4 Ecommerce Rules for Success and Sales

Patrick ForsterPATRICK FOSTER IS A PROFESSIONAL, ECOMMERCE WRITER & MARKETER WHO HELPS PEOPLE WITH HIS INSIGHTFUL ECOMMERCE ARTICLES. Being in the game for ten years now, he has a lot to share about marketing, start-ups and more and he always has something new to share in this industry. Whether you’re primarily an ecommerce store or you’re looking to expand your retail environment to include an ecommerce element, Patrick has some helpful tips for you.

Everyone wants to find success online, but the difference when you sell health products is that you want to make a success by helping others! But the truth is, health products or not, there are certain rules you need to follow if you want to play the ecommerce game and I’m here to share them with you. From your USP (unique selling point) to your social media — here is how to make a success of ecommerce for your brand or business.

Rule Number One: Have a Clear USP

With a clear and strong unique selling point, you’re giving people a good reason to use you next time they need something. You may think to yourself “I’ve got a USP, it’s me!” but I’m afraid you’re going to have to be a bit more particular than that. Why is it that a customer would turn to you, and not one of the many other websites out there?

Think of it like this, if you can offer something that people can get nowhere else, whether it’s a certain type of product, or just the way your service works, then that’s always going to be a reason for people to come back. If you find something wholly unique, anybody who likes your offering will turn to you whenever they need it. But the “unique” thing that you offer might actually be the same service as another site, the only difference being that you do it better. If there are no ‘good’ websites offering what you’re offering, you’re filling an important gap.

Of course, it can be quite hard to think of a USP. One thing you might like to do is read the negative reviews of your competitors. Find out where they’re falling down and where you can step up. Think about what you want, but which you can’t find. One example is the growing interest in veganism in Australia; there’ll be a lot of businesses finding success by offering vegan alternatives to foods which previously did not have any alternatives.

If you’re struggling, check out this more comprehensive USP guide. Read around and give this subject some serious thought. Your USP will be one of your biggest ecommerce success factors because not only does it help you stand out, it helps you create real value for your customers.

Rule Number Two: Make Sure You’ve Got a Good Site

If you’re looking to buy something online, and then you come across a bad and old looking website, are you going to get it from them? As superficial as it may seem, the answer is no. Nobody is. Here a quick list of things that make a site “good”:

● Responsive Web Design
● Easy to Navigate
● Quick to Load
● Pleasing to the Eye (no clashing colours)
● No Blank Space
● Not Too Much Text

Those are probably the six most important things to have if you want a site which most people will think of as respectable. You don’t need something really flashy, just something which looks good and professional — a badly designed site will lead to a downturn in conversions and sales, and won’t help to ‘sell’ your brand.

If you’re worried you don’t have the skills to create that, try something like Shopify, it’s a very simple ecommerce creation tool. Other options include selling through social media, WordPress plugins, or using an open-source system like Magento, which are also viable options. They all work a little differently so it’s important to find out which one works best for you.

Rule Number 3: Be Social

I’m not just talking about social media here (although I am, also talking about social media.) Shops on the high street have the luxury of occupying physical space. People find out about them just because they have to walk past them. For an ecommerce website to reach as many people, you need to be active and get out there. Go to ecommerce events, go to conferences, go to tradeshows – any chance to meet new people (and make potentially useful connections) is a chance worth taking. Check out what events are going on in your local area (you can check out local ecommerce events on places like Eventbrite — here’s what’s happening in Sydney).

When it comes to which social media to use, it’s all about finding the right platform. What are your competitors using? Are they missing a trick somewhere? There are so many sites you could use. Here’s just a quick list:

● Facebook
● Twitter
● Pinterest
● Google +
● YouTube
● Vimeo
● LinkedIn
● Instagram

If your research doesn’t really turn up anything that gives you an indication of which site to use, why don’t you just experiment? Try them all until you find your niche. But be sure not to overexert yourself and spread yourself too thin. It’s important that the content you create matches the platform in terms of messaging and call to action — know when to be more visual, and when you need to go in with some witty wordplay. A content research tool like Buzzsumo can help you find out which channels are most popular in your niche.

Rule Number 4: Have Patience

This is something which doesn’t get said often enough. Too many articles paint a portrait of somebody going online, setting up shop, sending a few tweets and then having something to live off. I hate to be a pessimist, but that almost certainly will not happen. The internet is a large place and you can’t expect overnight success. You could be working for a couple of years before it takes off properly. During this time, it’s important that you have funds in place and that you spend time getting to know your customers (and market).

But I don’t want to end this post on a negative. Yes, starting an ecommerce site does take time and it does take money, but if you’re passionate about your idea and you really have faith in yourself, you just might succeed.


