How to Create an Online Pharmacy Website? [Pharmacy App Development]

5917 Updated 08.15.2023
Yuriy Matviyuk

Development Tech Lead


Table of contents

What Users Expect From Online Pharmacy Website in 2023

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.

What’s in?

  1. The key trends to watch in 2023;
  2. Why should you opt for starting an online pharmacy: key benefits;
  3. How to come up with pharmacy website ideas;
  4. How to create an online pharmacy website step-by-step;
  5. What features should you implement;
  6. What government restriction should you consider;
  7. What are the stages of pharmacy app development;
  8. How much does pharmacy app development cost.

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 2023, 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 website. 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;
  • Study all legal requirements for such applications;
  • Check if all the plans can be realized.

In this article, the Northell team will help you with the latter. So, what features to consider when starting an online pharmacy?

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. Conduct In-Depth 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. We define the scope of work, think over the product architecture, determine the budget and timeline, and develop a plan for the entire product development.

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. Move to The Development Stage

Online pharmacy website development requires maximum care. The future performance of your site and the number of users will depend on this step. Usually, the pharmacy website development process is divided into several steps:

  • Tech stack & documentation. Development team determines technologies that will be appropriate for the project. The team compiles technical documentation describing all features and functionality and the relationship between user roles.
  • Software architecture plan. Developers create the basic structure of the product. On the back end, they choose whether it will be, for example, a monolith or microservices and choose the controllers and types of APIs they will use. On the front end, developers determine how the user interface will be implemented and schematically depict which parts of the product will interact with each other.
  • Sprints planning. At this stage, the team determines the priority and sequence of features creation. This stage is critical because the entire product development plan is based on it.
  • Infrastructure setup for testing + CI/CD to the test servers. DevOps set up the production-like environment for running the developed application on the cloud. The customer has access to it and can also test the product. The team configures the system so that all changes the team makes to the product automatically appear in this environment.
  • Client and server development & QA. At this stage, client and server parts of the product are developed (development of UI components, API, etc.) and tested.
  • Regression Testing. QA tests the entire product thoroughly. We fix bugs that may have appeared when we were adding new features and product components.
  • Production Infrastructure setup + CI/CD to the prod servers. The development team creates a separate, more flexible and scalable environment on the cloud that is production-ready. They configure domains and the system so that all changes developers make to the product automatically appear in this environment.

At Northell, we most often assign 2+ developers to run these processes. All of our developers are middle and senior-level specialists. We usually develop all the functionality of the site gradually. That is, having developed one feature, we first test it and only then proceed to the next one. This method allows us to save time on the final testing of the product and deliver a high-performing pharmacy website.

Step 8. Go Through the Final QA Stage

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.

If you are creating an online pharmacy website, you need to test the site in all browsers and on all devices. If your site does not display well on a mobile version or on a tablet, you will have to transfer it to the development team for further editing.

Often companies do not spend much time on final testing, and this is a big mistake. During testing, you bring the product to the ideal and make sure that it works smoothly and according to all requirements and specifications.

Step 9. Launch Your Pharmacy Website

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;
  • Advertising.

But how much does this process with all these steps cost? Let’s discover.

How Can Northell Help You Create an Online Pharmacy Website?

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 offers expert assistance in building, designing, and modernizing medical software with our full-cycle custom healthcare software development services. Our experienced healthcare development team aligns with the latest industry requirements regarding security, usability, and interoperability to deliver efficient, user-friendly, and reliable healthcare software.

We provide the following custom healthcare development services:

  • Telemedicine software development. Northell’s software engineering team creates healthcare software that helps doctors consult, diagnose and treat patients remotely.
  • EMR/EHR software development. We provide our expert help in developing custom electronic medical records (EMR) / electronic health records (EHR) software to manage patient records, automate clinical workflows and reduce operational costs.
  • Healthcare insurance software development. At Northell, we implement custom healthcare insurance platforms to process claims, automate workflows, and efficiently handle all clinic/hospital records.
  • Medical billing software development. Our experienced healthcare development team assists in building tailored medical billing software to optimize clinic resources and automate the billing, planning, and financial reporting workflow to keep your healthcare business financially healthy.
  • Hospital management software development. We customize hospital management software to suit your unique needs and make it easy to manage your internal workflows.
  • Healthcare CRM software development. We have a talented pool of healthcare software specialists on board to help you build CRM systems for efficient customer management and clinic/hospital workflow optimization.
  • Wellness software development. Our team builds wellness platforms to support patients’ mental and physical well-being.

Why should you choose Northell for online pharmacy website development?

  • Less effort on recruitment. The average time to hire a software development team is 1.5 months. We can offer specialists ready to start work within a week.
  • Agile methodology. To develop software, we use an agile methodology, dividing the entire process of software development into short manageable cycles. Each iteration includes planning, requirements analysis, design, development, testing, and documentation.
  • Huge pool of tech talent. Following your business requirements, we provide you with a team with domain technical experience. Located in Eastern Europe, we offer talented designers, developers, testers, and other experts in various industries of different seniority levels and expertise.
  • Dedicated full-time specialists. The specialists assigned to your projects work on a full-time basis. They are tech-savvy, diligent, and committed to the development process to deliver high-quality and reliable digital solutions.

If you have an idea for an online pharmacy website and are looking for a reliable team to make it a reality, contact us! The Northell team will be happy to complete your online pharmacy website project.

Online Pharmacy Website Features to Implement in 2023

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Models to Consider During Online Pharmacy Website Development

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?

Individual Store

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 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
Angular $35-45/hr $40-60/hr $40-45/hr $25-35/hr
React.js $40-50/hr $50-60/hr $30-40/hr $25-40/hr
PHP $40-40/hr $40-50/hr <$40/hr <$35/hr
Node.js $40-50/hr $45-65/hr <40/hr <40/hr
Laravel $40-50/hr $40-60/hr <40/hr <35/hr

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

How Long Does it Take to Create an Online Pharmacy Website?

The overall development time for an online pharmacy website depends on the following factors:

  • Project size
  • Project complexity
  • Number and complexity of functionality
  • Selected tech stack for development
  • Design complexity
  • Team experience
  • Development methodology

To make it easier for you to calculate the time required to create an online pharmacy website, we have prepared a table for you that shows the time required for each development process:

Our work estimate

Our work estimate

Pharmacy App Development: Final thoughts

How to create a pharmacy website successfully? It requires many stages and comes hand in hand with some challenges. In this article, we tried to reveal all the secrets of successfully building an online pharmacy website. We hope we were able to answer all your questions.

For successfull pharmacy app development, 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. If you still have any questions about this topic, get in touch with the Northell team today. Our team of professionals will gladly help you build a robust and high-performing product.

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