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Online Pharmacy in 2022
Online pharmacies help organize pharmacy services more effectively. It is especially important when it comes to the mid-pandemic world we live in. E-pharmacy business model enables purchasing remedies on the Internet, reducing human interaction.
The countries with higher digitalization rates, such as the Nordics, the USA, and others, are expected to develop the sector further.
What are the main trends in the market now? How to create an online pharmacy website successfully? What features should you consider when starting an online pharmacy? Let’s take a look.
Online Pharmacy Business Trends and Perspectives
Online pharmacy is a complex yet promising market. Many users need the further development of this market, especially amid the pandemic when human interaction should be minimized. Statista states that the online pharmacy market will boast a user penetration rate of over 26% by 2025.
This figure means the number of users potentially interested in a product. By comparison, the average rate for a product is 2-4%, and 20-40% is an optimal figure to start a business in a field.
What’s more, in 2022, the online pharmacy market is expected to reach $22,6M, according to Statista. With a CAGR of 11.35%, the market volume is projected to amount to $31,3M by 2025.
So, no matter if you are an offline pharmacy network, a startup, want to scale and reach a new audience – you should consider starting an online pharmacy. In the following section, we will dwell more on the benefits of pharmacy app development. So, why should you create a pharmacy website?
Why Do You Need to Create a Pharmacy Website?
There are a wide variety of reasons for it. However, we will focus on the four key benefits you can get with the e-pharmacy business model.
Scale Your Geography With E-Pharmacy Business Model
Going on with the topic of business scaling, starting an online pharmacy is a perfect way to expand to new markets. You are no longer limited to a city, country, or continent with an online pharmacy website. Though iHerb cannot be called a classical online pharmacy, they do sell and ship vitamins and meds all over the world. So, pharmacy app development can truly help you go global.
Increase Sales Starting an Online Pharmacy
As a result of the previous point, you can also increase your sales. However, you have to invest in third-party payment integration to make it happen. This approach will ensure a smooth and secure check-out. You will find other features worth implementing later in the article.
Improve Brand Awareness With the E-Pharmacy Business Model
Improving brand awareness is a vital part of becoming a global business. And vice versa – going global will improve brand awareness. You should work on the branding before, though. For that, you will need a reliable development and design partner.
Enhance the Quality of Services Starting an Online Pharmacy
With the e-pharmacy business model, you will be able to ensure a better user experience for your customers. Secure checkout, worldwide shipping, let alone a user-friendly pharmacy website, will convince customers to choose your platform over others.
But how to develop your unique pharmacy website ideas? We have come up with some of the best practices to help you when starting an online pharmacy.
How to Come Up with Pharmacy Website Ideas?
To come up with worthy pharmacy website ideas, you should go through a number of steps. For example, you should:
- Survey your potential customers, according to principle of ten pains and ten gains;
- Decompose your business plan;
- Seek expert advice from more experienced colleagues;
- Come up with the list of features you want to implement.
In this article, the Northell team will help you with the latter. So, what features to consider when starting an online pharmacy?
Online Pharmacy Website Features to Implement in 2022
In this section, we will focus on the more elaborate features you should consider during pharmacy app development. However, don’t forget about the basic features, such as meds categories (e.g., meds for digestion, cardiovascular system, etc.), search field, cart, and others.
Create a Pharmacy Website: Client’s Personal Account
First of all, it is a good idea to provide the ability to sign up to your pharmacy website. The user should be able to fill in the personal information, add credit cards, view personal offerings, etc.
Create a Pharmacy Website: Attaching Recipes in the Client’s Personal Account
You should consider helping your customers with accountability. There is a common practice of insurance companies to reimburse some medications. However, to do so, they demand receipts. So, making them available online will definitely spare your customer a headache. And that, in turn, will make the customer come back to your platform over and over.
Apart from that, it is a good idea to provide your customers with the ability to attach doctor’s prescription to the order. Doing so will help regulate the sale of prescription meds.
Create a Pharmacy Website: Discount System
Building a loyal customer base should be among your top priorities. So, personal offerings, special discounts, promo codes for active users are all the ways that will help you broaden your user network.
Pharmacy Website Ideas: Registration for Online Delivery by Courier
Also, it is a good idea to offer multiple shipping options. For instance, your customers should be able to choose whether they want to collect the ordered items in your offline store, receive them by post, or have them delivered by a courier.
Pharmacy Website Ideas: Online payment
Secure check out must be a priority of any retail business and online pharmacies are no exception. So, make sure to integrate a secure payment system (e.g., PayPal) to your platform to make payments both convenient and safe.
Pharmacy Website Ideas: Shopping history
Oftentimes, people purchase the same meds that work for them. Medicine is not a field where people tend to experiment and try something new every time they get a headache, for instance. However, the names of remedies can be difficult to memorize, even if a customer buys them for the third time. So, it is a good idea to address this problem by providing a shopping history on the users’ accounts.
