Is the rise in the e-commerce business overwhelming you in a manner that cannot wait to give it a try?
Do you have an existing offline pharmaceutical store?
Have you given thoughts to take your business online but never knew how to do that?
If your answer to any or all of the questions above is ‘yes’ then this blog can help you align your business plan in no time.
Opening an online pharmacy is the most under-explored area of an e-commerce business, hence is a great business idea, even today. With online selling becoming the centre of all business activities, E-pharmacies HAVE to be a part of the race.
So if you wish to take your current pharmacy store business online or start one from scratch, this write-up will help you track a step by step process to do so.
So, let’s get started!
STEP 1: Plan your idea:
Everything goes right with the right planning. You need to define your idea, identify the need for your business, plan the cost involved, set your target audience, and name your business well in advance to run it successfully. The following write-up will help you understand more about the planning stage and what all needs to be taken care of.
STEP 2: Sort the legal formalities:
The choice of whether to be in a sole proprietorship, partnership and limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation needs to be taken care of. Once sorted, the next step will be to get your company registered for taxes.
STEP 3: Open bank accounts and set your accounting:
Apply for a dedicated bank account for your business and set your financial accounting system.
STEP 4: Apply for permits and licenses:
You will have to apply for a lot of local and state licenses along with getting business insurance for your business at this stage.
STEP 5: Plan for Marketing:
All the efforts in making your web app will go in vain if not marketed well. You need to create a website and a functioning marketing plan to market your application and make it visible to your users.
How to build an Online Pharmaceutical App?
With the account and legal aspect sorted you can finally start focussing on developing your application.
This process has three main things to consider:
- Features of your app
- Costs involved
- App development
SET THE FEATURES RIGHT
To begin making your medical app the first thing you require is to define who will be the users of your application. In this case, the users can be divided into four broad categories:
- The customer
- The admin
- The delivery agent
- The pharmacist
1. THE CUSTOMER
The features that a medical app should have for your end customers include:
a) A personalized user account for every user
A personalized user account should be created for every user post they register with their email IDs/phone numbers/user names in the beginning. The account details must include the name, age, gender, address, medical history, etc of the user which can be used to deliver relevant information in the future as per their preferences. It can also have your buyer history saved at one column that can come handy for repeat purchases.
b) A catalogue of medicines available detailed drug information
With the help of this feature, every user will be able to search the required medicine or drugs they need and place orders. The catalogue must also include information like the composition of the medicine, its uses, date of manufacturing, expiry, side effects, etc. to avoid confusion while buying.
c) Categorize medicines and drugs as per safe uses.
Pharmacists need to categorize their medicines as per safe usage because special drugs cannot be sold without a prescription. A clear categorization can help define what medicines can be added without having a prescription for the same.
d) Upload Prescription for on account
The next step will be for a user to upload their prescription on-page to keeps things legal and transparent
e) Search bar to search for medicines
The search bar will help users to look for their medicines with ease and accuracy and help a buyer opt for your app online over others on the internet.
f) Auto Similar Drug suggestions
In cases when a particular medicine is unavailable, similar drug suggestions can help a buyer choose for an alternative producer. It can help choose cheaper and affordable medicines on time.
g) Reminder/ repeat purchase options to be made available
In the case of regular medicines, a reminder can be set for buyers to repeat their monthly purchases depending on the day their doses are expected to finish.
h) Order Tracking
Buyers should be able to track their orders as to when will their order reach their location.
i) Payments & Special Offers
Providing safe payment gateways to the user is the most essential part of an online pharmacy app. Make sure that the gateway is secure and all possible banks or payment options are available for the users.
j) Push Notifications
Notifications for monthly medicine reminders, sales, discounts, promotions, etc can help create effective communication between the buyer and the seller.
k) Feedback and consultations
An instant feedback option is the most important part of your application to ensure optimum customer satisfaction. Your customers should be able to reach out to your company for any discrepancies and free consultations.
l) Live Locations through GPS
A real-time location feature can help customers track orders, physical stores, and delivery agents while interacting with the app.
2. THE ADMIN
The second important use for your pharmaceutical app will be you and your staff members. Hence there has to be an admin friendly interface that supports all requirements of you and your team and help you keep track of your business online.
a) Control Centre
An administration panel that helps you keep control over all our entire business cycles is important.
b) Inventory Management
This feature will help you manage just in time inventory system to avoid overstocking or understocking your goods in time. It helps you to auto-place orders for the restocking of medicines in time.
c) Order Management
This is a platform that will help you keep track of all the orders placed and delivered to your customers.
d) Customer Management
All the customer data that you collected on the registration phase will be managed here which you can use for giving customized offers, reminders, and freebies to your customers.
e) Logistics Integration
This section will help you to manage your logistics i.e. your product delivery, supply delivery, stocking, etc. on time. Your medicine delivery men would require special attention to create a smooth home delivery plan for your customers.
f) Content Management system
This section will help you manage content for your website, medicine descriptions, blogs, frequently asked questions, etc.
