Think of the last time you ordered something on your smartphone. From groceries to a pair of shoes, it seems like everything can be ordered online these days. In an age where former upstarts like Uber and Airbnb are the current business zeitgeist, e-commerce technology continues to extend its reach.
It’s not just technology that’s changing. The consumer mentality has evolved as well. Not only have consumers grown to enjoy the convenience of this purchasing model—they’ve come to demand it. And perhaps unsurprisingly, e-commerce is making waves in the healthcare industry.
It was estimated that the healthcare industry spends about $32 billion on e-commerce and digital technology annually, more than five times the amount spent by online retailers on the same services. Events like the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) e-Commerce Conference — which meets annually to discuss topics like digital healthcare marketing — reflects the sea change taking place. As HIDA indicates, healthcare suppliers and trading partners know the growing importance of aligning their e-commerce and digital marketing efforts. Do you?
How Healthcare e-Commerce is Impacting the Industry
Much like it did with traditional retail, e-commerce has all but cut out the middleman in the healthcare supply chain. Manufacturers and distributors have provided buyers with more control over the buying process—and their customers are transforming e-commerce operations in response to this digital dominance.
This has created a centralized distribution operation model in which products flow directly from suppliers to buyers. This has enabled manufacturers to launch websites where consumers can order supplies and equipment directly. It also has afforded distributors other opportunities to reach customers. Now, even specialized, regional distributors have access to a larger reach.
This convenience has created new opportunities and leveled the playing field for medical suppliers. Businesses of all sizes can now compete with the heavy hitters. But it’s also created a new type of competition. Now, getting found online is essential for the success of medical manufacturers and distributors.
What does this mean?
It means that healthcare e-commerce is dominated by convenience.Customers are not only more educated than ever—they’re in control of their buyer’s journey. Clinicians and material managers are searching for solutions to their needs. Information that educates and provides additional information leading towards a solution builds trust. And the companies that meet them halfway with strong digital marketing can influence these interactions.
Digital Marketing Helps Align Your Supply Chain With Customer Expectations
It’s essential to cater to the needs of your buyers—from their first interaction with your brand, all the way down to repeat purchases. Whether you’re selling to IDNs, individual hospitals, or healthcare providers, effective content marketing helps deliver relevant marketing material to qualified leads. This positions your products in front of qualified buyers, and boosts the authority of your website.
Creating targeted content answers real-life questions that potential consumers are asking. It also ensures that the content is discoverable by search engines, so that your content is read in the first place. Recent developments like Google Shopping and voice search have taken digital healthcare e-commerce marketing one step further by empowering buyers to easily find the products they’re looking for—and purchase them at their convenience.
Digital marketing can boost the reach of your healthcare e-commerce efforts and improve the profitability of your organization. Need help aligning your digital presence around e-commerce? Download Harnessing Healthcare Ecommerce to kick start your digital marketing efforts and ensure they remain sustainable over time.