Pharmacy Website Ideas: Reminders for customers
There are many health conditions that require regular meds intake. For instance, insulin injections, allergy treatments, asthma inhalers, and birth control pills should be taken regularly. Accordingly, if a person purchases some of these remedies, it is a good idea to send out notifications to fill in the supplies.
Pharmacy Website Ideas: Video & Chat Consultation
First off, you should always encourage your customers to go to a doctor, as even the most recent technology cannot substitute the doctor’s appointment. However, if it comes to non-prescribed medicine, you can offer some assistance. For instance, you can provide video chats with professional pharmacists that will help your consumers.
E-Pharmacy Business Model
Before you get into website development, it is vital to settle down to a single business model. There are two most widespread ones, namely individual store models and direct to customers. So, how to create an online pharmacy website according to these two approaches?
Within this approach, the customers can upload the doctors’ prescriptions and place the orders online. You, as a retailer, check the availability of the remedy and deliver it to a customer. You have to offer contactless delivery and multiple payment modes, such as cash on delivery, bank cards, PayPal, or others.
Direct to Customer
In this case, the manufacturer sells its products through its own channel. When a customer requests certain medicine, the manufacturer checks if the medicine is available in stock, collects the payment, and delivers the remedy.
No matter what model you choose starting an online pharmacy, you should pay close attention to the government restrictions that come hand in hand with the medical field in general and meds sales in particular.
Government Restrictions on the Sale of Drugs Online
If you want to create a pharmacy website, you have to consider many legal aspects. Government restrictions place limits on online pharmacies, so you have to be fully aware of these regulations. All these rules are aimed at preventing the misuse of prescription drugs.
Keep in mind that laws can substantially differ, depending on your business location. So, in this article, we will focus on the US market. There are different authorities (both federal and state) that regulate drug sales in the US.
For instance, the FDA regulates drugs and medical devices for safety and determines what drugs are legal for sale; US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Postal Service (USPS) enforce laws related to the shipment; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) governs the prescription and dispensing of controlled drugs.
- By federal law, online pharmacies are required to post information related to their physical location, the license number of the pharmacist in charge; the certification of registration for its brick‐and‐mortar operation, as well as an endorsement from the DEA.
- Internet drug sales are available with a valid prescription. However, the prescription typically requires a physical examination by a licensed professional. The seller must be approved by the appropriate authorities (e.g., state authorities) to sell and ship pharmaceuticals.
Also, when it comes to the USA, laws can differ from state to state. For example, Kentucky passed a law requiring all pharmacies that dispense more than 25% of their total prescription volume as a result of Internet prescriptions to obtain Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) certification.
Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation that specifically governs Internet pharmacies.
There are also a range of regulations concerning the doctors that can prescribe meds, but it is a whole different topic, so we will not dwell more on that.
Now, when you are more or less familiar with the legal aspects of the e-pharmacy business model, let’s take a closer look at the pharmacy app development process. What are the main steps you should take for starting an online pharmacy successfully? Let’s find out.
How to Create an Online Pharmacy Website? [Step-by-Step]
According to the Northell experience, there are nine vital steps of successful pharmacy app development. They are:
Step 1. Select Your Partner
Here is the checklist of aspects you should consider before signing a contract with a specific provider that can help you create a pharmacy website.
- Check the portfolio of your partner to be;
- Browse the customer reviews and testimonials;
- Pay attention to the industries they serve.
Northell provides an entire life-cycle of software development services, along with design and testing services.
Step 2. Write a Project Plan & Requirements
It is important to describe your problems and visions so that your vendor has a clear idea of what is to be done. Without precise requirements, your team will not know how to create a pharmacy website that will help you succeed.
Usually, the document with requirements includes a project overview, your needs, and goals, the audience you want to target, your desired features set, recommendations, references, and prohibitions, etc.
Learn more about writing project requirements
When you create a pharmacy website, take your time to come up with clear project requirements.
The most critical aspects you should include into project requirements are:
- the overview of your project;
- set business goals;
- time and budget constraints;
- competitor analysis;
- target audience;
- needs of your users-to-be;
- features you would like to see in your system;
- market standards that should be considered.
Step 3. Start Product Discovery
This stage is of great importance, as it is critical for successful project outcomes. Northell, for instance, researches the market carefully, conducts a competitor and TA analysis.
Also, during this stage, it is critical to identify business, users, and discovery goals, create user stories and customer journey maps. All these activities help to get through information on the product itself, the market it will operate on, its target audience, etc.