Guest Blog: Athletes Take On CLIF Bar

When the Old Girl refuses to move (which is more often than they might like), they get out and explore the next best way: trail running. The couple need the right nutrition to feed their adventures and their go-to brand is always CLIF Bar. Below Nicki gives retailers an insight into the life of a CLIF Bar customer.

Not long ago, I would have told you there’s nothing more satisfying at the end of a long run than to jump into a scolding hot shower and not emerge until every muscle has stopped aching.

But when you live in a van, that’s a luxury you don’t have.

On 1 April 2016, Mat and I set off on an adventure that would seem like an April fool’s joke to some: travelling around Australia in a van. But not one of those humungous RV house-on-wheels kitted out with satellite TV, bathrooms and a king-sized bed. We planned to live in a ’73 VW Kombi.

A teeny tiny 6 square metres.

Our clumsy Kombi, the Old Girl, is only part of the adventure. Mat and I are trail runners, and have been running insanely long distances side by side ever since we met on a plane seven years ago.

New Zealand’s Te Araroa gave us a taste of life, quite literally, on the run, and we were eager to find out what adventures were waiting for us off the dusty, rocky roads of the Aussie outback, nestled in Queensland’s Bunya Mountains and maybe even hidden undetected along the unimaginably long, windswept Nullarbor.

When we left Melbourne, every item we packed was a gamble. But there were some things we knew we would find indispensable: our solar power system, a giant mosquito net, the coffee grinder and an endless supply of CLIF Bars.

Being high in carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, for years CLIF Bars have been our fuel of choice for ultra marathons and trail runs. But while trekking for two months through New Zealand, our not-so-perfect planning meant we had to resort to other, lesser energy bars. We learnt pretty quickly that CLIF Bar surely lived up to it’s ‘number one energy bar’ reputation. No matter what we tried, it just wasn’t
the same.

So when it came to planning the roadtrip, we knew what we had to do. After all, this wasn’t about driving from beach to beach counting ‘roos; we were booked in to run some pretty mammoth trail events, including Buffalo Stampede 70km, UTA 100km and the multi-day Larapinta Run. Experience told us we couldn’t rely on finding the nutrition we want and need in roadhouses.

We needed to stock up on something we could trust. Something proven to give us sustained energy when on the trails for up to 24 hours. So, with four boxes of CLIF Bars stowed safely under the backseat, we hit the road.

Now, whenever the Old Girl needs some well-earned rest, all we need to do is fill our bags with water, pack a couple of CLIF Bars, and explore by foot. We’ve run through the most spectacular scenery imaginable – the fiery red rocks of Kings Canyon, the magical Devils Marbles, and the ever-surprising (yet snake-infested) Bibbulmun Trail. Yet sometimes the only trail we can find is 30km of white sandy beaches (which isn’t as fun as it might sound).

But wherever we are, even if all we have to look forward to at the end is crouching over our collapsible red bucket and washing with good old-fashioned soap and cold water, at least we know our nutrition is taken care of.

There you have it, straight from an athlete who’s tried, tested and now can’t go without CLIF Bar. Nicki is one of hundreds of thousands of active Australians and athletes who place a huge amount of importance on nutrition.

Share Nicki and Matt’s adventure with your active customers and make sure you’ve got some CLIF Bars on the counter ready to go! 

Guest Blog: Niulife Sorts Fat From Fiction

For Managing Director, Richard Etherington, it’s always been about sharing more than a high quality range. So what is it that makes Niulife different and why will your customers love this brand?
Below Castaly Lombe, General Manager of Kokonut Pacific, gives you an insight into the brand, explains the popular ketogenic diet and shares the findings behind the fats present in Niulife’s Coconut Clarity.


Everyone has different dietary needs so we stay away from recommending prescriptive diets, but a ketogenic diet, where most calories are consumed as fat, is gaining enormous popularity, and for good reason.

Some of the benefits that have been observed are:

• Lose weight without being hungry
• Regulate blood sugar levels
• Heighten mental clarity and reduce “brain fog”
• Enhance mental performance
• Build more muscle
• Increase endurance and energy levels

It all sounds too good to be true!

But what is it exactly is a ketogenic diet?

First, it’s not new. Think about what your grandparents ate, protein and “three-veg,” with lashings of butter, cream and eggs. Turns out the wisdom of the ages might be right. This is a diet that is extremely low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and high in fat.

Our bodies generally use energy in the form of glucose from carbohydrates (carbs) as ready fuel. Think bread, pasta, rice and grains. All these foods, many of them processed, have been recommended as a large part of a “healthy” diet. That thinking is beginning to change, in fact between 2003 and 2013 the “recommended” serving size of grains was halved and the overall consumption reduced by Nutrition Australia.