3. THE DELIVERY AGENTS
The third direct user of your pharmaceutical app is your logistics team that includes your delivery men who would be responsible for delivering your customer’s medicines to their doorstep. The interfaces they’ll require include:
a) Login details and profile creation
Delivery men should be able to easily login using their chosen login credentials such as email, phone number, or social media accounts. They must have a personal profile with their saved credentials like address contact number, delivery history, etc. to help track their performance throughout the month.
b) Delivery Information/Status along with living GPS tracking
A system where all delivery men can see the address where the product is to be delivered or picked up from along with shortest route suggestions is essential.
4. THE PHARMACIST
The fourth important user of your pharmaceutical app is the pharmacist who needs to have a tap on the medicines being ordered and delivered be and to the end customer.
a) Medicine tracker
The pharmacist or store manager should be able to update the available medicine catalogue as and when required.
b) Prescription view checking panel
The pharmacist should be able to view the prescriptions being uploaded by the customers and check if the medicines are available or not. A separate panel to check if the medicine falls under the legal distribution category or not should also be available.
c) Order tracker
A clear view of the daily orders being placed and delivered should be available to the pharmacist in real-time. A separate section for returns, exchanges, and refunds should also be available for management to them.
d) Payments panel
A clear panel for managing payments should be available for the pharmacist to view account balance, daily passbook, transactions, alerts, etc.
e) Prices and discounts management
Pharmacists should be able to change the prices, share discounts and offers, and post giveaways on their application with ease. This feature should be made available to them from the beginning of the application
f) Comments and reviews tracker
Pharmacists should be able to manage the comments, ratings, and reviews section of the application.
DEFINE THE COSTING AND BUDGETING
The second most essential part of your pharmaceutical app development is defining the cost of making your app. It depends on three main criteria:
1. A number of dashboards created and the time taken to create an individual dashboard:
The number of dashboards you create will depend on the extent to which you wish to add features to your applications. On average, it takes 4 to 6 months for an application to be developed.
2. Hourly rate:
This will depend on the physical location of your software development company that will be multiplied with the time taken to develop every individual feature.
3. Number of platforms:
If you decide to take your application to iOS and android other than the web the cost of your application development will rise successively.
HIT THE DEVELOPMENT STAGE:
With the feature set right and all the verticals planned, You are all set to hit the most important step of starting your pharmacy business online i.e. ‘Application Development’.
The process of making a pharmaceutical app is very similar to any other application development in which you will require a good software development company’s services.
The steps include:
Step1: Defining the Idea
This is an ideal building stage a lot of which is already done with the features set right and the budgeting costing taken care of in the beginning. What needs to be added is to take a note of all the potential loopholes and plan beforehand.
Step 2: Requirement Gathering
This step typically ensures fixing meetings with the right medical app developer, logistics teams, bankers, CA’s, and anyone and everyone you would require to work in this process of pharmaceutical app development.
Step 3: Prototyping and validation
At this stage, the developers will come into the picture where they’ll refer to the features set above and create a master prototype for the app with an interactive user interface. Next, the prototype will be validated by you to see if changes are to be made.
Step 4: App development:
This is the most crucial stage of the entire process, where the actual app is developed. In involves both the backend and frontend development stages along with the UI/UX designing. The app is made available in all possible platforms i.e. Android, iOS, and web with separate optimization.
Step 5: Testing
Once the applications are developed it moves to the testing phase where all the application verticals, interfaces, and features will be tested thoroughly to ensure an error-free experience of the pharmacy app.
Step 6: RELEASE…
The moment you are is past the development stage, your application is all set to be published on the iOS and Android application stores for the users to start using it.
Your online pharmaceutical app is ready!!!
The trend for on-demand apps is increasing rapidly. Customers are becoming conscious of their choices available online and wish to buy everything from the comfort of their homes be it groceries, fashion clothing, gadgets, or medicines. Hence, medicinal apps are sure to boom in the market in the next few years to come.
If you are ready to start your own pharmaceutical app and enter this booming market then you must lookout for the best in market Medical Application Development Company that can serve you with competent technologies and cutting-edge design features