In 2021, ePharmacy is the new thing. In contrast with the offline sales of the pharmaceutical industry, ePharmacy is a tiny part of the drugs and medicinal formulation industry in most countries.
Adding to the pandemic situation that the global population is already facing from early 2020, the relevance and consumer dependence on ePharmacies is moving on an upward trajectory.
Just like any other eCommerce segment, people are now opting for medicine delivery app solutions due to the convenience whether it is for purchasing palliative medicines or nutraceuticals such as vitamin supplements.
Of course, the medicine delivery app market is still unexplored. The market has a lot of potential to grow as of now. However, security and privacy are the major concerns for some people who are hesitant to buy their medications online.
Of all, delivery apps for pharmacies are one of the most utilized applications ever since the pandemic began.
The need for delivery application for pharmacy
The revolution of on-demand delivery business started with the pandemic. From early 2020, COVID-19 has completely changed the way we live our lives. Social distancing, quarantine, and lockdown are some of the things the pandemic had introduced us to.
It certainly is one of the primary driving factors behind the overnight rise in the medicine delivery app market.
Having said that, medicine delivery applications are not something new. They have been existing pre-COVID but most people preferred going to the pharmacy stores to get their weekly and monthly prescriptions refilled. However, things have taken a drastic turn after COVID-19.
With the majority of the population locked inside their homes for months, people had no choice but to get their medicines delivered to the doorstep since we all have family members who take medication on a daily basis.
During the same global crisis,several fake medicines took over the market by storm.
How online medicine delivery app development is transforming the pharmaceutical industry?
A couple of years ago, ePharmacies and other health-related mobile applications were struggling to gain the attention of the customers. As a matter of fact, the initial estimation of the online pharmacy market was $60,430 million in 2020.
But COVID, lockdowns, and travel restrictions, paired with the fear of contracting the virus, have created a surge in the industry. The latest report on ePharmacy market states that the global medicine delivery market is likely to reach $177,794.9 million by 2026, with a CAGR of 17.3 %.
The impact of Covid-19 on the Pharmacy industry
Before the pandemic hit us hard or anyone realized how serious the situation was, the global ePharmacy industry was still in its inception stage. A lot of medicine delivery applications that were struggling to make their recognization or beat their competitors before COVID-19 are now thriving.
Several pharmaceutical companies are also now trying to leverage the situation. Instead of dealing with traditional pharmacies, pharmaceutical enterprises are now reaching out to online stores to assist them in mitigating some costs wherever possible.
That being said, everything is not so green as it looks. The delivery people who are responsible for delivering medicines to the customer’s doorstep are always at a greater risk of catching the infection.
Since there is a shortage of supply, now comes the demand-supply problem. This problem resulted in the public panicking and stocking unnecessary medicines in advance. people have started storing medicinal supplies, drugs, and other medications, fearing shortage. In other terms, people were purchasing medicines in bulk.
Nevertheless, the pandemic has led to a sudden rise in on-demand delivery business trends. This is majorly due to the reason that people don’t have to risk their lives just to get their prescription medications refilled.
Effective business models used for on demand delivery solution for a medical business?
When it comes to the revenue model of an on-demand medicine delivery application, there are 2 models.
Medicine Delivery App Development for a Single Store
In this model, the customers will directly order the medicines they need via online retailers by sharing their prescription details. The online retailers will check the medicines’ availability in their inventory and let the customer know if the medicines are available.
The customer will then make the online payment either before or after receiving the medicines. Usually, big pharmacy companies that have their own applications fall in this category.
Partnerships with Local Druggist and chemist Stores
For this model, the pharmacy stores don’t have to maintain an inventory on their own, instead, they make a deal with the local druggist and chemist stores.
For example, when a customer places an order, the ePharmacy store will check with the nearest local pharmacist or local shops which are also partners of the application.
The order then will be redirected to the local pharmacy store and the local shops will deliver the medicines to the customers. In this scenario, both the parties, ePharmacy, and the local pharmacy shop, sign an NDA or terms and agreements before getting into a partnership.
Monetization ways used for an on-demand Medicine delivery app
This is one of the most common models that almost all applications follow. On-demand medical delivery solution offers pharmaceutical companies an easy and simple-to-use platform where they can sell their medicines to the customers by charging them a certain percentage as commission for the medicines they sold on a daily or weekly basis.
The advertising-based model is another excellent way to generate revenue for the ePharmacy business. Online medicine delivery applications can sell space for advertisements for many businesses such as Insurance companies, Pharmacy companies, Diagnostic centers, Hospital chains, eWallet companies, etc.
A featured listing is a special section where the app can display sponsored ads of pharmaceutical companies or other medicine stores either on the homepage or the search bar.
Features in a medicine delivery app for consumers
Registration & login
Customers will seamlessly be able to register or sign up into the app either via social media accounts such as Gmail, Facebook, etc. or using a phone number and password.
