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Oxygen Plus pumps up, breathes easier

May 21, 2013 3 min read

    Oxygen Plus pumps up, breathes easier

    Oxygen Plus Inc. had a website that many customers couldn’t access, a muddled message and few products for sale in stores when it met with a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal panel of experts earlier this year. Four months later, things look different for the Minnetonka canned-air seller.

    Oxygen Plus Founder and President Chris Warren and CEO Andre Peschong said in an interview that the company is getting ready to roll out a new website that will more accurately target key consumers. Also, it’s working on a deal with an unidentified nutrition retailer, which may sell a private-label version of Oxygen Plus’ products.

    “[We] have a plan to move this company forward that is really solid,” Warren said.

    A new Oxygen Plus website should go live within 30 days, Warren and Peschong said.

    When Oxygen Plus participated in the Business Journal’s workshop session, our panelists were surprised to find that the company’s website was incompatible with popular computing devices and applications. The new site will address that shortcoming and be easier for marketing affiliates and customers to use.

    The new site also will offer one-click buying and, for more regular customers, an option to periodically receive more products and be billed automatically.

    “The easier you make the buying experience, the better,” Peschong said.

    The company already sells its products through other websites. However, if the firm’s discussions with the retailer go well, Oxygen Plus could have cans on the shelves of 800 stores by September, Peschong said.

    Oxygen Plus also plans to spend more on direct-to-consumer marketing, a strategy that will be simpler than the company’s previous approach, where it touted all of the product’s purported benefits indiscriminately to see what stuck.

    They’ve decided to hone in on two specific groups: sports-oriented users, such as high-elevation skiers, and health and wellness customers.
    Proactive marketing to these groups through social-networking sites and other online venues will bring potential customers to Web pages custom-made for mountain bikers or skiers, with different pitches tailored to the associated activity.

    “We’ll be able to define which message is having the highest impact,” he said.

    Following the advice of the panel to reach out to influencers with the product, Warren is hitting the health and wellness expo circuit to meet with investors, leaders and trendsetters.

    The company also will continue to pitch its products to a more broadly defined third group of users: consumers who want an energy boost, hangover cure or improved focus. Oxygen Plus wants to reach those people at the places they frequent. For instance, to reach students, Oxygen Plus may market its cans at college bookstores.

    Other adjustments should have a more direct impact on the company’s top and bottom lines. Oxygen Plus is trying to reduce the cost of making the oxygen cans. It’s also increased prices on some products by between 20 and 25 percent.

    “No one has taken issue with it,” Warren said. “I always thought we were underpriced.”

    With those changes in the works, the company expects revenue to grow to $1 million in 2011, compared to $300,000 last year.

    “We feel that the timing is right, our product is right and we have a competitive advantage,” Peshong said.

    Oxygen Plus Inc.
    Founded: 2005
    Business: Sells portable oxygen canisters
    Founder and president: Christine Warren
    CEO: Andre Peschong
    Headquarters: Minnetonka
    2010 revenue: $300,000 (down $480,000 from 2009)
    Web: oxygenplus.com

    jhammerand@bizjournals.com | (612) 288-2138

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