The rise of the internet has changed how we live our lives. From how you communicate, work, search for information, shop, and even pay for goods online, the internet has left its mark on every aspect of life. It's no wonder that it has had an impact on how we seek out a doctor as well as purchase our medicines.
The option to purchase medicines online has made it easier for everyone. It has enabled customers to compare prices before buying medicines from their homes. At the same time, it has allowed pharmacists to expand their business and add an additional revenue stream to their business.
But what is an online pharmacy? How does it work? And what advantages does it offer? Let us dive deep into it.
What is an online pharmacy?
Online pharmacy is a business of distribution or sale, stock, exhibit, or offer for sale of medicines through a web portal or any other electronic mode.
Online pharmacies sell medicine order medicines online and distribute the medicines to their customers. Because of online shopping, the purchasing process is much more straightforward and faster. Patients can purchase medicine order medications from pharmacists who are registered on the internet and either pick up their medicine orders from the nearest pharmacy or get them delivered to their homes.
The gist of all this is that online pharmacy refers to a platform from which people can buy medicines without leaving their homes.
Online Pharmacy Market Overview:
Online pharmacies are one of the few industries which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic positively. As is evident in the recent report by a leading market research agency, "Research and Markets."
During the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of some medical items through online pharmacies went up by more than 800%, and to catch up with the trend; online pharmacy app development also went up. And this has become the norm since then.
The online pharmacy market is classified into two main categories: over-the-counter medicines (OTC) and prescribed medicines. In 2021, the OTC segment dominated the market with a 70% share, while medicine order medicines completed the other 30%.
The online pharmacy market size, of around 70.11 billion USD in 2021, is predicted to reach around 182 billion USD by 2027. It is expected to maintain a steady CAGR of 17.26% during the forecast period.
The regulatory framework accompanied by product innovation, significant penetration into the new market, and the increasing interest of pharmaceutical companies in OTC medicines is among the prominent trends driving the worldwide growth of the online pharmacy market.
While some other reports listed reasons like increased awareness regarding online services and growing internet penetration. [GMI Research]
Online Pharmacy Market Growth Trends:
These are some of the factors that have contributed to the massive increase in online pharmacy app development trends.
- Substantial increase in health awareness & demand for self-medication
- Greater collaboration among the stakeholders
- A rise in competitive price, heavy promotion, and different business models
- Improvement in direct-to-patient medicine sales
- The emergence of electronic medicine orders
- More excellent reliability of online payments gateways and an increase in the security and efficiency of online payments
How does an online pharmacy work?
The end users, i.e., customers and pharmacists, are two ends of an online pharmacy platform, so their workflow is quite different. So, let's see how it works for both of them:
|For Customers||For Pharmacists|
|Account Creation||Account Creation|
|Medicine Search||Listing of Medicines|
|Adding Items to the Cart||Receive Orders|
|Uploading Medicine Order||Prepare & Handle Orders|
|Order Payment||Receive Payment|
|Order Tracking||Order Delivery|
Business Models of an Online Pharmacy/Medicine Delivery App:
Now, let’s examine different business models of online pharmacies. Basically, online pharmacies are of two types:
1. Operational Model:
In this model, the owner of a brick-and-mortar pharmacy creates an online digital replica of their existing pharmacy store. It is simply an online extension of an existing pharmacy. By doing so, they can accept orders online in addition to offline.
This business model is ideal for large pharmacies with an inventory of their own. This model of online pharmacy typically results in high brand recognition.
2. Marketplace Model:
In this model, one can create an online pharmacy and then connect it with a brick-and-mortar pharmacy but without stocking the medications themselves.
Here, if a user makes an order through their website, they verify the availability of the medication at their local partner pharmacy store and then proceed accordingly. If it's available, they can transfer the order back to the local pharmacy close to the location of the customer.
In general, the profits are split between the owner of the online platform along with the connected pharmacist. Such marketplaces do not require massive infrastructure, nor do they require inventory.
Why do customers love Online Medicine Delivery Apps so much?
There are many benefits of online pharmacies for customers, like privacy and confidentiality, but we will list here the top 3 advantages of online pharmacies for customers:
1. You can get medicines at discounted rates
Because of the lower operational expenses, an online pharmacy is able to offer medicines at much lower costs than a brick-and-mortar pharmacy. Many online pharmacies have agreements with pharmaceutical companies which allow the purchase of medicines at a lower cost. This can also affect the cost of the medicine you're looking to purchase.
You can order medicines conveniently.
2. You can order medicines conveniently
Another benefit of using an online pharmacy is the ability to purchase all of your medications by simply downloading an app and completing the order from the comfort of your own home. Additionally, seniors and people with disabilities will benefit significantly from ordering their medications through online pharmacies.
Furthermore, if you are taking medicine that isn't readily available in shops, you can purchase it on the internet without trouble.
3. You can learn more about your medicines
The main advantage of ordering through online pharmacy apps is that you can know more about your medications, their substitutes, their medicine composition, etc. Essentially, you get to know everything about the medicines in the description itself.
To learn more about online pharmacy check out this blog How to Start Online Pharmacy Business?
Looking at all the statistics and market trends, it is pretty clear that online pharmacy app development is on the rise, and it is here to stay for the long haul. Do you want to take advantage of this golden opportunity to open an online pharmacy of your own? You can start your own online pharmacy, to know more start a free trial of ePharmacy.