The ketogenic diet turns the historically accepted (and somewhat unstable) food pyramid on its head. It moves the diet away from carbs, forcing the body’s metabolism, over time, to switch from burning glucose to burning fat. This is called Ketosis and it takes from a few days to a few weeks.

A true Ketogenic diet is about 75% fats,
20% protein and 5% carbohydrates.

YIKES! This type of diet is an enormous dietary change for someone who is used to eating carbohydrate filled diets. Therefore, it’s generally only taken up by elite athletes and people with specific medical conditions (under supervision of their doctor). Athletes such David Pocock, Australian Wallaby and former Australian Cricket Captain, Shane Watson for example, are advocates of the Ketogenic diet.

The great news is that recent studies suggest that many of the benefits of ketosis can be obtained without the strict dietary restrictions associated with a traditional ketogenic diet. This is achieved by adding “exogenous ketones” to your diet.

Exogenous meaning ‘external origin’, simply means that the Ketones are derived from outside your body instead of being produced internally, generally through nutritional supplements. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT or medium chain fatty acids) are a great way of getting exogenous ketones into your diet. Best found in saturated fats, they are converted in the liver into ketones and used for immediate energy – rather than storing them as fat in your body.

Recognising the considerable health benefits of exogenous ketones, Niulife created Coconut Clarity MCT+ – a formulated oil combining hand-made, fair-trade, organic virgin coconut oil sourced from the South Pacific, fortified with MCT, organic chia seed, flax seed, camelina and certified sustainable and orangutan-friendly red palm fruit oils. The formulation provides 2 times the sustained energy compared to straight MCT oils and many other health benefits such as all-natural plant based omega 3 and 9 in optimum levels.

How do your customers use Coconut Clarity?

The hard-core will scull 20mls, 3 times a day around their training and diet regimes. Those not looking to win a gold medal, can still benefit by adding it to salads, as a base for dressings, drizzling over vegetables, in smoothies and in any cold application where oil can be used. The omega 3 & 6 are heat sensitive, so we don’t recommend cooking with it.

My favourite is Coconut Clarity MCT+ and Niulife Balsamic Vinegar in equal parts on my salad or steamed vegetables, so easy and tasty. Here is another great salad dressing recipe to share with your customers. Also, Coconut Clarity MCT+ and organic grass fed butter in a long black espresso coffee is great as a breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up.

On top of offering health benefits, you’ll be helping your customers make a difference with each purchase. This is because 100% of profits from all Niulife products go towards erasing poverty, bringing hope and empowering lives. That’s a pretty powerful product purchase.

Discover the Niulife range on Unique’s online shop or find out more on the
Niulife website.

Guest Blog: 5 Point Detox Spring Cleaning

Inspired by the positive health benefits related to detoxing and driven to offer a simple, effective herbal solution, Jason Khawly is the proud face behind Point Pharma 5 Point
Detox products.
Below Jason explains why spring doesn’t just mean customers will be motivated to clean around the home, but they’ll also be looking for ways to cleanse their bodies.


Spring is such a perfect time for rebirth and renewal and the ideal time to spring clean our bodies, as well as our houses. Customers are now looking for a great way to detox, and 5 Point Detox is the ideal product. It’s simple, fast and effective.



The liquid form is ideal for those who find swallowing tablets impossible or for people with impaired digestive function. Liquids are the quickest way to introduce healing herbs into the body – unlike tablets which first have to be broken down before they can be absorbed by the body.

The usual saying used to be “you are what you eat”, however more and more people are recognizing that it is actually “you are what you can absorb”.

The unique 5 Point Detox formulation has been helping people for decades.

Consisting of 16 concentrated herbs, its synergistic blend strengthens and tones the entire digestive system and works together as an effective liver, kidney and
intestinal cleanse.

While some herbs work in assisting the body in the repair and maintenance of stressed organs, other herbs target the elimination of parasites and waste. It works in five key areas including as a liver detox and for digestive repair.


5 Point Detox Infographic


5 Point Detox is Australian made and owned.

To make sure that only the best, purest and uncontaminated ingredients are used, all herbal ingredients are extensively tested using HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) by Southern Cross University. This ensures not only the correct herb’s used but that the right sub species is used, which is vitally important when manufacturing any herbal therapeutic product.



There are no special diets to follow, no pills to swallow or shakes to make.

The powerful herbal ingredients produce results in most people within 24-48 hours and provide long lasting benefits within 7 days.

Cheaper than other detox products. One bottle lasts two full weeks making it extremely economical.



Excellent repeat and word of mouth purchases. Extensive advertising support to keep sales moving.

It’s a vital part of the naturopathic trio of “Weed, Seed and Feed”. It can be sold along with your recommended probiotic and multivitamin.

