In recent times, we can see that India has been adapting to e-commerce due to rapidly increasing internet penetration, mobile-first consumer behaviour, and improved digital payment infrastructure. Apparels, electronics, and consumer products, etc., have already seen a significant increase in online transactions. Due to India’s indulgence in digitized services, the healthcare industry is expected to be transformed into a system in which the consumer is informed and empowered. Manish Rao (name changed) has been running 2 pharmacies within the central district of Bangalore for the past 50 years. Started by his father, this second generation pharmacist is now worried about the future of his pharmacies. He like many others have been severely hit by the online pharmacy store and is now thinking of a strategy to compete with it. The main advantage with online pharmacies in India is the vast customer base with technology knowledge. They are using the current trend to their advantage. Customers now prefer an online pharmacy store than walking up to their regular brick and mortar shop. With the law coming into effect to regularise these online medicine portals, things look even bleak for the store pharmacies now. Let’s read what other advantages do these pharma’s have and how can we come up with a master strategy to compete –
- Profit Margins – We spoke to a number of pharmacists and all of them had a similar grouse. Due to heavy volumes, online pharmacies can offer huge discounts on the drugs by bargaining with the manufacturer.
- Delivery time – Most of them offer free or immediate delivery which is a huge advantage for customers who are pressed for time. It also gives them freedom to order medicines for their loved ones and not worry about it reaching on time.
- One stop shop – Earlier the norm was to buy medicines for the pharmacy closest or next to the doctor’s clinic because of its availability. With online pharmacies, this need is eliminated. Customers do not need to search for medicines. Rather they can just order their medicine online and get it delivered.
So how can we beat these scenarios? It’s very simple and needs just a little bit of reshuffling.
- Revise profit margins – Pharmacists need to revise their profit margins by engaging in talks with the manufacturer and highlighting their advantages. They can offer equal discount as their online counterparts.
- Technological challenges – India is still not completely technologically advanced and not all of them possess smart phones. The elderly still are not comfortable using smart apps. Store pharmacies can leverage this to their advantage.
- Customized services – Online pharmacies can never match service offered by retail pharmacies. One can offer free delivery or can offer additional services. In India customers go beyond business and develop a mutual understanding. Retail pharmacists can leverage their relationship with customers by engaging with them on a personal level. This is also another way to retain customer base.
- Safe and sound – It’s very easy to procure medicines online but what is the guarantee of it being original? Customers sometimes buy in excess and are left with unused medicines. Retail pharmacies can offer buy back incase of excess which online pharmacies don’t. This way the customer is more attracted to buying from a local store.
Medpick has come up with an alternative to beat this scenario. Our master strategy is very straight forward. Our research team has designed an application called Prescription app. Retail pharmacies can educate their customers to download the app and create an account. Customers can upload their prescription and select a retail outlet of their choice. As soon as they place an order, the selected pharmacy will receive a notification and customers can pick up medicines at their convenience. Isn’t it simple, convenient and secure? Contact Medpick to join today to secure your future.