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Best practices to remove digital barriers in healthcare ecommerce

You don't have to walk through a half-empty shopping mall to know that online shopping continues to grow in popularity.1 That popularity extends to healthcare ecommerce, a market segment that includes online shopping for drugs, medical devices, healthcare supplies and services like telemedicine.

After dipping slightly in 2021, current projections indicate that the global healthcare ecommerce market is going to grow to $643.07 billion per year in 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17%.2

As the ecommerce market grows, so do the expectations of consumers. Fortunately, healthcare ecommerce advances are helping companies meet those expectations and increase sales.

Here are six ecommerce improvements to watch, along with examples from healthcare and other industries.

1 | Progressive web apps

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are websites designed to look and function like mobile apps. They offer many of the features of traditional mobile apps, including notifications and automatic updates, without requiring the user to download anything from an app store. They're also cheaper to create, and they work seamlessly across mobile and desktop devices.3

Retailers that have begun offering PWAs have seen significant improvements in important metrics like session length and cart abandonment rate. For example, multicategory online retailer AliExpress saw time spent per session increase 74% and conversion rates more than double (the conversion rate is the percentage of site visitors who place an order).4

2 | Subscribe and save

Subscribe and save is an increasingly popular advanced ecommerce feature. It saves customers the trouble of reordering products they need on an ongoing basis — a big part of healthcare spending — while giving companies a predictable revenue stream.5

Supplement retailer Beyond Health added a subscribe and save option as part of a website overhaul. The company offered its customers a 5% discount if they chose this option (which they could cancel or modify at any time). In the first six weeks, the average order value increased by nearly 8%.6

3 | Web push notifications

Most web browsers allow users to enable push notifications from sites they've visited, even after they've navigated away from those sites. You've probably seen a pop-up prompt in a web browser that says, " wants to show notifications," but you can actually customize these prompts to become more specific and inviting.

Notifications can remind customers that they've abandoned their shopping carts, offer them discounts and notify them when items they've viewed are back in stock.7, which sells FSA-eligible products, uses push notifications extensively in the fourth quarter of each year, its peak sales period. The messages remind customers that they must use or lose their FSA funds and suggest products and product bundles. About 40% of December sales come as a result of the push notification campaign.8

4 | Omnichannel marketing

The goal of omnichannel marketing is to give customers a seamless experience with a brand regardless of how they engage: on a website, in person, on social media, via phone or text, etc.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, 73% of shoppers use multiple channels to interact with a retailer. And those who use four or more channels spend 9% more than those who use just one channel.9

Drug Store News named Walgreens its 2021 retailer of the year largely because of its omnichannel marketing approach.10 The goal of the company's "connected health strategy" is to make the customer's experience seamless even as they go from online to offline and back again. One company benefit: customers who interact in-store, online and via mobile spend six times as much as store-only customers.11

5 | Customer reviews

Few things move customers to take action more than reviews by other customers. Over 90% of people read reviews, and 84% trust them as much as personal recommendations.

Reviews that appear on your site can also help with search engine optimization because they're often rich in keywords like the names of your products.12

But that's just the beginning. You can repurpose reviews on social media, in ads, in marketing emails and on store displays.13

They can also help you improve your business. The DB Method, which sells fitness equipment, revamped its notification process based on customer reviews, resulting in an improved customer experience.14

6 | Enhanced search

First introduced by Google, predictive search is now used on nearly 80% of ecommerce sites and greatly improves the user experience. As a customer begins typing search terms, suggested search phrases pop up, saving time. One study found that comprehensive search can boost conversion rates by 4.63%.15

Even making the search bar more prominent can help. When home furnishings retailer Black Forest Decor did that, its conversions jumped 20%.16

Some companies also connect search and sales more tightly. After industrial supplier HD Supply started displaying Add to Cart buttons next to search results, its sales from search increased by 16%.17

Simplify healthcare ecommerce shopping

Someone who visits your ecommerce site probably wants to buy what you sell. By simplifying the shopping experience, you can meet their needs and generate important revenue.

Is your ecommerce strategy ready to grow with consumer demand? We have products and solutions to help you drive more revenue for your healthcare business. See retail ecommerce solutions >


© 2022 McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc.