Medical products distribution company Health Mobius has expanded its full-service e-commerce solutions designed to support pharmacies and providers of home medical equipment (HME) nationwide in response to COVID-19.
The company recently announced that its online shopping platform, an integrated marketplace connecting pharmacy consumers with more than 40,000 health care products, has helped hundreds of business owners nationwide secure new revenue streams during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and changing shopper habits.
“Small businesses and brick-and-mortar retail locations have struggled in response to changing consumer shopping habits in the wake of COVID-19, including independent pharmacies that serve diverse communities around the country,” said Kamal Haddad, chief executive officer of Health Mobius. “As shoppers go online, small businesses need cost-effective e-commerce tools to compete with the giants like Amazon and Walmart. When we looked at the pharmacy owners we serve, they didn’t have easy access to an expansive virtual inventory nor the technology to compete online – so we created them.”
According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, tracking 80 of the nation’s top 100 online retailers, e-commerce sales grew 49% in the U.S. in April 2020, while in-store foot traffic has declined.
This accelerated shift in online shopping helped Health Mobius emerge as “the first in the industry to offer a fully managed webstore solution designed to help pharmacy, HME, DME and health care providers compete with large retailers for online shoppers.”
Health Mobius is now providing hundreds of HME, DME (durable medical equipment) and pharmacy retail locations with turnkey e-commerce services, delivering up to 300% increases in online sales, with some clients going from no online revenues to thousands within a single month. Providing customers a product catalogue of 40,000 health and wellness products, the webstore is fully managed by Health Mobius on behalf of pharmacy customers, including website hosting, maintenance, design, branding, product pricing, payment processing, detailed reporting and customer service.
The Health Mobius Webstore is an out-of-the-box e-commerce solution that integrates with a company’s existing website. The retailer determines what brands and categories to offer on its customized webstore without any up-front product purchase or use of valuable floor space while its shoppers receive live customer service via phone or online chat from the Health Mobius call center.
E-commerce, in the view of Health Mobius, has been emerging as a retail necessity for HME for a long time, even while many providers felt that they needed to focus solely on expanding in-store business with increased retail floor space and better planograms.
The data, according to Health Mobius shows that e-commerce revenue rose during the pandemic – and will continue to do so moving forward. Health Mobius offers five steps for companies to take in setting up online retail strategies in order to adapt and stay relevant in this shifting paradigm.
First, companies should create a memorable experience for their patients. For example, a dedicated showroom and live customer service employees that are focused on the needs of customers, since companies that know their patients as individuals “have a more personal connection with them and understand their individual needs.”
Second, companies should avoid common myths that prevent them from creating their most optimal website, such as “My products can only be sold in a store or face to face” or “My patients don’t buy online.” Or “I do not have the space to add more items,” “I don’t have the time to build a new website” or “A custom site is expensive.”
Third, there are certain features websites should have, such as basic contact information; current safety and social distancing policies; a list of key products and services; product catalog with user-friendly navigation; product pages with detailed descriptions, guides and videos for easy usage; product catalog for items available in store and products available online only; and real e-commerce with “Add to Cart” that allows patients to purchase items online direct from the company’s website.
Fourth, companies need to empower their staff, which means having a catalog that is current with inventory that is clearly visible – and then providing personnel with the ability to execute an online order immediately. Companies can no longer rely on in-store, phone and fax orders. Rather, they must extend their reach, be where their patients are and process orders in a way that is convenient for those patients.
And last, companies must decide between a catalog and an e-commerce platform. At absolute minimum, the website should have a product catalog, even a service that offers a pre-loaded catalog, which is good for small entities that do not plan on growing retail sales and are working with a focused set of products that will not change.
E-commerce platforms, on the other hand, will typically provide back-end, or server-side, functionality out of the box and can be deployed without a lot of expensive customization. Many platforms have the ability to scale without a major investment in development cost as a company grows. Most importantly, companies should opt for a platform that will easily integrate with back-end systems for order automation, fulfillment and inventory management, and secure payment processing.
Ultimately, patients will shop with a company online so long as the site provides the safety, security, confidence, personal service, convenience and value patients
Kamal Haddad is founder and CEO of Health Mobius LLC, a medical products distribution company that builds and manages web stores. Health Mobius provides easy, low-cost, fully managed e-commerce solutions to HME and DME providers, pharmacies, home health care agencies and senior care and medical facilities.