Its five areas of action make it a good choice for a wider range of conditions. It can be sold as a detox tonic, as a natural laxative, as a natural parasite control, for fluid retention and for digestive support.



As a concentrated liquid, the dosage is just 10ml (2 tsp) mixed in a full glass of water or juice, three times a day. It can also be taken as 15ml (3 tsp), twice a day.

Everyone is different, so the liquid form makes it very easy to adjust the dose to suit the individual.

For your customers that prefer to take it with juice, recommend blackcurrant/grape or blackcurrant/apple juice blends, as these best compliment the taste of the tonic.

For first timers or for those who may have parasites (customers who’ve travelled overseas) recommend a full month course of two bottles.

The usual course is one 500ml bottle for a two week detox or for a quick pick me up there is also a 250ml bottle for a seven day detox.



5 Point Detox is ideal for those looking for a natural solution for:
• Liver detox
• Tiredness
• Poor sleep
• Constipation
• Frequent Colds
• Skin Breakouts
• Fluid Retention
• Bloating and wind (flatulence)
• Parasite infestations
• Poor digestion
• Those looking for a general “pick me up” or a kick start when making positive lifestyle changes

Now is a great time to stock 5 Point Detox to take advantage of our nationwide shopping centre “Time to Detox” advertising campaign.

5 Point Detox Campaign


The campaign will spread awareness, encourage action and drive customers into your store ready and willing to start their detox journey.

Discover more about 5 Point Detox here.

Guest Blog: Food Matters Share Online Secrets


Alongside Laurentine ten Bosch, he has transformed Food Matters into a wellness hub, giving people essential tools to take charge of their health.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how he’s so successfully captured a huge online audience, below James shares his top 7 tips to supercharge your online presence.


It all started for us over 9 years ago when we created the film ‘Food Matters’.
The film was inspired by my father’s declining health and our determination to turn his health around. Since then, we have transformed the Food Matters brand into a global health and wellness hub to help those in need of daily health inspiration.

Our readers are always looking for new ways to improve their health and find new ideas for healthy recipes. This lead to the creation of our website foodmatters.com which is our main platform for sharing helpful tips and informative posts.

Along our journey, we’ve had to learn the best ways to reach the people who need it the most, and discovered some must-do’s to help improve the exposure of your website and the engagement of your readers throughout this process.

Today, we have over 2 million visitors to our website every month, and over 3.3 million social followers. So we wanted to share some of the key things we do to keep our audience connected, and ways you can help build your online presence too…

1 – Make sure your SEO is on point.
S-E-what?! SEO: Search Engine Optimization. In simple terms, this means making sure your website is easy to find. In order to have people land on your website they need to know that you exist. In order to be found, ensure that your headers contain keywords that you think your audience will be searching for. The more keywords that you use in titles and headers, the more likely you are to rank highly in a Google search. SEO can get pretty technical, so if this isn’t something you’re confident with, look at outsourcing or getting assistance from a professional.

2- Keep your pages clean and user friendly.
When someone lands on your page they want to easily find what they’re looking for. Be sure to include white space and leave out the clutter. This will prevent users from leaving your page if they feel overwhelmed by too much information. Make sure your headings are clear so users know exactly where to find the information or product they are searching for.

3 – Add fresh, unique photos that depict your brand well. A picture tells 1000 words!
Does the picture that you have posted correspond with exactly what you’ve been writing about? Can people look at the image and know exactly what your article or product is all about? Use unique images where possible and make sure they clearly tell the story of what your product or article is about, and always keep it consistent with your overall brand.

4 – Write in the language and tone of your target market.
You need to know who you’re speaking to, how they want to engage with you, and the tone of voice that goes on inside their head. Use language suitable to the people you’re engaging with. If you have a serious or more formal audience – use language that matches this. If you have a young, more relaxed audience, use the language that corresponds best with them. Are you using slang words, abbreviations, particular spellings or metrics that are unique to your audience? Speak the language your audience can relate to.

5 – Consistently produce content.
Blogs are essentially new-aged magazines but on a much more personal level. Blogging is the perfect way to share topics that you love. The great thing about blogging is that you can also tailor your content to answer exactly what your readers have questions about, whether it’s about you or your product. Share blog posts often and don’t be afraid to share the blog post more than once.

6 – Setting up an ecommerce store requires a bit of patience.
Setting up your own online store is a fantastic goal. However, what if you could take the pressure off while still creating a quality platform for your users? Platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce are great services that you can use to get your store started if you don’t have an in-house developer.

7- Stay social.
Connect with your readers on a regular basis, and connect on the platforms that they frequently visit – it may be Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest depending on your audience. Keep the conversation going by sharing other people’s content, asking questions, and giving a behind the scenes look into your company.
This makes you both personable and relatable and helps to build a long-lasting relationship with your audience.

