Migraine Relief Caps: How we launched of a $100m industry

9 mins read

How product innovation combined with an effective marketing strategy created a brand new segment in the health and wellness category

We set a unique challenge for our Magic Gel brand; to produce a market leading product where we could compete primarily on product design and differentiated creatives. But finding space for this innovation was difficult; the hot and cold gel packs niche is an established market with high demand and intense competition.

All of the existing incumbents were satisfying the market and there was a continual downward pressure on pricing.

This is the story of how we navigated this crowded space and hit the jackpot with our Migraine Relief Caps, spurring the launch of a $100 million industry.

The Problem - Competition

In the health and wellness category, relatively unknown brands such as our Magic Gel and Medcosa brand often struggle to compete against established brands unless they are able to bring forward some kind of competitive advantage.

Take a simple example like paracetamol, or acetaminophen in the US, a generic pain reliever.

In order to compete on Amazon, brands must compete on price; to the point where 500 can be purchased for $8.69; after fees the selling brand likely makes less than 50c on each sale; or to put it another way – a tenth of a cent per tablet.
Without a strong, existing brand name such as Calpol or Neurofen – even if we had the exact same product formulations the competition is too fierce to generate a consistent profit.


June 2023

The Solution - Product Innovation

So without a brand that is known to the customer before searching we were unable to compete on branding, and we wanted to avoid the price war that plagues the market. We needed to focus instead on product innovation.

One of our team members is a chronic headache and migraine sufferer; during a meeting she had one of our Magic Gel ice packs balanced on her head the idea was sparked; “what if we manufacture an ice pack specifically for migraine relief?”

This is a tight fitting lycra cap that contains 18 individual ice pack segments; you simply place it in the fridge or freezer and place it on your head before or during a migraine attack.

We iterated on the on the design for around 6 weeks; using a modern glycerine and water combination to avoid freezing at low temperatures; producing several size variations before we began testing.

The Perfect Product for Ecommerce

The responses were spectacular; every single person who tried it on loved it; giving us every single aspect of a great ecommerce product:

  • The unit cost was under $4; and it had a retail price point of $39; high margin.
  • Headaches and Migraines are suffered by 42% of the worldwide population; large market cap.
  • It looked strange, it draws the eye and is intensely clickable; high click through rate.
  • It would get incredible feedback and generating UGC (user generate content) would be very easy; fantastic customer reviews.
  • It would have a strong possibility of virality because of it’s uniqueness; viral.
  • It would rank for terms broader than the product itself. Rather than “Ice pack for head” it would rank for “headache relief”; much shorter and higher demand keywords; high demand.

Moreover, apart from over-the-counter drugs, there were hardly any other legitimate migraine relief options available. Most of the products that appeared in search results for ‘migraine relief’ were essentially placebos with no proven effectiveness.

Crafting a listing designed to convert

We focussed our imagery around the ‘relaxing’ feeling that the cap provides. We coined the phrase “Create a Quet, Dark, Calm and Cool”, environment; and this copy resonated with the customers who were unfamiliar with the concept of putting on a cold cap.
We launched in 2018 and focussed heavily on PPC for short tail keywords such as “Migraine Relief”. We knew within 6 months we had a winning product; as we saw constant growth from day one.
Over the course of the next few years we secured organic placements from the New York Times and a number of viral Social Media platforms.

The Return of the Competition

Amazon is a competitive battleground, and it wasn’t long before other brands began to take notice of the sales and ultimately the potential profit of the Migraine Relief Cap. They quickly moved to mimic every feature of our product.

The Challenge of Brand Recognition

Because Magic Gel is a relatively new brand, it doesn’t command strong brand loyalty. Brand affinity must exist before the search takes place in order for it to influence click through rate and conversion rate.

This means when customers search for “Migraine Cap,” they find themselves overwhelmed with over 100 virtually identical offerings from unfamiliar brands. In this scenario, marketing strategies become a contest of price and promotions, as both the product and fulfillment methods are easily replicated.

The Commoditization Effect

This eventually led to a dilution of the market. Prices dropped, and sales got distributed across a multitude of competitors. At the time of this writing, Amazon features 334 different variations of migraine caps, with prices ranging from $6.99 to $49.99.

We found ourselves just another fish in a vast sea, playing by the same rules as everyone else.

A Look at Sales Data

However, it’s worth noting the significant impact we’ve had on this market. Before our entry, it was virtually non-existent. Now, at least 100,000 units are being sold every month, a trend that has held for the past four years.

Despite the growing competition and falling prices, the Migraine Cap remains a monumental success for us. We’ve sold over 250,000 units, and the product was a major contributor to the sale of our brand in 2021.

The Future: Licensing Opportunities

Should an established medical brand—let’s say, the UK’s NHS—decide to enter this market, they would likely experience only slightly better performance when the market is in its infancy. . However, as the market matures as it has now, the brand equity of an established name could translate to more consumer trust, resulting in more clicks, more sales, and the ability to command higher prices.

The opportunity is stronger than ever for established brands to compete on online marketplaces; which is why we believe that licensing is the moat for Amazon FBA; and why we’re so dedicated to reaching out to brand owners and agents to get a piece of this ever growing ecommerce space.