Shreyansh Jain, Chief Executive, Medy365.com

The e-commerce industry has taken the world by storm, transforming businesses, services, the buying behavior of consumers, and even the lifestyle of people. Eliminating geographical barriers, online global stores have become a “go-to” option for individuals rather than traditional shopping to meet their requirements. The positive change of innovations and ever-expanding technology has completely revolutionized online retailing. The exponential increase in internet penetration and mobile usage has also led to the growth of online healthcare prospects. Multiple e-commerce platforms are selling medical products while ensuring high-quality commodities and efficient customer care services for consumers across the world. Expedited by convenience, easy accessibility, and cost-effectiveness, the online healthcare sector has witnessed sweeping growth in the past few years. Thus, adopting the latest technology, many savvy companies are making headway to explore the untapped potential in the medical industry through the latest solutions and strategies.

Improved quality
For better growth opportunities, business expansion, and profit-making, more and more vendors are willing to sell their products on the e-Commerce platforms. However, the deeper catalog has led to a high-end competition, which prompts vendors to assure the best quality of their products for ultimate customer satisfaction. If the customer does not feel appeased with the quality, he/she can put negative feedback or give poor ratings about the product, which can negatively impact the seller’s business. Thus, e-commerce platforms have proven to be highly beneficial in advancing the quality of healthcare products and medicines in the market due to growing competition.

Enhanced transparency
With people becoming increasingly conscious about their health and wellness, the vendors are obliged to disclose information about their products meticulously so that the consumer can make an informed choice while purchasing a product from an online platform. Generally, the medical e-commerce sites offer products with complete information, including the ingredient list, benefits, side-effects, usage, and much more. The buyer can also go through the feedbacks of other consumers and then choose to opt for the product. On the contrary, the customer had to give the benefit of doubt to the product while traditional purchasing. Thus, it is safe to say that e-commerce platforms have enabled vendors to be transparent about the products, which ultimately helps to save time and money for the consumers.

Ease of accessibility
The e-Commerce platforms have rendered consumers an opportunity to purchase products online, anytime, and anywhere as per their convenience. The internet has become a 24X7 pharmacy, which provides the customers with ease of accessibility as vendors ensure fast-paced and hassle-free home delivery services. The customers also have the authority to return or cancel orders, change the delivery address, and time after placing the order without any extra charges in most of the online healthcare platforms. The online medium has replaced the need for visiting the pharmacy, which has been really helpful for people who are dependent or have time-constraints.

Cost-effective option
At e-commerce platforms, consumers/patients can readily compare the prices of healthcare products. To attract consumers, online stores frequently offer heavy discounts, cashback, and free delivery services and gifts on the purchase. Since there is a lot of competition among online suppliers, the products are generally available at a lesser price than what a customer may find while traditional shopping. The huge competition of online suppliers places the purchasing power in the hands of the buyer so they can compare the costs of the products and choose according to their budget. E-Commerce platforms also help online retailers to save costs as they do not need to spend much on maintaining their online store.

Streamline purchases
E-commerce platforms are beneficial for clinics, hospitals and doctor’s offices to streamline purchase of medical equipments to ensure high-quality services to the patients. Ordering medical devices and products from an online platform ensures greater focus of medical practitioners towards their patients rather than stressing over the supply issues. However, one must ensure that the manufacturers adhere to regulations and deliver quality products on time.

Ayurveda at global level
Earlier, ayurvedic products occupied a grey area in the health care domain, largely because of the lack of regulations and dubious practitioners. With Ayurveda coming online, there have been much greater improvements in the quality of medicines or products and better transparency in disseminating information. Seeking certifications with labels like AYUSH Premium or other AYUSH standard marks on the products, the online suppliers have started to bolster customer’s confidence. Besides, patients’ testimonials, better user engagement, and two-way communication are also helping Ayurveda to grow at a global level. Emphasis on traditional medicine by the World Health Organization (WHO) has also fuelled
the demand for ayurvedic medicines.

Efficiency
Online retailing has a striking influence on efficiency in the health care sector. People who are not in grave need of hospital resources can explore online opportunities, which can help those in greater need to avail the resources and services. A small shift can bring a huge transformation in the accessibility of resources, including physical medical tools, items, and precious time of doctors and other medical staff.

While the influence of e-commerce has largely been positive on the healthcare domain, there are a few limitations as well. Delayed delivery of time-sensitive medications to the patient can create a situation of life or death. Maintaining compliance with FDA regulations related to the carriers that healthcare companies may utilize for making deliveries of medical supplies and products is also a concern. However, overcoming these challenges with latest solution would only enhance the patient’s experience.

E-commerce consolidates cost-effectiveness with increased efficiency, which leads to healthy and happy patients. The augmented demand for healthcare has made the e-Commerce landscape the need of the hour. It is predicted that the size of the e-commerce healthcare market would grow five times bigger than the market for B2C e-commerce services. However, in no way, digital medical services can substitute traditional medical system when a physical examination is required. In case of medical emergencies, traditional healthcare system holds utmost relevance and would continue to remain in the future.

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