Guest Blog: Comvita Sweetens Skincare


With their range expanding from Manuka honey through to natural remedies and skin care, Comvita‘s gained a reputable world-wide presence. Below Anya Lyudmilina, Comvita’s Trade Marketing Coordinator, explains why more consumers are choosing their skin care as a year-round solution for itchy, irritated, inflamed skin.


For centuries, honey has been used in skin care, wound care and healing.* The ancient use has since been supported with studies recognising that Manuka honey may help in managing minor wounds and skin healing.^

Medical grade Manuka honey is clinically proven to promote wound healing and provide symptomatic relief of dry sensitive skin and eczema.** It assists with the control of colonising bacteria commonly associated with eczema and helps to retain moisture.

Medical grade antibacterial Manuka honey for skin is produced under strictly controlled conditions and when applied to cracked and inflamed skin such as eczema and dry skin it creates a soothing and calming effect.

Not all products containing Manuka honey are the same quality. Give your customers confidence with MEDIHONEY® Natural Eczema Care System. It is formulated with medical grade Manuka honey plus other proven natural ingredients to create the most effective solution to help soothe and relieve eczema skin irritations and flare ups. It can be used on eczematous skin, cracked heels, dry skin, rashes, scars and reactions plaster.


Medical grade Manuka honey assists with the control of colonising bacteria commonly associated with eczema. It also helps relieve itchy, irritated skin and retain moisture. This unique ingredient can act like a sponge on the skin. It helps to pull water up from the lower skin layers and lock it in for longer lasting hydration, thus minimising skin dryness and irritation. Aloe vera also helps improve skin hydration and relieve inflammation, while chamomile assists soothing skin irritations.

Suffering from eczema, Amy is a MEDIHONEY® user and a huge advocate.

Amy - Comvita

“Life before Medihoney was embarrassing,
I was self-conscious because of my rash, and now
after Medihoney, I don’t have to worry
about that anymore. It’s given me a sensation
that I feel free of eczema. It’s great.”



Restoring and maintaining a healthy skin barrier is one of the most important priorities for anyone suffering from eczema. A healthy skin barrier protects from potential allergens thus reducing the risk of infection.

1. MEDIHONEY® Natural Skintensive Cream – an intense hydrating cream designed to protect and nourish very dry skin.
2. MEDIHONEY® Natural Eczema Cream – specifically formulated to help soothe and relieve skin irritations and flare-ups.
3. MEDIHONEY® Antibacterial Wound Gel –scientifically researched and clinically proven, this specialised gel is designed to help heal and protect infected, eczematous skin, cracked skin and eczema wounds.

Lorraine uses MEDIHONEY® to sooth her child Eloise’s irritated skin.

Eloise - Medihoney

“Before I used Medihoney, the inflammation was getting so bad that it started to bleed as well…”


MEDIHONEY® Natural Eczema Care Range is suitable for use by the whole family, including children, the elderly and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. The product is dermatologically tested and is suitable for even the most sensitive skin. It is recommended that customers patch test it on a small area of skin, if using for the first time.


There are no known adverse interactions with medicines or drug-condition interactions. It is suitable for use in conjunction with cortisone creams. It can be used on dry skin conditions, eczema skin irritations and inflamed skin in both pregnancy and breastfeeding. If customers are using it to prevent cracked skin on the nipple area, ensure they know to wash off thoroughly with warm water, prior to breastfeeding.


Apply a small amount to clean, dry skin three times a day or as required. Let your customers know to smooth it onto the skin in the direction of hair growth and reapply after bathing. When using for the first time, remind them to patch test it on a small area.


• Dermatologically tested for sensitive, dry and eczema prone skin
• pH balanced
• Suitable for the whole family, including pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers
• Specifically formulated for dry, itchy skin
• Free from parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate and petrolatum
• Free from synthetic fragrances and colours
• Not tested on animals


Discover more about the MEDIHONEY® range on the Comvita website.


*NCBI, 2008
^Science Direct, 2002
**Europe PMC, 2001

Guest Blog: More To Monica’s Mixes


Diagnosed with coeliac disease as a child, Monica has dedicated her working life to the development of truly delicious, gluten free recipes – from wholesome breads and wraps to mouth-watering cakes and tarts.

Using her skills and the experience of a lifetime spent in kitchens across the globe, Monica has created a range of gluten free recipes and wholefood baking mixes that tastes as good, if not better than the ‘real thing’.  With a passion for maintaining optimum health, Monicas Mixes are nutrient dense, nut-free and vegan. Take a read of the latest recipes she has lined up for your customers.  


