Medicines are always in demand, and more and more people have recently started buying them not only in a pharmacy near the house but also online. In 2020, the medication segment accounted for approximately 76% of the U.S. online pharmacy market share.
There are many more requirements for starting an online pharmacy than for opening a web store selling clothes, books or other goods. The pharmacy business needs a license to sell medicines, and the owner needs a specialized pharmaceutical or medical education and at least three years of work experience in the specialty. In addition, you must own or rent a warehouse for storing medicines that meets the requirements of the local health authorities.
Moreover, some countries may have particular regulations on the labelling of goods, and all medicines may be subject to mandatory labelling. It is also important not to forget about this and prepare for this process in advance.
The easiest way to create an online drug store is having an offline pharmacy: you will not have to bother with documents and hire staff. But even if you work only online, your pharmacy can become a success.
Below we discover what you need to do to organize a profitable online pharmacy. Stay tuned!
Online Pharmacy: 8 Steps On The Way To Success
Online pharmacies operate around the clock as medicines or medical supplies may be needed at any time of the day or night. That is why organizing such a business seems promising and profitable.
We’ve collected 8 steps you can follow to build a successful online pharmacy business.
Define the target audience
Ordering medicines online can be especially convenient for those who are sick and do not want to go out: parents with small children, and remote workers. People often order medicines for home delivery to their elderly and disabled relatives.
Determine the assortment
A pharmacy may have hundreds of medicines in stock, if not thousands. In addition to medicines, your assortment may include products for babies, hygiene items (from pads to wet wipes), dietary supplements, cosmetics, and various medical devices (from stethoscopes to blood pressure monitors).
Look for reliable suppliers
It is most convenient to interact with various large suppliers for different product categories: some may specialize in medicines, others in medical devices, and others in cosmetics, hygiene products or goods for children.
Create an online store
To organize an online drug store, you need to create a website with a catalogue and fill out the cards of all products as detailed as possible. To stand out from competitors, it is better to set prices a little lower than offline, then buyers will come to you also to save money.
Organize discounts and bonuses to attract customers, various payment and delivery methods. When a customer orders medicine to a certain amount, it makes sense to offer free delivery.
Post reviews for your products. Most clients who are far from the world of medicine do not understand all the names of drugs, so a recommendation from a specialist can help them make a purchase.
Provide expert consultations
It is clear that a simple manager or salesperson is not enough here: you or your employee must have a medical or pharmaceutical education. Only a doctor or pharmacist will be able to give competent recommendations and answer questions of interest to customers. Remember that the health and even the life of your customers depend on this, so take this item seriously.
The best option would be to communicate via a phone call, but we would advise you to make an online chat widget on the website of the online store – for young and progressive ones. Try both options: if the chat does not work, just turn it off.
Organize medicine delivery
Be sure to arrange delivery to customers’ homes or any other places convenient for them: a person can need medicines anywhere. Hire a courier with a personal car who will always be in touch: delay in this business may sometimes become literally like death. Be sure to negotiate the terms and conditions of delivery and do not break your promises.
Will drug delivery be free? You can set a certain threshold, after which you are obliged to bring medicines for free.
Promote an online store
To keep the site alive and informative, hire a copywriter to blog about medical and related topics. Consider employing a person who has a medical education or experience and can write on topics, carefully checking information and filtering anti-scientific facts.
The pharmacy is promoted by advertising in search engines and social networks. Keep in mind that various audiences have different preferences in social networks. You can run video ads on TV and YouTube. Unlike many other Internet businesses, even paper flyers in stores and ads in elevators and porches in nearby areas can work here.
Attract buyers to promote your business. Word of mouth works, especially if you provide bonuses and discounts for referrals. To improve your reputation, you can participate in thematic exhibitions, conferences, as well as charity events to help orphans, the sick and the elderly.
The sale of medical products allows not only to earn money but also to help people by improving their health and quality of life.
Win the customers’ trust
Any company dreams of winning the trust of customers. But in the field of online drug sales, this is not just a nice bonus, but also a vital necessity. People trust you with the most valuable thing: their health, the health of parents and children – which means that your reputation must be impeccable.
Try the following tips:
- Manage your reputation:
Track and act on mentions of your brand. If you are praised, be sure to thank, but not with ordinary phrases, but sincerely. If scolded – apologize and try to make amends for the situation. Promise to take specific actions: punish a rude employee, expand the assortment, make deliveries throughout the city, and so on, or give a discount for moral damage;
- Engage word of mouth:
Let your customers tell their neighbours, friends, relatives about you. Incentivize people by offering a small discount for each positive review or referral. Your goal is to turn as many people as possible into your customers;
- Do charity work:
Go to an orphanage or a nursing home, bring medicines and other goods as a gift – this will add you to a thousand points. Become a sponsor of a sporting event or a healthy lifestyle holiday. Act as an expert at thematic lectures on medicine and healthy lifestyle. There are a lot of options: most importantly, show yourself as a respectable, serious company.
Wrapping Up: Possible Risks & Solutions
You should not start an online pharmacy business if you do not have a soul for this. Also, there is a big risk for those who do not initially have a financial “cushion” for the first six months. Naturally, in places with problematic access to the Internet, it makes no sense to open an online pharmacy. Another important point is that the prices for medicines on the Internet should be lower than usual. If you cannot adhere to this, then you should not start a business in this area.
And remember: starting an online pharmacy, you are not going to sell drugs – you are going to sell health and quality of life for many people. Make it your motto and treat your customers with understanding. And ask NEKLO specialists for help in case you have any issue with your ecommerce business – contact us through the form on our website and together we will find the solution.