Are eCommerce medical supplies the future of selling medical equipment? With such a high demand for PPE and many challenges with online marketing, it seems that online selling is one of the few solutions to solving this supply and demand challenge.
When the Covid-19 pandemic first began, it was nearly impossible to find personal protective equipment (PPE) for sale through Google, Facebook, and pretty much every other online platform. This caused a massive problem because not only were buyers having a hard time finding PPE products and other medical supplies, but sellers could not find a successful way to market their medical products.
Unlike many other industries, medical supply sellers are still operating in a brick-and-mortar store. While some have transitioned to online sales, not many of them have a medical eCommerce website. Because of this, they may be missing out on many deals.
But is there a future for medical equipment eCommerce websites?
Many medical suppliers are worried that making the transition to medical eCommerce websites would not be appealing to hospitals and medical centers. This article will explore the medical supplies business opportunities and the potential challenges of eCommerce for medical devices and supplies.
Medical Supply Business Opportunities
For many medical supply companies, creating an online store or medicine e-commerce website is the next step to expanding their market. Market researchers have shown that many medical supplies businesses are investing in eCommerce stores. In the past and even the present, many medical suppliers still use calling and emailing as ways to secure buyers.
While this has worked for many companies, the increasingly digital world is pushing for more user-friendly and efficient ordering options. Luckily, using B2B eCommerce solutions can help expand a business’s client base. However, this doesn’t mean that medical suppliers need to move away from their brick-and-mortar stores. Simply, it just means that they must restructure their sales team and target mixed audiences.
Does Amazon Sell Medical Supplies? More Opportunities for Smaller PPE Businesses
While Amazon does sell some medical supplies, only businesses that participate in Amazon’s Professional Health Care Program and that have been licensed to sell health care products can sell medical supplies on their platform.
Generally, Amazon does allow the selling of any items over the counter, which could be sold to general consumers. However, Amazon does have strict rules for selling any prescription devices. For example, Amazon business owners can sell adhesive bandages, crutches, and eyeglasses frames.
Only those who Amazon’s health care program has cleared are permitted to sell medical devices such as asthma inhalers, prescription dental devices, insulin pumps, and prescription eyewear, to name a few. Moreover, Amazon is not currently accepting any new applications for their Professional Health Care Program. This means that anyone looking to sell medical supplies on Amazon is out of luck.
Yet, there are plenty of products that Amazon does not allow for any sellers to post on their platform. The products that they do not allow on Amazon are generally not FDA approved or anything that has been refurbished.
Even though hospitals and other medical facilities cannot get their medical products from Amazon, this is an excellent opportunity for smaller businesses to sell medical supplies to these companies. Although large manufacturers and suppliers dominate the medical supplies market, there is still room for eCommerce for medical devices and supplies.
The Challenges of Selling Medical Equipment and Supply Online
There is no hiding that the competition for selling medical supplies is high. Even so, online medical supply sales are growing at a rate of about 17% each year. But to be successful in healthcare e-commerce, some crucial factors must be addressed, and companies must be open to restructuring some of their supply chain and business plans.
Does eCommerce Eliminate the Role of Your Sales Team?
One of the biggest questions that administrators have as they contemplate selling medical supplies online is whether or not e-commerce medical supplies eliminate a sales team’s role. While it is true that there will be less need for a salesperson to call and email potential buyers, there is a need to refocus the sales team so that they can use their skills for online marketing.
For the most part, medical e-commerce websites are used by buyers as an easy and efficient way to order supplies when it’s needed. It is convenient for hospitals and other medical facilities to go online and either order supplies or have their medical supplies delivered via automatic shipment.
While this may seem like you will no longer need a full-time sales team, it simply means that your current sales team needs to adapt their roles. These could be anything from analyzing sales data and trends to researching customer needs and supporting customer engagement. The sales team can still make calls, emails, and in-person visits to potential buyers, but overall, the e-commerce website will make both the sales teams and the buyers’ lives significantly more straightforward.
Large Suppliers Dominate the Market
Luckily, global medical supplies will always be needed. However, the market is undoubtedly competitive, and many of the more prominent manufacturers and suppliers have long-term relationships with some of the biggest clients in healthcare.
However, that doesn’t mean that smaller businesses that sell medical supplies, personal protective equipment, or other medical equipment should give up. For smaller companies, the best way to continue to recruit new clients is to focus on the value of your products, providing professional expertise such as research, and fostering excellent customer relationships.
An efficient and well-developed eCommerce website for medical supplies can help improve customer experience as long as you have a proactive customer service team.
The Struggle of Targeting Mixed Audiences and Buyers
While one of your primary targets will still be larger healthcare institutions such as hospitals, laboratories, universities, and other medical centers, there is still a need to target individual consumers. Mainly because it is hard to find personal protective equipment online, medical supplies businesses should support business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) platforms. Meaning they should sell in bulk and individual items.
By targeting both large institutions and individual customers, you will succeed in establishing quality customer relationships. However, ensuring that the online experience is just as successful as in-person stores and typical sales tactics, having that quality customer service team and user-friendly platform is essential.
With a rapidly growing medical supply market, there is a need for convenient, efficient, and user-friendly eCommerce medical suppliers. Not only can having a quality website reach more customers but combining B2B and B2C tactics can help online medical suppliers reach more customers and improve experiences.