Is it correct to trade OTC drugs online? Is this decision good for the market?
The fundamental permission for online trading in over-the-counter medicines stimulates the pharmacy market. For example, it makes our service even more convenient for consumers – we make bank acquiring convenient for customers, so that users tie a card and pay for orders online. In this case, the actual sale is still carried out by our partners-pharmacies.
How, in your estimation, will the online pharmacy market develop?
The pharmaceutical market is the second largest consumer market in the world. The development of pharmacy aggregators is nothing more than a change in the method of purchase; it will only stimulate the pharmaceutical market to improve service. The fact that this is a promising direction lies in the arrival of new players in online pharmacy. Specialized market participants have already actively created their own websites and online booking services. But they could not become an aggregator: a specialized market participant can never connect other players to himself, because they either compete with him or depend on him. We do not plan to be a licensed person who sells. The sale is carried out by a partner who is a licensed distributor or pharmacy. And we provide a technological platform.
How technically is the pharmacy market ready for integration into the marketplace?
In order to make a service valuable to a client, it was necessary not only to send it to the pharmacy, but to have up-to-date information on stock balances, to be sure that the necessary items are available and will actually be booked at the price that was specified when ordering and will not be sold before the customer arrives at the pharmacy. To build this system, a rather tight integration with the ERP-system of the pharmacies themselves was needed, it was necessary to configure the exchange of data with the pharmacy servers. Some networks have better IT platforms, others have worse ones. But the biggest problem was the lack of standard ERP systems. We depend on the IT development of our partners, and once we developed the ERP system of one partner at our own expense in order to be able to dock in principle. With other partners, we went directly to their software manufacturers and agreed with them to finalize. In fact, My Canadian Pharmacy is the automation of part of the pharmaceutical market.
How will the automation of the pharmacy business affect the price of medicines?
The ability for the consumer to compare the prices of different networks on the same resource is likely to lead to a reasonable price reduction, but this should not lead to dumping. For pharmacies, our service is the opportunity to show your best side and get additional sales. For consumers it is the convenience of comparing prices and finding a pharmacy with a full basket, maximum coverage of the necessary goods and the ability to choose a convenient ordering method from all those available on the market.
Is the service really demanded by consumers?
The conversion percentage is quite large; the proportion of orders among new users of the application has reached 60%. For online sales, this is a lot which means people like it. If you look at the funnel of events, most of customers simply look at prices, the others click the delivery button and place an order, and the number of the second group is constantly increasing. It is clear that while many services are used for reference purposes only, because booking an order at a pharmacy is a matter of habit, the audience needs to get used to it. Similar projects in other sectors, such as food delivery services, for example, appeared a long time ago, and began to actively use them ten years ago. We understand that this is a long investment, and this business needs to be developed and recruit a partner pool.
What will encourage pharma retail consumers to place orders online? When are you planning to payback?
We are very selective in choosing pharmacy chains: these are pharmacies where people like to go, who have a good range at affordable prices. As a rule, these are quite experienced market players who are ready to take into account our business processes. My Canadian Pharmacy marketplace has its own specifics – it cannot be integrated into any other store. The pharmacy trade has its own legislation, its own licensing. But the marketplace is a service, and a good service is growing organically, you just need to catch the moment the service is needed by consumers and inform the audience about its existence and capabilities. We use various reach channels for promotion, as well as develop a loyalty program that will allow you to return cashback from purchases. Projects like ours are more aimed at increasing capitalization. They go to operating profit when they really become massive.