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We often talk with pharmacy owners who are pumped up about getting into eCommerce. It's an exciting area of business - just like the gold rushes of the 1800s. eCommerce continues to provide significant growth for companies on the back of consumer demand.
Whilst we hear about the successes, a truly astute business owner will look and learn from other people's mistakes before entering new markets for their business. Did you know that over 80% of ecommerce businesses fail?
Here are six of the most common reasons:
For pharmacy - it's not just the matter of placing product and price online. As a local business that sells proprietary products; pharmacies do not have a niche range, nor do they have the economies of scale that large retailers like JB Hi-Fi, Coles and Woolworths have. This means there's weakness in purchasing power, weakness in distribution, weakness in competitive forces and weakness in pricing. There's also a weakness in use of technology and marketing power.
The number one eCommerce business in pharmacy is Chemist Warehouse. Current consumer behaviour is to use this website as the benchmark to compare pricing. This is a major consideration for pharmacies - do you want to be compared directly to Chemist Warehouse? Or would it be better to be chosen on your convenience, location, speed, expert staff, services and overall value? Also think about this - Chemist Warehouse's website isn't successful because staff in-store developed and maintained it. Its success comes from large investment in website development, SEO, SEM and digital marketing. This is mirrored by their print, TV and outdoor marketing. Their brand stands for something very strong and it is shown across all their advertising and marketing mediums. Do you have the resources to compete with that? If not - you're best to go niche eCommerce if you still want to go down that route.
Where eCommerce can work with pharmacy is when you're selling bespoke products. Compouding is one area of great opportunity. Again, it takes time to curate because customer's aren't waking up and jumping on your website. You have to entice them to go there. An analogy would be setting up a shop in the middle of the Simpson Desert. There's no customer traffic out there. You'd need to spend money attracting people to come to your shop through advertising. You'd need to fix the road leading to the shop and you'd need to make your shop so unique that it's worth their time to come. Especially when there's a better alternative in a more convenient spot to them. By selling niche products, displaying your KVI's and wrapping the sale of those products in well created content - you can drive your eCommerce business.
This highlights the importance of strategy. The game of digital is not one of chance, it's one of strategy. Strategy is a topic in itself. There is a great resource we can provide to you on how to create your strategy and avoid cost and wasted effort. Please send us an email if you would like it: firstname.lastname@example.org
The team at Guild Digital have had vast experience serving the eCommerce needs of Australian community pharmacies. Before diving in head first - take a moment, talk to us and we can help you devise your plan to effectively drive business growth with digital endeavours. Sure, there's gold in 'dem hills - but before you tear up the mountain - make sure you have the right equipment to dig it out.
28th September 2018
eCommerce + pharmacy - there's gold in 'dem hills! Or is there...
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