We have entered into an age of rapid delivery and it definitely doesn’t stop at retail. The technological advancements have made online retailing much more user friendly and efficient these days. E-commerce marketing has grown tremendously in the last few years and it is sweeping across all industries, including the healthcare sector. Healthcare forms one of the major sources of revenue generation for the e-commerce market. Over the past few years, e-commerce has transformed the healthcare sector’s face and this article will shed light on the major impacts e-commerce has had on the healthcare industry.
The online shopping has transformed the way in which healthcare products end up in the hands of customers. Customers are running towards online shopping for making their daily pharma purchases. They make heavy purchases of medical equipment using e-commerce sites like CVS, Wal greens and Amazon.com.
There are a number of pharmaceutical companies which are developing web and mobile applications to facilitate online retailing of their products and handle the healthcare demands of the customers. Start-ups like Capsule Cares and Pill Pack have launched their own specific business models to grab the online pharmaceutical market and ensure faster delivery of the products to the patients. They have launched their respective applications which allow them to handle the patient queries and order medicines directly from the application. Apart from this, the medical device manufacturers are also turning their ways towards e-commerce industry for selling medical supplies and equipment. Not only this, even the investors are witnessing huge scopes in the e-commerce healthcare industry and are lending huge investments. The acquisition of Pill Pack by Amazon in 2018 for a whopping amount of approximately $1 billion, serves as the best example for the above claim.
Just like the others, care has also initiated creeping into the e-commerce industry. There are a number of applications and websites like Doctor 2U, First Opinion and Practo, which are flourishing a new form of e-commerce in healthcare, known as tele medicine. These websites allow the patients to get advice from the doctors over live chat and eliminate the need for travelling to a doctor’s office. However, in-person examinations and tests still require physical presence of the patients. The doctors can suggest prescriptions through chat and the prescribed medicines can be easily bought online using these websites. These practices improve overall healthcare experience of the patients and the entire treatment can be taken by patients sitting in their homes.
With the increased use of the internet for accessing medical care, upgradation in the quality of online presence is essential for online healthcare service providers. They need to be aware of the ways which can enhance their market presence and lift their transactions. Referrals can prove to be very helpful in doing the same. People tend to prefer visiting the places or even hospitals which are referred to them by their friends, family or relatives. The online reviews play a vital role in shaping the perceptions of a person about a place and services offered by it. The healthcare providers need to ensure that they get good reviews for the services they offer. The information displayed on the company website needs to be monitored and a decent online reputation of the company must be preserved. Services like Yelp can be exceptionally good for the healthcare providers to manage their online reputation. The satisfied patients can also use the review services to share their positive health outcomes.
The healthcare service providers need to design their websites in a user-friendly manner. The applications need to be mobile friendly as most of the internet traffic comes from the users who access the internet using tablets and smartphones. Despite this, mobile web traffic is often undervalued. According to statistics, about 84% of consumers have registered complaints about facing technological glitches while accessing the mobile websites. Out of these, about 40% of users switched to a competitor’s site after having a bad website experience on mobile. A mobile-friendly web design offers incredible potential to the healthcare providers to attract their customers. Quality healthcare mobile websites must ensure a short server load time, offer easy navigation options and must highlight the specialities of physicians in patient care.
In addition to all the above features, e-commerce provides a platform to hospitals and doctors for streamlining the purchases of their medical supplies and equipment. Medical device and equipment manufacturers are constantly turning towards e-commerce sites to sell and deliver their products. But this process also comes with a challenge to deliver high quality products to the customers within prescribed time. There are a number of websites available in the cyberspace, connecting medical equipment suppliers directly to buyers all across the globe.
In a nutshell, it can be stated that e-commerce is reshaping as well as revolutionizing the healthcare industry. It can provide almost all healthcare facilities to consumers without leaving the comfort of their home. Thus, it is crucial for the healthcare providers to harness this powerful force of transformation with innovative thinking.