Apart from the digital services offered by several pharmacies, the online sales were significantly enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the restricting measures.
The internet purchases have increased to an amazing extent for the last months by electronic pharmacies, providing pharmacists with economical solutions and customers with solutions to cover their needs.
The meaning of e-shop in the pharmacy area has existed for several years, but it has recently been transformed and receives a new form, this of the local service of serving the customers of a pharmacy.
Customers who would prefer to buy from the e-shop pharmacy of their neighborhood, so as not to socialize with other customers.
However, how easy is it to sell online? Success is the result of many factors.
Before making up your mind to start your own e-shop, it is essential you be informed of the six main factors leading to the success of your business venture
Rule 1: Electronic Pharmacy purchase is not a copy of natural purchase.
Electronic trade operates with mechanisms and dexterities which differ from traditional commercial codes.
When you decide to start an electronic trade activity, you need to predict all the fields you have to interact in, in order to stand out: purchase of products, special invoice policies, deals with brands which are on electronic demand regardless of having them on their natural spots, creation of special offers, suitable stock, logistics, commercial tools and advanced capabilities, being present on the internet through digital marketing strategy and interaction.
To achieve all the above, it is vital you choose the right cooperators, specialized in every field, with skills which differ from the ones of your cooperators who you employ in your physical pharmacy.
In other words, the e-shop is a whole new business unit for your business, on which you will need to invest time and commitment in order to succeed.
Rule 2: Respect the existing regulations.
We put emphasis on the legal frame of online sales. In Greece, pharmacies are allowed to sell only parapharmaceutical products (Over The Counter) through the net and not medicines.
Rule 3: Define your policy
The e-trade releases both, the consumers from their visit to the pharmacy and the pharmacist from a limited geographical and population cover.
It offers an unlimited market perspective, in terms of geography or offer. For an already existing business, this means additional sales!
However, for the pharmacy to evaluate this new horizon successfully, some resources are required, besides the ones used in its natural spot.
Selling online is a new source of income which, at the same time, imposes new organizational and functional conditions of the pharmacy.
The opportunity and the perspective are no doubt tempting, but at the same time you should be organized so that you are able to meet the needs of the market and customer service through internet.
Rule 4: Define your immediate competitors and move strategically
Many pharmacists who want to be involved in electronic trade, wonder if there is enough space for them to get in.
The answer is simple and is confirmed every year. At a time while the turnover in the natural market, is decreasing, it is increasing when it comes to the electronic one.
Respectively the figures in 2020, as far as the electronic pharmacy market is concerned, confirm that for only the last two months, in accordance with 2019, the transactions completed online have increased by 62%, the transformation in sales by 10%, the average cart by 6%, the performance of commercials by 175%, while the general earnings by 66%.
Figures, significantly bigger than those in other fields of the market.
As for the transition to the electronic trade of cosmetics or other parapharmaceutical products, you had better study the market, learn about your competitors, both small and big ones who are better in their relationships with the customers on the internet and who use the net as if it were in their DNA.
In addition, you ought to study your suppliers’ policy, who tend to enforce the online market, creating and recruiting special sections for e-shops.
In this whole ecosystem, you need to create your own strategy and since this requires both business knowledge of the field and command of electronic trade, you will have to find partners who are well aware of this specific field.
Rule 5: After the strategy, get the tools. Trust the experts
To satisfy experienced customers in online trade, important keys of success are: variety of products, competitive prices, delivery time and quality service.
Amazon, Ebay and DNVB (digital native vertical brand, means brands native to internet), are the reference points for contemporary customers, which offer a perfect experience and have a loyal and devoted clientele, due to transparent and efficient providing chain: available stock, immediate delivery, easy return, delivery notice and so on.
For the e-shop, it is necessary to aim at this quality level of service, which means having stock in adequate quantities, providing customers with special offers and competitive prices and ensuring immediate delivery time.
It goes without saying that is essential you choose a good collaborator for designing and developing a state-of-art e-shop, specialized in the needs of your e-pharmacy and in the easy use of automations by the employees of the pharmacy.
An e-shop gets the earnings from both, its sales and its reduced functional expenses.
A professional platform of e-shops operating according to this principle, contributes to cutting down on the functional expenses.
Furthermore, in order to develop online sales, it is not enough to just have an online store existence.
You ought to advertise it, taking advantage of digital channels.
While many people claim to have enough knowledge to set up and run online commercials, from a freelancer to a company, the important issue here is to find the right partner who will be able to support you in the long run, will have the right expertise in the field and will be in position to guarantee certain performances according to the branch, your storehouse, the season and your commercial invoice strategy.
Another fundamental point worth mentioning is the cost to obtain new clients in the e-shop, as well as the cost of advertising on the existing clientele.
Last but not least, you ought to put an appearance in the search mechanisms, the so-called organic results.
You all have heard of SEO, plenty of time is needed to be built and it is the result of many factors which depends on the technical part of your e-shop, the content with which you will supply your e-shop and the offsite activities.
To get all the above, you ought to look out for a specialized partner with whom you will join forces and the expertise that each of you have with a view to building your policy.
Your partner should be in position to support the whole range of services and guarantee the result.
Rule 6: Sell on line but stay a pharmacist.
To sum up, beyond policy and means, pharmacists who wish to develop an e-shop, need to exploit their knowledge and the scientific field they serve.
When we speak about a product, we also refer to its right use: how, then, will we achieve a successful delivery in electronic trade?
That’s why there has to be coherence and collaboration with the activity of the physical pharmacy whose online service constitutes an extension.
The 10 most important advantages of an e-shop.
1. 100% of aiming at selective brands and address to thousands of clients
2. The e-shop is like a tireless salesman (working incessantly) for 24/7, 365 days per year without any geographical restrictions.
3. You can make adjustments in the e-shop, just pushing a button quickly and easily, or be informed of the best sellers and form your own offers or discounts.
4. E-shop provides you with plenty of information and statistics so that you can take future crucial business decisions.
5. Analyzing and using the figures correctly, you can invest on digital advertising at costs 80% lower than the costs of the traditional ones since you already have a selected target group.
6. Consumers enjoy the purchasing experience they themselves have chosen, which gives them both a break from everyday routine and at the same time mental wellbeing.
7. Not having to wait, your customers will visit the e-shop many times and it is possible for them to find more products they might be interested in.
8. The customer shops, not having any qualms or stress created by overcrowded queues, operating negatively especially during the COVID pandemic.
9. Reduced budget on functional costs. An e-shop takes a lot less cost to operate than a physical one.
10. Future investment, since, even after the crisis we have been experiencing for the last two years, customers will be more familiar with this method of purchasing.