Inspired by wholesome food, that’s gluten free and packed with nutrients, I’m always finding new ways to transform on-trend recipes to create healthier versions that are still super easy for anyone to follow.  That’s why the Monica’s Mixes range now includes three new mixes – Bread Maker Bread Mix, Chocolate Cake and
Banana Cake.

Monica's Mixes

Who wouldn’t love a chocolate cake that’s nutrient dense?!

One recipe that’s been in the spotlight recently is Food Matters Gluten Free Zucchini Bread. I have slightly altered this popular recipe to create a paleo, vegan and nut free version.

I’ve swapped in Monica’s Mixes Paleo Flour and removed the almond meal and eggs. It’s totally delicious toasted for breakfast and makes a hearty lunchbox addition. My go-to is a zucchini bread sandwich with cashew cheese, sliced avo, baby spinach and semi dried tomatoes. Your coeliac, vegan, even your health conscious and time aware customers will love this recipe!



3 tbls golden flax meal
¾ cup water
2 large zucchini, finely grated
2 ½ cups Monica’s Mixes Paleo flour
2 tbls chia seeds
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tbls fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp sea salt
¼ cup coconut or nut milk
¼ cup coconut oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 180º C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
2. Mix the flax meal and water and allow to gel while you prepare the remaining recipe.
3. Combine the dry ingredients together in one bowl, add the grated zucchini and toss to coat with the flour,
4. Whisk the wet ingredients, including the flax gel.
5. Add the wet to the dry and stir until just combined. Spoon into the tin and bake for 30-40 mins or until golden and cooked through.


Another go-to, that’s always a popular hit – for birthdays or any occasion, is a dense chocolate cake. It doesn’t get any easier with my decadent chocolate cake mix and ganache recipe! This ganache is the perfect finish for your customers’ (or your) Monica’s Mixes Chocolate Cake and incorporates all those good fats found in the superfood everybody can’t get enough of – coconut!




100g Alter Eco Dark Black Out Chocolate
8 tablespoons coconut cream
pinch of salt


1. Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl with the coconut cream and salt.
2. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water.
3. Whisk until melted.
4. Refrigerate until needed.

Note: The ganache will solidify but come back to a manageable consistency very quickly when removed from the fridge.


I’m regularly posting lots of gluten and grain free versions of popular recipes on my Instagram that you can easily share with your customers. Or post your own Monica’s Mixes creations and use the hashtag #glutenfreemonica to show your customers how they can experiment with the mixes and help them to expand their kitchen repertoire.

Guest Blog: Retailer Rates Wholesome Chow


Delicia, owner of Essentially Health, has built the business around customer satisfaction and only commits to selling products she and her team have tried and tested. With many of her customers looking for gluten free, vegan options, she gave Wholesome Chow’s range a go. Have a read at what she thought of the range. 

Fair warning, this post may speak strongly to your sweet tooth!


Avoiding wheat and gluten a few years ago left me feeling like I was missing out on the nice things in life. Delicious treats we all like to have every now and again like cakes, biscuits and bread.

When I’d attempt to make gluten free/wheat free alternatives, it was always a bit of a mission. Like many of my customers, making such treats meant I had to use copious amounts of ingredients and it would end up costing me more than the monthly mortgage (well, almost) especially if I wanted organic. And after all the hard work, I was never happy with the results.

This left me thinking, what about my customers? Would they give up on baking products, on cooking, on opting for healthy gluten free options? Would they be so unhappy with the lack of convenience in gluten free baking that they’d just never purchase again from my store? I never liked the thought of my customers being unsatisfied.

So I went searching for a solution.
What I found, was Wholesome Chow.

Wholesome Chow


I’d seen a lot of pictures of ‘drip cakes’, so I gave making one a go using Wholesome Chow products.


First, I made four, seven-inch chocolate cake mixes. I only had to add apple cider vinegar, non-dairy milk and oil to the Wholesome Chow cake mixes, it could not be any simpler (although I still managed to get my kitchen looking like a tornado had been in there)!

It literally took 10 minutes to mix the batter and then 25 minutes in the oven to bake.

While they cooled, I made the Wholesome Chow Vanilla frosting to go in-between each layer and then I used Wholesome Chow Chocolate Frosting to cover the outside and the top. All I had to add was vegan butter and milk.

I put the cake in the fridge for around 15 minutes to set.

Next, I melted some Alter Eco Dark Sea Salt with a 1/4 cup of Nakula Coconut Cream and let that drizzle over the top and down the sides of the cake and now I was getting excited!!!

I broke up some vegan honeycomb and placed it on the top and the side of
the cake.

In-between I placed The Chocolate Yogi frothy Toffee, Alter Eco quinoa and Black Out and mixed in some Rawganic coconut chocolate.

To add a little texture I sprinkled some Niulife flaked coconut and topped it off with a few organic strawberries.

