A Look at Usana Health Services for Resellers and for Customers
Usana Health Sciences are an interesting company with a long history, who dominated the vitamin scene even as recently as a decade ago. They had a high share value, and they had a presence in more than a dozen countries. But, more recently, Usana Health Sciences reviews have been mixed. They became the subject of a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission back in 2007, who were concerned that their sales practices were less than perfect.
The company has had a rocky history. They sued Barry Minkow for his part in a 500 page report which alleged that the company did so well not because of the quality of its vitamin products, but because of the multi-level marketing that was associated with them. Usana claims that Minkow penned that report with the intent of shorting on shares for profit. This, of course, is illegal, but it would have been a good strategy for money making – if he had indeed done so.
How Usana Worked
Usana ‘associates’ are employed to sell the company’s supplmenent products. The system is a nice idea. Purchase a business starter kit for a nominal fee, and then order a set amount of products per month, which you can either use for yourself, or sell on. The products are offered at a discount compared to retail, so it’s a good deal for people who use a lot of supplements, and an even better deal for people who are able to sell them on.
Some people do well out of Usana, and really do become professional health gurus, achieving financial freedom along the way. However, many are unable to make the leap from buyer to ‘business’. Usana distributors can join a profit sharing network if they can recruit enough people.
Usana themselves say that most people who get involved do so just to enjoy the wholesale discounts. They can get these even if they just join as a preferred customer. There’s plenty of stuff available for customers – multivitamins, minerals, cosmetics and similar products. However, the value of these is questionable. Usana says that they charge a premium compared to standard high street products because their products are ‘high quality, certified supplements’ and that they stand alone in a different class to the high street version.
Some experts disagree, though, noting that the products lack any distinctive features, and that there is no convincing evidence that they are of superior quality to the kind of thing that you can pick up via retail. You would need to conduct extensive clinical trials to prove that there was anything particularly valuable about the products, and they have not done this.
Usana customer reviews are positive –but those customers could be biased – after all, they stand to gain if they can get people to buy from them. The whole business model of Usana depends on the idea that thousands (or even tens of thousands ) of would be sellers will fail. They must fail, otherwise the business model simply can’t succeed.
Now, according to Usana, only around one in eight of the people who join them do so looking to make money. The others, unsurprisingly, don’t make money – but they are only looking to save a little cash on their own vitamin and cosmetic supply. But are those products worth buying?
Nutritionals, Energy and Personal Care
The Usana product range includes vitamins, minerals and other supplements, protein shakes, energy drinks, meal replacement products, skin care, shampoo and other related personal care items. These seem like they’re nice enough items on the surface, but they are very, very expensive compared to the same product offered by other sellers. Unless you can find someone who is convinced that Usana is premium quality, you would struggle to sell them for even the wholesale price, let alone the recommended retail price.
If you try the products, there’s certainly nothing wrong with them, but they don’t really appear to offer the kind of value that they promise, either. They are standard consumer products, and they are being sold at a price that just does not make sense.
Is Usana A Scam?
While this may sound like a rather scathing review so far, it’s important to note that Usana isn’t a scam. Few people will make money from it, but that doesn’t make joining Usana as an affiliate a scam. The products are expensive – but again, that doesn’t make it a scam.
We are operating in a free market, and there are some people out there who love the products and who join to save money on selling them on. They are happy, and that is good for them. Some people join as resellers and manage to make money that way too – again, if they have the skills, mindset and determination then that’s great for them.
Usana Health Sciences makes it easy to join their program. That low barrier to entry is a problem because it does mean that anyone can sign up – and therefore there is a bigger chance of people who are unlikely to succeed giving the program a try, but again, that is an issue with any form of small business, not just MLM-style supplement products.
Where Usana does have an advantage compared to others is that they don’t make outlandish claims about their supplements. They let their products live or die by their own quality. Most of them are pretty good, too. They are backed up by quality research, and because they are generally safe and fairly traditional products, they don’t come with serious health hazards or side effects.
Should You Join?
If you are thinking of joining Usana and selling their products, then you should work out whether it will really be financially worthwhile for you. Will you use enough of the products to make the expense worth it? Will you be able to sell any at all? Do you really like them enough to choose their brand over something that you can pick up at the local Walgreens?
For some people, it is worth it. A personal trainer might feel that they will do better for their brand selling Usana Health Sciences products at a premium instead of telling their customers to buy some generic product that they could choose for themselves. In that case, it’s all about perception and the extra expense is a selling point rather than a downside. Gyms might enjoy stocking the products as well, since it may be something that a lot of customers have never seen before.
For the average fitness enthusiast, though, something more generic but also affordable could be a better choice. Usana Health Sciences covers a huge range with their products, and it’s easy to question the wisdom of that – can they really do supplements, tooth paste and energy drinks well? Would it not be better to pick specialists in each niche, purely for the fact they are more likely to make a better product, at a better price?
Usana Health Sciences has a lot to offer for certain types of people, but not everyone should become a reseller. Be realistic about how many people you know who would buy their products, and how much time you are willing to put into promoting them. If you know you can’t do it justice, save your money and join something less time-intensive or a drop shipping service instead, you will have more flexibility to make money that way.
Usana Health Sciences
- Distributors set retail price - 100%100%
- Leadership bonuses available - 85%85%
- Gluten and soy protein free product - 100%100%
- Legal issues - 60%60%
- Large debt ratio - 50%50%
- Some products are expensive - 60%60%