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Medicines are one of the most sought after product groups. Demand for this category remains at a high level regardless of the population solvency. That is why pharmacies have always been distinguished by the stability of the revenue. Recently, the popularity of the pharmaceutical industry online has been growing. In our article we will talk about what is an online pharmacy app, how to create it, promote it, and what types of them there are.
What is an online pharmacy app?
An online/mail-order pharmacy is a pharmacy that works over the Internet and sends orders to customers through mail, transport companies, or the online portal of online pharmacies.
Pharmacy has good development prospects in e-commerce. This is due to the fact that it is convenient for customers to buy medicine online: often online pharmacies offer lower prices and faster goods delivery.
And if earlier buyers were afraid of dubious quality and inadequate storage conditions for medicine in such institutions, now such stereotypes are gradually being destroyed. Risks for ordinary customers are minimal, as online activities are regulated by industry guidelines along with offline pharmacies.
Active Internet users have already managed to appreciate multiple advantages of online pharmacies:
- flexible working hours. Virtual shopping has no time limits. The ability to order medicine early in the morning or at night attracts additional customers;
- complete privacy. Online pharmacies guarantee customer’s privacy. This is especially true for those who are embarrassed by their illness and want to avoid the public attention;
- simple and quick checkout. Users can purchase the necessary drugs in a relaxed atmosphere, without queues, without being distracted from household chores or work;
- a wide range of medicines. Often on specialized resources you can find something that is not available in stationary pharmacy points;
- contactless purchase. This software allows you to order medicines and get them at home without going outside and without putting anyone's health at risk.
- favorable pricing policy. In online stores, medicines are much cheaper. This is due to the lack of costs for renting retail space and a full-time staff.
What should be in an online pharmacy app in order to gain a competitive advantage?
The ecosystem around drug buying
Online pharmacies have a unique chance to completely transform the behavior of users by offering them not only an application with the function of buying medicines, but also the complete closure of all health-related needs:
- the opportunity to make an appointment with a doctor;
- live chat with a pharmacist;
- transfer of prescribed drugs from the photo immediately to the basket;
- recommendations of drugs analogues;
- reminders of the need for medication and running out of medication;
- automatic notifications when buying incompatible drugs;
- other functions.
The company that first implements these (or other) functions and combines them into a convenient interface will become a market leader, because users simply couldn’t leave it. Users interest in similar applications is also quite high. In the AppStore and Google Play, about 5% of applications are in the health sector.
Now, most companies on the website and in the application have a similar, but basic functionality that allows you to choose medicines, put them in a cart and order delivery or pickup from a nearest pharmacy.
Even the most convenient website won’t force the buyer to return to the pharmacy if delivery was delayed for two days, the courier was rude, and the dosage was mixed up. Along with delivery, a convenient pick-up point near your home or work can affect the purchase decision, which is especially true for small or urgent orders.
The assortment is also one of the key factors when choosing a pharmacy and making a purchase. On average, about 8 thousand medicines are presented on pharmacy websites, and the number of cosmetic items varies from 1.5 thousand to 29 thousand. Many online pharmacies do not provide accurate assortment information.
The global transition of pharmacies to online theoretically makes it easier to compare drug prices. However, those buyers for whom price is a key factor in making a decision have previously used pharmacy price aggregator services. Most likely, many buyers will remain customers of the pharmacy, which interface and service will be the first to attract them when they get acquainted with the drug delivery service.
Pharmacies with a high cost of goods can fight for customer loyalty, providing impeccable service, online consultation, fast delivery and offering a wide range of convenient site and application. It's worth mentioning that the following patterns will be pronounced in online purchases:
- An urgent purchase of a completely predictable set of drugs: antipyretic and painkillers, drugs to treat the symptoms of acute respiratory viral infections, and drugs to relieve acute symptoms of other diseases. For this set of drugs, delivery within a few hours after the order is most relevant, and the price ceases to play a decisive role.
- Planned purchase of medicines for long-term use, including vitamins and dietary supplements, purchase of cosmetics, medical products. Delivery of these drugs won’t require to be urgent, and price competition will become tougher.
The understanding of these patterns will allow pharmacies to optimize pricing policies, warehouse logistics and ensure the necessary delivery speed.
It’s not enough to create an online pharmacy, you also need to bring information about it to the maximum number of people, and ideally persuade them to try to make an order on the website or in the application.
Here are some useful tips for promoting online pharmacies:
- Position yourself correctly for each group of customers. Do not sell to young girls drugs for potency increase, and to older ladies - the creams from teenage acne.
- Inform - tell everyone that you are now online. Team up with other companies, do mailing, hang up banners at offline points of sale, ask pharmacists to talk about the possibility of an online purchase. The main task now is to convey to people information about the ability to buy medicines online.
- Offer bonuses and discounts on your first purchase online or through the app. Once breaking the barrier, the user has a chance to consolidate the pattern of buying drugs online. Your chances increase if they downloaded the application, and you received their contacts.
- Go for the young customers - in a couple of years they will be the main core of your audience.
- Do not underestimate the importance of the UX / UI interface. We already talked about this, but make sure that it is convenient for the user to buy medicines in your application. This is really important!
- Affiliate programs. Find companies that are not your direct competitors, but work with the same target audience. Make a partnership with them that will benefit both of you.
And now let's move on to examples of software with some mentioned above features.
What are some examples of popular online pharmacy apps?
This popular app offers a fixed 20% discount on all medicines and bonus discounts on first orders. The application is quite convenient and easy to use; user can simply attach a doctor’s prescription online or call to order medicine.
This application requires some formalities during registration process. But it allows you to talk with your doctor if a visit is not possible. The availability of personal hygiene and wellness products from trusted brands, as well as the classification of drugs by type of treatment (homeopathy, allopathy) distinguish this application from others. Cashbacks on affiliate payment applications, offers for new customers and big discounts up to 40% are available for a number of medicines - all this is here.
Practo was developed exclusively for patient-physician interactions; The ability to order drugs was added later. The app delivers medicines and health products to more than 100 cities in India. The offers are divided into categories depending on the state of health, such as skin care, sexual health, weight control, pain relief, etc. You can search for doctors classified by specialty and directly contact them or the clinic to make an appointment.
In this article, we had barely touched the technical part of the issue, focusing on competitive advantages. The reason for this is that, from a technical point of view, the process of creating such an application is not much different from any other. Nevertheless, it is important to find a company that can take into account all your business needs and implement them in a custom solution. Using a ready-made template, you simply dissolve among your competitors, while a fully custom solution will allow you to fulfill all your plans. Do not forget about the presence of good contractors who implement this decision. Do the search properly. That's all!