: Product Contains Pesticides.”  If there is no warning (and no sticker) it means the food is organic, therefore safe.

As well, stickering adds to the cost of organic food, so it makes it less competitive price-wise than the highly subsidized, pesticide and herbicide-laced GMO conventional unstickered foods.  Odd!  Sorry for the rant!  Thanks for listening.

Rachel Parent says it best when it comes to GMO labelling:  “If Monsanto thought GMO was really good for you, they would be out promoting its benefits and telling why it is better than organic food on food, not hiding it behind heavily funded and influenced regulations and secrecy.”  Visit for more information.

Lets be serious about clinical trials!

At this moment, Health Canada is attempting to yet again change our NHP regulations. So, if a natural health product makes a claim for a health condition, and if that claim is not supported by a clinical trial similar to those conducted for OTC drugs, it will no longer be able to make that claim, and perhaps may even be taken off market.  To me, that is the big bugaboo about the changes they want to make.

On the topic of clinical trials…did you know clinical trials are always done on a small select group of men but never on women?  To me, this shows that the entire process of OTC clinical trials is a farce.  Why on just men?  Why aren’t we holding clinical trials on women?  How do we know a women’s product will work if it’s just been tested on men?

OTC drugs should have to meet NHP safety standards not force NHPs to do clinical trials on a few select men and use this limited-perspective clinical trial as the be all and end all in medicine.

I see the current process as a way to restrict the market of valuable proven natural SAFE medicines!

  • Herbs have been used throughout all cultures by billions of all ages and sexes for eons.
  • Vitamins and minerals for decades by all ages AND sexes
  • Homeopathy since 1800s by all ages and sexes.
  • Super raw foods – from the beginning of time
  • Protein powders – for decades

Read the $8 Million Dollar Pill if you actually think clinical trials are above board and in the best interest of humanity.  Few – if any – are.  I agree with strong regulation of NHPs at manufacture to ensure what is on the label is in the bottle, and it is free of contaminants.  After that, allow herbalists, homeopaths, orthomolecular doctors and industry experts to determine what claims should be on the label.

It’s time we stopped apologizing and being defensive about what we do.  We have a good story to tell consumers, as we have been safely and effectively serving our communities in Canada for over 50 years.

Keep customers coming back!

  • How do you know the customer will ever come back?
  • Have you ever given thought to this question?
  • Do you spend time working on ideas with staff to ensure customers ‘feel’ like coming back?
  • When the customer is finishing up at the till, how do you know they will come back?

Well you don’t really ever know if they will be back, However, you can create ways to encourage them to return.  These ideas come after providing exceptional customer service, well merchandised product and a clean and easy-to-shop store with staff fully engaged to sell.

Mailing list: If you are not collecting your customers’ contact information – address, phone, text, Facebook, email, etc. – you are NOT serious about being in business.  In 2017, there is no excuse for not having a way to connect with your core customer.  With today’s POS systems, it is easy to run a report to find out what customers have not shopped in your store the past six months.  Maybe send them a $10 coupon off $40 product, and invite them back.  Those who do not return, take them off your data base.  Continually find ways to invite customers to come back to shop.

Store newsletter: still the best return of most retail marketing.  Old-fashioned printed personalized store newsletters allow you to create a more intimate connection with customers.  Share your values, announce store specials, recipes, product knowledge and in-store events.  How else do you tell people in your community why you exist on your meager marketing budget?   At least make sure your core customers know all about you and what you have to offer.

Coupons: The number one way to influence retail sales.  Coupons are good for newer stores or stores with stagnant customer counts.

A friend opened his first store in a busy area close to a large discount chain drug store.  He used coupons to create his initial customer base. He made a series of coupons – example: $5 off body care, $10 next visit, $2 off vitamins, etc.  If a customer bought $100 worth of vitamins but no body care, he may give them a $5 coupon and say “As a way to thank you for shopping with us, here is a coupon for $5 off our natural xenoestrogen-free body care for the next time you shop here.”  So, he was educating while giving them a coupon with some value.  No one will throw away $5!!  If someone bought $50, he’d give a $2 or $3 coupon, which most people will use.

Consider a coupon month to boost flat customer counts.   Keep coupon value around three to five per cent of purchase. Yes, it is like Canadian Tire money.  •

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