In-store shopping rebounded after pandemic restrictions were lifted. Even the most devoted proponents of eCommerce agree that online shopping has limitations that are difficult to avoid. One of the most important ones is the lack of timely or affordable delivery. Some products are needed at the shortest note possible. Prescription drugs are one of them.
Affordable same-day delivery is one of the most requested services in eCommerce worldwide. According to research by Invesp, 56% of online consumers in the age group of 18-34 years expect to be offered same-day delivery. 61% of consumers are prepared to pay more for same-day delivery, the same study shows. And customers want their purchases to be delivered quicker than today. They expect delivery services and courier companies to allow next-day or same-day shipment. 96% of online shoppers consider “fast delivery” to be “same-day delivery”.
80% of online shoppers surveyed would prefer same-day shipping, while 61% would like their packages delivered within 1-3 hours after placing an order.
These trends are of acute importance for pharmaceutical and wellness companies as online pharmacies are increasingly often allowed to sell prescription drugs in a number of countries. And most of the customers can’t wait for prescription drugs for another day or two. It would be a game-changer for the whole pharmaceutical industry as online delivery would finally unlock the hidden potential of the whole e-health industry. Yet, nowadays, online pharmacies in Europe struggle.
Challenges online pharmacies face
According to Nordic Joint Report: Online Pharmacy Markets in the Nordic (2021), it depends on whether countries allow operations of online-only pharmacies without any ties to physical outlets. For example, online-only pharmacies can operate in Sweden and Denmark. Yet, Norway, Finland, and Iceland prohibit such activities: only licensed physical pharmacies are allowed to operate online stores.
Secondly, nonspecialist retail outlets play an essential role in the sales of OTC medical products and the setting the pricing of medicines in Sweden and Norway. For example, in Sweden, the non-pharmacy outlets can sell OTC medicines online, and they can determine the prices of all kinds of OTC medicines independently. While, in Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, it is possible to sell only a limited selection of OTC medicines outside of pharmacies. It brings an essential competition gap between these countries.
Thirdly, pharmacy markets are not so easy to compare. It has to be taken into account that there are different regulations in different countries. For example, price competition between pharmacies is currently not allowed in Finland. It limits the possibilities for online pharmacies to bring enormous benefits to consumers. Yet, the online pharmacy is in the stage of unavoidable development.
How one of Europe's leading online pharmacies proved shipping changes the product itself?
The importance of online pharmacies in different parts of the world varies. The expectation is that the e-health industry will offer affordable same-day delivery services for needed prescriptions.
Apotheke Europe, one of continental Europe’s leading online pharmacies, shows how increased shipping volume can be handled with zero-error tolerance and 24/7 services.
According to the survey (eFulfillment Service), 89% of online shoppers say 1-2 day delivery is fast. This is down from the situation two years ago when 92% of online shoppers considered 1-2 days to be fast. 42% of consumers say 3-4 day delivery is fast. While two years ago, 63% thought this time frame quick, a clear indicator that delivery expectations are on the rise.
Do online shoppers are prepared to pay higher prices for goods?
There are certain advantages you need to recognize that impact customer satisfaction from same-day delivery. Make no mistake considering that online shoppers will continue buying products they need at any cost. Some of them will, indeed. Yet delivery cost is one of least elastic parts of the cumulative price of the product. Free shipping typically triggers additional sales, yet affordable same-day deliveries make, your eCommerce products even more attractive. If your goal is to grow like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and other eCommerce grands on this planet, then affordable same-day delivery service is your must. It’s your competitive advantage.
What do you need to make it happen?
Well, easier said than done. There are multiple factors that allow same-day delivery. Apart from the availability of capable dispatch service, other improvements need to be considered too. Firstly, the sophisticated and well embedded into your e-commerce site ERP and warehouse management system allows you to keep an eye on the availability of inventory at the shortest proximity to your customer. By the end of the day, shipping a box of pills to the other end of the country may not make sense economically and from the perspective of ecology too. Secondly, flexibility to choose from a wider range of dispatch service providers may be advantageous. eCommerce sites are often stuck with traditional delivery businesses that offer limited flexibility and charge premium rates for same-day delivery options, while local food delivery service providers easily handle similar tasks at a fraction of the cost. Thirdly, e-pharmacies, albeit restricted for the straightforward relationships with physicians in a number of countries, should make steps integrating their systems with e-health service providers too. Knowing about the prescription issued as fast as possible may give some extra time to prepare.
At Invertus, we have ample experience servicing the pharmacy and wellness businesses. Wanna, know more about it and check for an opportunity? Just give us a call!