For a better customer experience, your customers should be easily able to manage or edit their profiles, membership & subscriptions, delivery addresses, payment details, and more.
Customers should be able to upload the screenshots or images of their prescriptions either directly using the phone’s camera or gallery and check with the pharmacist for the availability of the same.
Customers should be able to search for a specific medicine using the search bar. It will be easier for your customers if they could use filters to search for the medicines they are looking for.
For every medicine or medication in your app, customers should be able to read each and every detail and full description of the medicine including the manufacturer name, and compare prices.
Alternate medicine search
Customers should be able to find alternate medicines easily by showing medicines that have the same composition.
Features for pharmacies
The pharmacy owner or the manager should be able to add, edit, or remove medicines and other information related to medications in the application.
The pharmacy manager should be able to review all the digitized prescriptions and their information.
Purchase order notifications
The pharmacy manager should be able to instantly receive the new purchase order details when the customer places an order and be able to manage all active orders in real-time.
The Pharmacy manager should be able to automate and simplify order processing, medicine exchanges, returns, and refunds.
Offers and discounts
The employees at the pharmacy should be able to offer discounts or special offers to maintain customer retention.
The pharmacy manager should be able to receive payments when customers make purchases either using a wallet or other payment gateway integration.
The pharmacy staff should be able to change or edit the prices of the medicines accordingly.
Purchase order history
The pharmacy manager should have complete access to all orders that were placed by the customers. Providing filters such as date, day, month, etc. to access the history of orders will make the process easier for them.
Feedback and ratings
The pharmacy manager should be able to view all the ratings, reviews, and feedback that is given by the customers.
The pharmacy staff should be able to search and provide alternate medicines to increase the likelihood of the purchase by the customer.
Features for admins
Maintain Inventory from One Portal
The admin should be able to maintain and manage inventory from one portal. The application should be able to notify the medications that are about to expire or running on low stock.
Manage users and suppliers
The admin should be able to manage new and registered users, vendors, suppliers, and manufacturers.
The admin should be able to track all orders in real-time until the order is delivered to the customer.
Admins should be able to run effective marketing campaigns to retain existing customers and attract new ones and sell more medicines via the application.
Analytics and reports
The admin should be able to view all operational costs and statistics in the dashboard and get insightful reports on the business workflow.
The admin should be able to view daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly revenue including the display of profit and loss earnings.
Features for couriers
Other than the personal details of the couriers, all profiles should maintain a history of older deliveries.
Once the customer receives the order, the courier should also get a notification of the delivery made.
Google map integration
Couriers should be able to utilize Google maps to find the shortest and easiest route to deliver the customer’s order.
Once the order is delivered, the courier should be able to update the delivery status from in progress to delivered.
How much would it cost to build a medicine delivery application?
Coming to the cost of the development of a medicine delivery application, you can get the app built in 2 ways. One is the SaaS development model and the other is custom.
SaaS based medicine delivery app solution is one of the common and preferred development models that on-demand delivery businesses choose to build a software product. Whereas other businesses utilize it for many other activities such as CRM, accounting, invoicing, payroll processing, etc.
A custom development refers to getting a software product developed by an in-house team that is tailored and customized according to your requirements and objectives.
|Areas of comparison||SaaS||Custom|
|Costing and finance||Affordable and low cost||Highly expensive due to complete in-house project|
|Time to launch in the market||Can be launched quickly||It will take long duration of time|
|Source Code Ownership||No source code ownership is given||Everything is owned by the company|
|Business Consulting||Business and industry-related consulting||Very limited domain-related consulting|
|Staffing and expertise||Highly skilled with expertise in a specific domain||Vast knowledge and skills but limited domain expertise|
|Customization of features||Very limited customization of the features||Complete customization of the solution|
|Support & Maintenance Cost||Complete round the clock tech support 2,000 to 5,000 for set up+ 300- 900 per month ongoing subscription||Very limited tech and maintenance 10,000-15,000 USD|
The exact cost of developing an on-demand medicine delivery application depends on various factors such as features and functionalities of the app, complexity of the app, the number of hours that goes into the development of the app, etc.
Considering the estimated time it takes to build an on-demand delivery application is around 1500-1600 hr, the cost varies from region to region. However, the average developer’s rate in Asia is US $40-$60 per hour.
Considering the current situation that we are in, medicine delivery businesses are only going to witness an upward trend. With customers becoming more and more digital and wanting to purchase everything online and from the comfort of their homes, the medicine delivery industry will pick up more and more demand.
Of all, the medicine/pharmacy industry is one of the industries that will thrive no matter what may come. The medicine delivery applications have certainly picked up their speed in the last two years more than they did in the last decade. Such applications will also help customers avoid fake purchasing fake medicines and ensure they get authentic and right medications and medicines.