Ecommerce & Startups
E-Pharmacy is the new wave in Indian eCommerce
Over the past decade, the Indian eCommerce industry has evolved from an online book store to a full-fledged convenience store where a consumer can order just about anything under the sun. And now, the next wave in industry is E-Pharmacy, which is expected to gain 8% market share by the end of 2020.
According to a recent survey by Research wing of Chitrangana, more than 60% Internet users in Germany buy medication online. In India, a few pharmacy outlets have already set up websites providing home delivery services. However, they are still a long way from competing with portals dealing with food, groceries or garments.
Chitrangana.com, India’s leading eCommerce consultancy, believes the potential of the E-Pharmacy industry is untapped, especially since medicines are a recurring requirement for the average consumer. Since recurring orders will be in the top list, the user base will cover more than 14% market share of the total pharmacy business, especially in tier 1 and tier 2 towns.
Ideally, online pharmacy portals need to be able to provide services similar to local restaurants that depend on a third party for swift delivery. The likes of Zomato and Swiggy deliver from restaurant to doorstep, a model that can work just as effectively for a local pharmacy store. Mr Nitin Lodha, Senior eCommerce consultant & Principal consultant for one of leading (first) ePharmacy startup, believes such a business model has very high potential and has encouraged start-ups to venture in the same. Mr Lodha, who is early learner of Artificial Intelligence believes a strong close integration of Data mining for consumer behaviour, pharmaceutical data, demographical patterns, drug/ pharmaceutical salts can build a game changing model in near future.
As mentioned before, several pharmacy outlets are already operating portals in metro cities. However, the E-Pharmacy industry has yet to make inroads into semi-metros, towns and smaller cities. The implementation of such a business model is required for masses. It will also facilitate an offline retailer to manger their retailer counter.
It’s important to note that data procured from the E-Pharmacy industry can be used in Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence, to find real time trends of medicine demands and various decision-making process of various departments.
In Oct. 2017, the Indian Govt. offered a proposal to regulate sale of medicines through online pharmacies. However, it was strongly opposed by chemists on the grounds that online sales are illegal. They also felt that easy availability of medicines can lead to their misuse and possible re-sale.
While as ePharmacy looks potential business model in India, the government’s proposal to regulate the market will give a stamp of official approval and remove uncertainties surrounding the legality of such sales.
A year ago, Reliance Jio made the ‘JioHealthHub’ health and fitness app live for its users. The mobile app reportedly allows users to upload health and medical data to maintain a profile, view health charts and order medicines online, among other features. Will others follow Reliance Jio and follow suit?