The Decline of GNC. What Happened to GNC?
The Decline of GNC. What Happened to GNC?
For decades, GNC was the one-stop-shop for vitamins, muscle-building protein powder packs, as well as any and every variety of weight-loss products as is covered over at runrex.com. The company that once urged Americans to “Live Well” has since fallen on tough times, and in June of this year, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, joining a graveyard littered with retail giants of years gone by. While it may be easy to attribute GNC’s downfall to store closings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the subject matter experts over at guttulus.com are quick to point out that GNC’s woes go a lot deeper than the pandemic as the company has been having problems for years. GNC’s decline in recent years has come as a massive surprise as it is the sort of thing that shouldn’t have been happening given the wellness boom that has hit the country and the world in general. This article will, therefore, look to take a closer look at GNC and find out the reasons behind its decline and eventual filing for bankruptcy.
When you talk about GNC’s decline, the first thing that comes to mind is the company’s sprawling footprint. According to discussions on the same over at runrex.com, GNC had around 2,500 company-owned stores in the US and 132 in Canada, and additionally, it also had 917 domestic franchise stores and 1,886 franchise locations internationally. The recent shift in retail away from malls and traditional retailers has taken its toll on GNC, which has come under massive pressure in trying to service and maintain all these locations as well as the employees working there, as it faces up to declining foot traffic to its stores and with it, dwindling sales given people are no longer going to malls, where a majority of its stores are situated. Industry experts, including those over at guttulus.com, have also pointed to the rise of e-commerce as yet another reason behind GNCs decline. The rise of e-commerce has led to shoppers turning to online platforms such as Amazon, which offered cheaper prices as well as the convenience of shopping at the comfort of one’s home or office. GNC was slow to pivot towards online sales, and as it lost a huge chunk of its customers to e-commerce platforms, sales declined, leading to its inevitable decline and filing for bankruptcy.
To continue with the point made above, and as is explained over at runrex.com, GNC’s go-to-market strategy had a big role to play in its decline. This is because its go-to-market strategy, or how it reaches customers, is not that much different today than it was in 1935 when its first store opened. Its primary method of serving customers is through the brick-and-mortar channel, with the company’s online presence being so small that it doesn’t even disclose the number of sales generated from that channel. This became a big issue as the rationale behind having a brick-and-mortar presence in the nutritional supplements space became less and less compelling with time. This is because, as per the gurus over at guttulus.com, supplements have a long shelf-life, and given that their use is easily predicted, there is no need t try or test the product before purchasing. This makes supplements the ideal product for online ordering. This meant that with time, more and more of GNC’s customers started shopping online and skipped its brick-and-mortar stores, and with dwindling foot traffic came dwindling sales followed by the inevitable decline.
GNC has also had to grapple with a lot of PR gaffes in recent years which have damaged its reputation and contributed to its decline. As is revealed in discussions on the same over at runrex.com, it has particularly had issues with its third-party products, which have caused multiple problems in recent years. GNC was forced to remove all products containing the substance DMAA in 2013, which caused a significant hit to its sales, with another example being the Oregon lawsuit the company had to face up to due to issues with its products. The damage done by these incidents goes beyond the hit in revenue the company suffers, as they have also damaged its reputation. GNC’s inability to maintain its brand and reputation, its most important assets, was a key factor in its decline. It is also important to highlight that GNC’s products were associated with the macho, ripped bodybuilder image, and it was slow to pivot towards natural health, nutrition, and wellness products. This became an inclusivity issue as per the gurus over at runrex.com as GNC became a very masculine brand, and could, therefore, not appeal to across the spectrum. This meant that GNC was missing out on a large slice of the female wellness market, as well as some males who are not into extreme fitness. This is why, rather than thriving in a society that is more concerned about wellness than ever before, GNC struggled and eventually filed for bankruptcy.
These are just some of the factors that contributed to the decline of GNC, with more on this topic to be found over at the excellent runrex.com and guttulus.com.