I was really pleased with the result! Everybody loved it. The cake was light and fluffy, it was tasty and not artificial or dry (which is common for gluten free cakes).

This is a really special cake to make, but honestly, the mixes made it incredibly easy. It would be even easier for customers to whip up a regular cake using Wholesome Chow mixes!

Wholesome Chow have changed our world – my customers and my own!


After trying and testing it, creating a drip cake, we can now confidently recommend these amazing products to our valued customers.

Wholesome Chow make gluten free baking so easy, why wouldn’t customers
love them?!

Guest Blog: Your Guide to Matcha


Since Zen Green Tea was established, Erin has always ensured that the brand is 100% transparent. She lets customers in, builds brand trust and openly shares the ins and outs of Zen Green Tea Matcha.

Below Erin shares a brief recap of her recent trip to the Japanese tea fields where her Zen Green Tea Matcha is harvested and details the ins and outs of matcha. 


Japan really comes alive in spring with its gorgeous weather, beautiful cherry blossoms and tea harvest in full swing.

I took the month of May to visit Japan and be a part of our spring matcha harvest and also to explore a little more of the beautiful country that inspires
my business.

I started my trip in Tokyo, exploring the hustle and bustle of the city and also some crazy matcha creations (matcha waffles, tarts, soft serves).

For any food lovers, you have to try the Yakitori restaurant alleyways at Shinjuku. These narrow, wood clad alleys are filled with tiny restaurants – each with only four to eight seats that serve up traditional cuisine, such as delicious noodles and vegetable skewers.

Erin in Japan

The Yakitori retaurant alleyways at Shinjuku.


After exploring the city, I headed down to our tea plantations and factories in Kyoto.

Kyoto is a gorgeous city, much less frenetic than Tokyo and it’s a shrine lover’s heaven!

We support family owned small tea farms in Kyoto, so I was picked up on the first morning by young tea farmer Toshio, whose father owns one of our plantations. Excitedly we drove out into the country side to Uji, a place in Japan renowned for its high quality matcha.

There is something so serene about
the rolling green tea plantations!

We arrived at Toshio’s family farm and I could already see that their harvest was well underway.

Harvest time for these family farms brings the whole community together, where for two weeks every niece, aunt, grandmother and sister are out there in the fields hand picking the finest leaves.

I spent the day under the shaded bamboo tarps learning from Toshio how they select the best leaves to be picked for matcha. Next I was taken to their co-op processing facility onsite where the leaves are immediately steamed and then dried, sorted, destemmed and deveined. After this I toured the freezing (-35 degree) storage facility that preserves the nutritional content of the leaves.

Matcha Storage Facility

The freezing -35 degree Celcius storage
facility, where the matcha is preserved.


The next day I was taken to our matcha processing plant. I was clad head to toe in hygienic robes and after being blasted in an air seal, I was permitted entry into the strictly HACCP controlled matcha plant. Here I saw the handmade granite stone mills turning the finest tencha green tea leaves into our vibrant green matcha powder.


Matcha processing plant

The handmade granite stone mills in the
matcha processing plant.


A trip to Japan  isn’t the only way you can discover the wonders of matcha (although I do highly recommend it). Take a look at the below matcha fast facts and arm yourself with knowledge you can share with your customers.

Matcha green tea is the whole green tea leaf which is briefly steamed, dried and ground into a fine vibrant green powder. The powder dissolves in water so you consume the whole tea leaf, not just the steeped water. As a result matcha green tea contains 137 times the antioxidants of standard green tea.

Matcha Powder

Not all matcha brands are created equal. Many cheaper varieties are simply pulverized tea leaves from Korea or China, which do not undertake any of the production processes used to create authentic matcha. It is the traditional process which boost the Chlorophyll, amino acids and antioxidants and give matcha its incredible non-bitter taste.


These are the traditional steps that Zen Green Tea uses to produce its premium matcha:


The finest matcha comes from the tea leaves harvested in spring in Japan, which produces the highest quality. In the final weeks before the leaf harvest, the tea farmers shade a portion of the plantation with bamboo tarps to block the amount of sunlight to the tea leaves. This shading process forces the tea plants to work harder for sunlight so they ramp up their Chlorophyll and amino acid production. This turns the shaded portion of the tea plantation into a beautiful dark green colour.

Matcha Pic 1

Shaded tea plantation that will be used to make
matcha. Take note of the gorgeous dark colour
of the leaves from the Chlorophyll.


We support family run tea farms, so the harvest season is a time when the whole community (uncles, nieces, cousins, grandparents) comes together to pick the tea leaves. The finest, young tea leaves known as ‘tencha’ are handpicked.


