3 business models and websites to consider


Editor’s note: In the article, Peter answers how to organize an e-commerce solution effectively based on the type of drug to sell. If you also plan to move your online pharmaceutical business, help from ScienceSoft’s e-commerce consulting team it will be valuable.

The pharmaceutical segment is not the largest in the U.S. e-commerce market. But the situation of COVID clearly showed an extreme vulnerability of consumer companies that depend solely on traditional traffic. Therefore, I hope that more medical companies will be digitized soon, pharmacies among others type of healthcare e-commerce business.

The online transition will require you to rethink your business processes, and in the next few minutes, I will help you establish the direction of your new online business model. I tailor an e-commerce website to the specifics of online pharmacies. Choose the part of the article dedicated to the type of medication you are selling and feel free to do so contact our team if you need deeper professional involvement in your business.

Sell ​​prescription drugs online

You may assume that the idea of ​​selling prescription drugs online is risky because it requires you to:

  • Compliance with government regulations.
  • Creating a trusted online environment.
  • Strict control of the legitimacy of medical needs and, therefore, of the sale of medicines.
  • Possibility to accept electronic prescriptions.

Solve the first two questions by obtaining the appropriate accreditation. NABP, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, investigates and confirms compliance of online pharmacies with nationally approved pharmaceutical practice standards. By seeing the NABP badge on your website, customers will feel safe against counterfeit pills.

At ScienceSoft we usually help you solve the remaining challenges with one custom ecommerce website. Implementation approaches may vary depending on your business objectives.

This model works best for you if your business is for patients with common medical needs. Scheduled delivery of prescribed medications is a great help for clients receiving long-term treatment or managing chronic illnesses and eliminates the stress of timely, critical replacements for a health condition. Personally, I see this opportunity as an evolution of the pharmacy business as it takes patient care to a new level.

In this case, no product catalog is required. The user’s route to implement it on the website is developed as follows: a user registers on the website, sends the payment details and the necessary medical records (medical insurance number, doctor’s information). As an online pharmacy, you always need an original prescription to avoid reusing it, so offer it to users by mail or deliver it in person. Alternatively, and in a more convenient way for your clients, you can install electronic prescription software to receive and process electronic prescriptions directly from physicians.

Technically, customers do not place orders – your team processes the prescription and chooses a brand and drug manufacturer based on the user’s health insurance and available stock. A schedule for recurring delivery is then established.

Check out the PillPack website to see this user journey in action.

From the experience of ScienceSoft, I guess this model is best suited for niche pharmacies with a fairly limited selection of drugs. It involves users registering and submitting medical data as a first step. During the next visit and after processing and approving their records, they only access the selection of medications and their prescribed amount for their illness. This reliably prevents misuse or overuse of medications.

Sale of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals online

With over-the-counter medications, you can apply a standard e-commerce implementation model that allows for proper management of a product catalog, promotions, payment, payment, and orders. When you sell over-the-counter pills online, you do not need to impose strict control over the validity of the prescription. However, do not shy away from any responsibility for the use of medications: excessive or incorrect medication can cause adverse effects and endanger health. I recommend the following measures to protect the health of your customers:

  • Give the most complete description of the medicine on the website: directions and precautions, ingredients, instructions for use, possible side effects.
  • Limit the amount of medicine to order.

The technical issues resolved, I must mention a business challenge to be faced: a fast delivery of small volume orders is required, which can question their profitability. Of course, you can always increase the cost of delivery, but your customers can just as easily buy from your competitors who offer better delivery terms. Instead of playing with delivery prices, I suggest tackling the challenge at a strategic level. You can consider expanding your product portfolio and offering items for personal care and housekeeping. To illustrate the idea, check out how Bé.ca offers its customers both health and wellness products.

Sale of prescription and over-the-counter medications online

On a single website, you have to separate two travel scenarios from users: to buy over-the-counter items and to order prescription drugs. Your e-commerce solution should include:

  • Product catalog with items available to all users: over-the-counter medications, wellness and beauty items, household and pet items.
  • Integration with an electronic prescription solution to manage prescription medication.
  • A personalized personal account where users can track and refill over-the-counter and over-the-counter sales orders.

For example, HealthWarehouse is one of the companies that wanted to go beyond the prescription pharmacy business and became a complete supplier of assorted healthcare products.

It’s time to add E to your pharmacy business

The global e-pharmacy market is predicted to grow almost 5 times to $ 128 billion by 2023. If you want to get a piece of this pie, don’t hesitate and start taking steps toward your online presence right now. Let me give you some advice: for the development of electronic medical websites, choose proactive professionals with a strong consulting attitude, because it is important to bring to light hidden challenges that can be critical to business success. If this model of cooperation resonates with you, feel free to do so involve the ScienceSoft team for work.

Are you planning to expand your online business? We will translate your ideas into smart and powerful e-commerce solutions.

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