Step 4. Start to Build a UX Design
Before this phase, make sure the goals of your UX are clear. Once you have the required information, it’s time to begin the pharmacy website UX design. The key activities Northell can help you with at this stage are:
- sketching your ideas;
- developing prototypes;
- gathering user input;
- make design decisions.
Based on the concept of the application and its design, we prepare a roadmap to start the UX design process. During this stage, we create the information architecture and wireframes.
Step 5. Start UI Design
Continue with the UI when the UX design is ready and tested. Consistency is the most critical aspect of the UI design stage. Northell experts will ensure that all interface elements on your website will be consistent.
Step 6. Do a User Testing
The testing stage allows bringing the prototype to a perfect state. There are three key stages of testing: interview the focus groups, assessment research, and usability reports.
One of the bright examples of user experience testing is the Northell UX Lab. The user in our lab gets a prototype. Eye-tracking equipment captures how a user acts when interacting with the product. After that, the system displays the information, which allows comparing the data of actual use and analytics. Based on this, the product will be adjusted to boost its usability.
Step 7. Build a Pharmacy App Development Process [SDLC]
How to Create an Online Pharmacy Website: Preparing Project Documentation
During this stage, all the information from the client is collected to develop a product according to expectations and requirements. The team should write technical documentation and choose technical stacks.
At this stage, the team should also define the requirements for functionality and user roles and finalize the estimate and the work scope.
How to Create an Online Pharmacy Website: Implementation
Front-end developers are responsible for the client-side of the application. Back-end developers are accountable for API and database development. DevOps team working on the CI/CD process. QA engineers test all delivered code and write automated tests for developed components.
How to Create an Online Pharmacy Website: Testing
QA engineers test all delivered code and perform manual testing for developed components.
How to Create an Online Pharmacy Website: Deployment
After the development and regression testing from the QA team, the tested version of the software is delivered to the users for beta testing.
How to Create an Online Pharmacy Website: Integration
The team collects user feedback, fixes all the bugs and implements some enhancements.
How to Create an Online Pharmacy Website: Maintenance
After the deployment of a product comes the maintenance stage. If any issue comes up and needs to be fixed, if something is to be enhanced – the development team is responsible for all these activities at this stage.
Step 8. QA
After the development process is complete, you need to do a final detailed check of the entire product. Remember that it is better to spend time looking for bugs now than to spend even more time fixing them when the product is already launched.
Step 9. Launch
Now is the time for the market to see your e-pharmacy website! The product launch process should be carried out systematically. These are the key steps to a successful product launch process:
- Target audience identifying;
- Unique product packaging creation;
- Slogan and timeline creation;
- Competitors analysis;
- Customer onboarding creation;
- Website creation;
But how much does this process with all these steps cost? Let’s discover.
How can Northell help?
Northell has long-standing experience helping our clients deliver successful projects.
Our team of skilled designers, developers, project managers, business analysts, solution architects, and other professionals will help you create a pharmacy website successfully.
Northell team develops, designs, and maintains B2B and B2C companies throughout their digitalization journeys. We have a common passion for crafting solutions for businesses to accelerate their growth. We have successfully delivered 155+ projects, including e-commerces, and helped clients from 45+ countries across the globe.
Northell knows how to solve a bunch of different problems for our customers. It costs, though. How much? Let’s find out in the next section.
How much does Pharmacy App Development Cost?
Like any other field, the prices for design and software changes vary among regions and the cost of living there. Also, the price depends on the seniority level of the task performers, workload, the difficulty of a task, and a range of other factors.
Nevertheless, some general trends describe the salary expectation in each market.
North American professionals are at the top of the market with the highest rates.
Rates in Western Europe are slightly lower than those in North America, though they are still high. Also, you should keep in mind that prices may differ drastically among countries in the region. For instance, rates in Italy are much lower than in Switzerland.
The labor market in Eastern Europe presents an optimal price-quality ratio. It boasts a vast talent pool of over 1M experts, agencies, and companies of all sizes that offer versatile expertise. At the same time, the rates here are lower than in the US and Europe, as the cost of living is also lower.
The design and software development market in Asia is presented primarily by experts from India. The country boasts a large talent pool and the lowest prices worldwide. Although the quality of services there is hampered by the low level of digitalization in the country and cultural mismatch.
Average rates for e-pharmacy website per technology in different regions:
|Tech stack||Eastern Europe||Western Europe||South America||Asia|
Average rates for e-pharmacy website design:
|Product discovery||UX design||UI design||Usability testing|
|Price per hour||$25-55/hr||<$45/hr||<35/hr||<30/hr|
Pharmacy App Development: Final thoughts
How to create a pharmacy website successfully? It requires many stages and comes hand in hand with some challenges.
You need a strong team of designers, developers, sales managers, analysts, and many other professionals to succeed. This path, however, gets more manageable if you partner with a reliable provider.