- What is an online pharmacy app?
- How does an online pharmacy app work?
- Online pharmacy app benefits
- Basic online pharmacy app features
- 5 steps to build your own pharmacy app
The coronavirus pandemic has overwhelmed the world’s healthcare systems. The number of sick people and the number of deaths it has caused are tragic. But the one thing that has become abundantly clear is that improvements are greatly needed in healthcare systems. That’s why now is the best time to build an e-health startup. It’s also a good time to develop an e-pharmacy app. We can guide and support you through this process.
What is an online pharmacy app?
An online pharmacy is an application or a website that allows a customer to search for and order medicines, and have them delivered. This kind of app can take one of two forms:
- A pharmacy marketplace. With this app, customers can order their prescriptions through any pharmacy that has registered on the marketplace. As for the benefits of this business model, it offers customers more choice and allows them to compare prices. The pharmacies can skip creating their own branded mobile or web application. This is a good option for new companies as it can drive customers to them.
- Branded online pharmacy app. An online pharmacy app is created by a company using its branded name, style, and other elements. This solution is a good bridge to connect the pharmacy with its customers.
How does an online pharmacy app work?
An online pharmacy app works as an eCommerce store. The only difference is the type of goods the customers’ purchase. Sometimes online pharmacies are a medicine delivery app that follows the best practices of modern eCommerce. There are some differences though between an online pharmacy and a traditional eCommerce store because there is a need to have a prescription.
Online pharmacy app benefits
Online pharmacy app development is a good decision to make since it delivers benefits to both customers and the business.
Pharmacy app benefits for customers
- Complete privacy. Some customers may be hesitant to buy specific drugs to treat a private medical condition in a traditional pharmacy because others can overhear them. An online solution solves this problem because customers can order everything they need in the privacy of their own home, get their prescriptions delivered right to their door, or pick them up by giving a pharmacist the order number to get their package.
- Contactless ordering. During the pandemic, minimizing human contact became crucial. There are also other diseases besides COVID-19 that have a high risk of infection through contact. Online pharmacies are a good way to avoid contact. Some of the leading pharmacies already use robotic solutions for issuing and delivering orders. That solution was developed in China under the influence of the pandemic.
- Less waiting. This is an obvious benefit since the customers can pick up their already-packaged orders in a pharmacy, or get their orders delivered with the help of an app to deliver medicine.
- Better prices and price comparisons. Branded apps developed by pharmacies for their customers offer a lot of promos, discounts and may even have lower prices compared to those in the physical drugstore. Medicine marketplaces offer even better opportunities to save through price comparisons since there are competing vendors to choose from.
- Better choices. Sometimes a medicine isn’t available at a local pharmacy, but it can usually be found and ordered online which makes online pharmacies a good place to fill prescriptions for patients who need difficult-to-find drugs.
Pharmacy app benefits for pharmacies
- Customer experience boost. According to research by Raconteur, an online medicine delivery app makes the life of a patient easier especially when the app is integrated with the National Health Service (NHS) electronic prescription service in the UK for example. This allows pharmacists to be sure that they are selling potentially dangerous drugs to the right patients who have been prescribed by their doctor.
- Profit increase. Pharmacy app development is also a way to boost your profits as a logical consequence of the increased sales from mobile customers.
- Cutting-edge advantage. The e-pharmacy market is growing rapidly, and online ordering is already widely accepted by many of today’s customers. This is also an investment in your reputation and a way to establish your company as an innovative, customer-centric, and caring pharmacy.
- The opportunity to upsell additional goods. With the help of additional features, in your online delivery app for medicine, you can suggest other medicines or over-the-counter options, offer appointment scheduling for doctors, and develop smart marketing strategies that depend on customer behavior, global health trends like the current demand for drugs potentially helpful in coronavirus treatment, seasons like cold and flu or allergy season, and other factors.
Basic online pharmacy app features
When it comes to your pharmacy app development, defining the list of features needed is essential for the best customer experience and your future return on investment (ROI). Below are the basic and additional functions you may want to include.
User interface features
- Registration/Login. This is a basic feature needed to create an online pharmacy.
- Search by name and substance with filters. The customers should be able to search using different parameters and filters. You need to define them in advance by analyzing your customer problems, frequently asked questions, and other issues.
- Drug information. Information about a specific medicine should be verified and complete. The main precautions and potential dangers should be visible.
- Shopping cart. This is one more core feature of the ordering process. There should be an opportunity to edit a shopping cart by adding or removing drugs.
- Instant payment. Modern customers appreciate the opportunity to pay for their orders online using credit and debit cards, mobile wallets, or even cryptocurrencies. The latter is the case in a Venezuelan pharmacy.