Immediately after the leaves are picked they are briefly steamed. This deactivates the enzymes to lock in the high level of antioxidants and nutrients. The leaves then undergo the rigorous process of destemming, deveining and grading to ensure the best leaf flesh is set aside for matcha.

Steaming and grading

Matcha is destemmed, deveined and
graded by hand


The leaf flesh is dried in a clay oven and then bundled and stored in freezers at -35 degrees Celsius. Storing the leaves at this temperature keeps the enzymes on pause so that they maintain their quality until the leaves are needed.



We secure a certain amount of these high quality Tencha leaves at the start of the harvest and then throughout the year, we continue to order our matcha production in small quantities. This means our factory only takes the Tencha leaves from storage and carefully mills them through handmade granite stone mills upon order, ensuring freshness. These stone mills turn the leaf flesh into fine matcha particles. This helps to give our matcha a uniquely smooth texture.

Matcha pic 2

Hand made granite stone mills grinding
matcha to a fine, smooth powder.


You can share these few key points with your customers on how matcha is different to standard green tea:

• Matcha is the whole tea leaf which dissolves in water, so you consume a much higher level of antioxidants (10 X standard green tea).

• High quality matcha has no bitterness as it is not processed as heavily as standard green tea

• Matcha has incredibly high levels of Chlorophyll, amino acids and antioxidants because of the shading process.


The key health benefits of high quality matcha include:


Matcha assists with weight loss and weight management in four specific ways:

• Helps boosts fat burning: A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming matcha can raise the bodies fat burning rate (thermogenesis) from the normal 8-10% to 35-43%.

• Can help reduce fat absorption: Matcha can help block the ability of digestive enzymes to break down fat, so the amount of fat entering cells is reduced and instead this fat is passed through the body in digestion.

• Helps to reduce hunger: Matcha can help regulate the hormone Leptin, helping to reduce hunger cravings.

• Can assist in reducing stress: Matcha can help reduce stress and as a result your body does not produce as much of the stress hormone Cortisol, which is a known contributor to stubborn midsection fat.



Matcha is a natural source of sustained energy due to the unique way it delivers caffeine into your system.

With matcha the natural tea caffeine is absorbed and released slowly by the body over a period of hours. This means that matcha provides a sustainable energy boost and does not deliver the rapid 30 minute spike, slump and ‘jitters’ associated with coffee.

You will feel alert, energized and calm when you drink matcha. This is perfect for marahon runners, who need constant and sustained energy.


Matcha Energy Graph



Matcha has an anti-inflammatory effect on the immune system. The more matcha you drink or use in your food, the better allergic reactions (IGE) are suppressed.

The catechins and L-Theanine in matcha have an anti-viral effect on the flu. The EGCGs have an anti-bacterial effect on different sickness-causing micro-bodies, including Candidias Albicans. Matcha also inhibits the growth of parasites.

Matcha thus helps to curb infections, clear up free radicals, reduce oxidative damage and protect the kidneys.


Matcha contains the highest levels of disease fighting EGCG antioxidants only found in green tea. Researchers have reported that the EGCG in matcha prevents free radicals from damaging cells.



It’s not just a tea. There are so many uses for matcha! It is the perfect ingredient in smoothies, baking, lattes and even as an antioxidant rich face mask!

I have compiled some of my favourite recipes into an eBook. Download the Zen Green Tea Recipe E-Book for free and share it with your customers!


If you are looking to plan a trip to Japan soon, here’s a couple places I highly recommend you visit!


While visiting the World Tea Festival in Shizuoka, I took a little overnight trip to the Izu Penninsula. It really surprised me with its blue coastlines and beauty. I stayed at a gorgeous hotel/hostel called ‘K’s House’ which was a one-hundred year old traditional inn.

It was right on a stream so at night you can hear the trickling of water. It also had beautiful hot spring baths – both a private one to enjoy alone or a larger one to enjoy with other guests.

I did a beautiful walk around Mount Omuro. You catch a cable car up to the top and there is a short walking track around the rim of the grass covered volcano with stunning views!

IZU PENNINSULAThe stunning view at Izu Penninsula.


I took a half day trip from Hiroshima by ferry to Mirajima. It’s a gorgeous little island that houses a famous floating Tori Gate. It has all the beautiful traditional style Japanese buildings and some great Shrines. The island is full of friendly deer too! I took a 2 hour hike up the mountain to reach a lovely view point and Shrine at the top. Highly recommend a trip here and if it’s within budget, a stay overnight in a traditional Japanese Ryokan.

MIRAJIMA ISLAND (OFF THE COAST OF HIROSHIMA)A traditional Japanese Ryokan in Mirajima.


You can discover our whole Zen Green Tea range on the Unique online shop, and also connect with us on Instagram and on Facebook.