Trends to watch out for in the ecommerce healthcare industry

Not only in urban areas, ecommerce for healthcare is growing in semi-urban and rural areas as well.
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With the pandemic and related restrictions becoming a part of our lives, we can say that walking or driving to the nearest pharmacy is passé. The changes in our behaviour due to the pandemic has impacted our preferences like never before.

It is more likely that today if people need their insulin refill or a weighing scale, chances are more they will Google and be led to an ecommerce platform than going to a pharmacy. The rising uptake of ecommerce platforms for healthcare needs is a palpable pandemic trend and has fuelled its progress in India.

Between October and December 2020, FMCG & Healthcare (F&H) category volume grew by 46 percent year-on-year (YOY), as per the Q4 2020 Ecommerce Trends Report by Unicommerce and Kearney. Not only in urban areas, ecommerce for healthcare is growing in semi-urban and rural areas as well – the report states Tier II and III cities accounted for a 90 percent YoY incremental volume and value growth.

The latest trends in this economic segment are:

Subscriptions and D2C models to keep customers coming back

While omni-channel business is still popular, ecommerce platforms are increasingly exploring the subscription-based and direct-to-consumer or D2C models of business.

Not only these models allow them better insight into client preferences, they are known to be better when it comes to customer retention. According to some, the year 2021 will be the year of D2C as it has helped meet the increasing demand for essential services like no other.

Ecommerce on mobile growing

Mobile ecommerce or mcommerce is one of the fastest growing subsets of the industry and has received a shot in the arm due to the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, almost 51 percent of online sales in India was done through mobile devices, as compared to the global average of 39 percent.

They were found to spend an average of Rs 10,000 per month through shopping on mobile devices and 83 percent of consumers were found to make an online purchase through mobile phone at least once a week.

Tech in-roads through AI, AR, and analytics

For startups that are able to adopt technology in a big way, implementing cutting-edge interventions such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) is becoming increasingly popular.

AI-based software is adept in tracking customer behaviour and suggesting ways to enhance their experience whereas augmented reality has proven to be a boon for better customer experience. Add to this analytics that assesses customer feedback and help in finding out unmet needs.

Once the data is available, ecommerce platforms are increasingly using it for segmenting audiences by geographical location, total spending, age and gender, buying habits, to generate reports and improve customer relationship management (CRM).

Wearables and other digital health tools

If you were of the opinion that startups are the only users of healthtech, think again! Healthtech in the form of wearables and other handy devices are a real rage.

Consumers are in control and they are tracking their health information real-time -- according to Business Insider Intelligence research, more than 80 percent of consumers are open to wearables. There is no denying the fact that ecommerce platforms facilitated their access to the consumers.

Convenient, cost-effective, & customised care

Ecommerce platforms providing healthcare products and services are rapidly widening their offerings in order to provide customers with a holistic experience. This is making the platforms a one-stop health solution provider instead of an online shop.

By virtue of avoiding intermediaries and smoother supply chain, convenient, cost-effective, and customised care has become possible through healthcare ecommerce platforms.

Bulk buyers such as hospitals who found managing a long supply chain difficult due to restrictions during lockdown are also switching to e-platforms, which has helped them prevent a possible shortage of life-saving medicines and equipment.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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