When ecommerce first emerged as a viable solution for selling businesses to customers, there were platforms like Shopify, Amazon, and eBay that allowed ecommerce merchants to digitally set up websites and inventory, and sell items and merchandise online that were more unique Path. Most of this is old news to us today, but there are still markets that are making this shift.
While the distribution of pharmaceuticals can vary from country to country, all factors are subject to factors that make competition in the digital health market a complicated matter. Medicines are one of the newest categories of goods to be sold online. However, there are some noticeable differences between this and other goods available for sale in the e-commerce space.
There is more red tape, fewer put and put options, and more restrictions on how to sell certain businesses without breaking any rules.
Recognizing and using these differences to your advantage goes a long way in anticipating and responding to the evolution of the legacy pharmaceutical supply chain that has been underway since 2018 when Amazon acquired PillPack for $ 753 million – causing a sharp drop the stake resulted in value from companies such as CVS, Walgreens and RiteAid.
PillPack’s market appeal was based on the fact that the company had obtained a license to sell prescription drugs in all 50 US and was digitally designed from the start. something few of its competitors have been able to tackle.
Opportunities and regulations
As the digital health e-commerce space continues to grow, new opportunities emerge that enable businesses to act in the public interest by making healthcare accessible online – which is more important today than ever!
Before we dive into the new opportunities that are emerging in this industry, it’s important to understand the dynamics that have historically made it difficult to get into the digital health e-commerce space.
Regulatory issues and compliance with HIPPA are the biggest factors making telehealth services difficult to deliver. When Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996, it was designed to protect patient records. However, HIPPA also makes it difficult for a patient to access their own health records and transfer providers.
As bureaucratic as they may seem, these requirements are hurdles that are quickly overcome by an environment that is now rapidly evolving into a patient-centered model.
Earlier this year, the office of the National Coordinator for Health IT adopted new federal data exchange rules that allow patients to access their health information and share it with third-party apps. This, more than any other factor, will fuel a telemedicine economy for patients and make it easier for direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies to capitalize on this trend.
Take advantage of niche market restrictions
With the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, consumers in almost all industries went online. E-commerce activity increased across all industries and platforms, from food and beverages to home improvement and maintenance. The health sector is no exception; Recent global challenges have spurred the development of new health services that include not only medicines but also telemedicine options such as appointments, consultations and diagnoses.
The challenges associated with this particular e-commerce niche is that unlike e-commerce in general, there is more bureaucracy associated with the digital health space. Prescriptions may not be completed or dispensed, or doctors may not be contacted to prescribe certain medications, depending on a number of factors. All of this creates a barrier for consumers looking for immediate solutions to their health concerns.
Despite these limitations, the digital health industry continues to boom, even though anyone investing in this form of e-commerce needs to know the regulations and official procedures that go with the launch of these products.
For those entering the e-commerce space and interested in marketing in the digital health niche, knowing how to leverage these limitations to make a profit without breaking any regulations is important.
Development of end-to-end solutions
Selling directly to patients through a DTC telemedicine brand sounds attractive. However, starting without a basic understanding of the resources required can be daunting just because of all of the components that need to be considered when starting this type of business. Developing the solution is by far the hardest part – but by no means impossible.
Pharmaceutical companies typically delegate important areas of the customer journey to other parties, both for legal reasons and because these areas are outside the specialty of the pharmaceutical company. To be successful, an end-to-end solution must include telehealth, sales, prescribing, digital marketing and experience, as well as omnichannel capabilities.
Ultimately, a DTC telemedicine organization acts as an intermediary between a patient and a doctor. It is these companies that work with patients and providers to acquire and distribute the drugs or resources needed to improve patients’ quality of life, whether through skin care, prescriptions, or appointments.
Now more than ever, it is easier to overcome this complexity by providing a fully integrated patient solution and moving to direct marketing and ecommerce-specific ad units.
Many digital health companies focus on subscription prescriptions, a model in which medicines are distributed to customers on a regular basis (usually monthly or quarterly). While this is the most popular option, there are a number of factors to consider including shipping and tracking, HIPPA compliance, patient portals and other software, and country-specific certifications.
Capturing a product that requires consistent customer renewal, however, is a great way to step into the digital health e-commerce space and can pave the way for access to complementary areas.
After designing and building a DTC telemedicine brand – and all of the software and infrastructure required – adding strategic marketing to your branding is easier than you might think.
Researching alternative forms of pharmaceutical ingestion, such as working with compound pharmacies to make gums, patches, alternative flavors, gels, and creams, is a lucrative option many digital health ecommerce brands are choosing. Others choose to expand within a certain area, e.g. For women’s health or men’s skin care.
The most important thing in looking for horizontal expansion is the longevity of your customer base. Expanding in line with the needs and interests of your core customers is of the utmost importance to ensure the longevity of your brand.
For digital health e-commerce companies in this space, the direct-to-consumer space is likely the future of the pharmaceutical industry. While the barriers to market entry are higher due to large companies like Amazon, this can be used in your favor as your brand can be more easily distinguished from the rest.
Once you’ve established your core brand, branching out into neighboring niches is a lot easier than you think!