- Delivery and/or pickup options. You should provide your users with a choice. They should be able to either pick up their order or get it delivered.
- Order repeating.Patients with chronic disease need constant support for their health, so they should be able to reorder prescriptions with one click.
- Newsletter subscription. As a part of your marketing strategy, you can offer your customers a subscription to your newsletter to share news and personalized offers.
Pharmacist interface features
- Inventory management. Pharmacists can track inventory and stay updated on the number of drugs available using this feature.
- Order management. Using this feature, the pharmacist will be able to package the order, assign it to a courier or schedule it for pickup and track the status.
- Prescription checking. There should also be a feature for checking and verifying drug prescriptions to avoid drug scams.
- Billing features. With this feature, the pharmacist can track the payment status of the order. For example, the customer may want to pay online in the app, pay in the pharmacy, or on or after delivery.
Admin interface features
- Customer management. This is an essential feature because this is where all the personal and financial information about customers is stored. When developing this functionality, you should take the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) into account.
- Marketing features. The marketing functions you need are quite individual, however, it is essential to have a user behavior analytics feature and other marketing tools that will help you develop personalized sales strategies.
- Reporting and analytics. This section is necessary for getting data-driven insights into your sales, customer behavior, inventory management, and employee productivity.
Additional online pharmacy app features
If you want to make your online pharmacy application truly innovative and very useful for your patients, you can come up with the following advanced features.
- In-app consultation. Your app may provide the opportunity to schedule an appointment with a doctor or even an instant consultation. To make this work, you should partner with a clinic and come up with a strategy that allows a patient to buy the suggested medicines r in your pharmacy.
- Local store search. Sometimes there is a need to visit a physical pharmacy, for example, to see how a device works before purchasing it. For this purpose, a map of your stores will be helpful.
- Multi-language support. This is a must-have option if you are going to scale your business and make your pharmacy available internationally. Also, there should be multi-currency and multi-weight features for different countries. Keep in mind that some medicines may be prohibited in certain countries, so check the legislation in advance.
- Chat-bots. This is a must-have feature to facilitate your customer support staff and pharmacists.
- Lab test bookings. In addition to a consultation with a doctor, you can offer your customer the opportunity to schedule a lab test at a better price.
- Photo prescription recognition. If a patient has a handwritten prescription, it would be nice to use a feature powered by artificial intelligence (AI) for prescription recognition and to automatically add the necessary drugs to the shopping cart.
- Smart recommendation engine. You should also think about s smart recommendation engine which may even come in the form of an application programming interface (API). For example, you may suggest the customer buy probiotics in addition to an antibiotic, seasonal vitamins, or a two-for-one product.
- Notifications and reminders. If you want to make your application truly advanced, there is also an opportunity to create a personal treatment section for the patients and send them reminders to take their medicine.
5 steps to build your own pharmacy app
Below is the process to take, according to our medicine delivery app development guide. There are five steps that are separating you from launching your future solution.
1. Market and competitive analysis
The global e-Pharmacy market is expected to reach $109,2 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. For comparison, this figure was $45 billion in 2019. Even with such good prospects, you should still research your market and assess its specific needs. To do this, use economic and sociological analysis methods such as PEST, SWOT, The Five Forces, and focus groups. It is also critically important to research your competitors and develop a unique advantage that aligns with the expectations of potential users.
2. Test your business model
Even after comprehensive market research, you still need to do a lot of business idea testing. For example, you may come up with a pilot solution created with an online pharmacy app builder, then test it with a focus group and get their feedback before building a full-fledged application with a lot of actionable insights in mind.
3. Decide on a software development partner
Choosing an online pharmacy app development company can be challenging. Below we offer two suggestions to help. Choose a vendor with experience in medical solutions development. For example, Archer Software has a lot of projects implemented in this field and is well-versed in the best development practices, healthcare regulations, and standards. Consider offshore outsourcing (we can be your partner as well) to cut costs on your pharma app development.
4. Mobile and web development stage
This is a purely technical stage during which your mobile and web solutions will be created. There are a lot of specifics at this stage, but the main advice we give and the core practice we always follow is the Lean methodology for software development, which allows you to invest only in those features that are needed by your target audience.
5. Launch and maintenance of the app
Even after your app is launched, the work isn’t over. Pharmacy app development companies usually offer solution maintenance as part of their services. You should allocate some part of your budget for this stage as well.
In 2020 and beyond, online presence will be essential for pharmacies. What’s more, right now is the perfect time to create an online pharmacy application to allow your customers to stay as safe as possible. Feel free to get in touch with our pharmacy app developers to hear more actionable insights into this solution creation!
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your idea, and we will share our best practices!