Digitization in pharmaceutical distribution: Reaching customers via digital channels

digital pharma distribution

The basis for any successful sales is a good relationship with the customer. Every patient wants to be cared for individually – the digital world offers many possibilities for this. And manufacturers can thus better support decision and purchasing processes.

Customers are becoming the focus of digitization in pharmaceutical sales

Activating demand and consistently optimizing the purchasing process through insights into the customer journey are a vital foundation for digital marketing. This also applies to manufacturers of pharmaceutical products who, due to a lack of direct sales, have had little direct contact with their customers in the past.

This is changing with the digital world which offers a number of opportunities to build good relationships – if the actual needs of the customers are the focus of attention. It is typical nowadays for pharmaceutical companies to start their customer contact with a website. This is the central basis for customer information and supports decision and purchasing processes.

Internally – as with every operator of an online offer – user data is evaluated to record customer interests and preferences and use this knowledge for optimization. Here, the focus must be on the customer’s need for credible information and a convenient use of the service.

In order to build trust with patients and to position oneself as a relevant knowledge carrier, it makes sense, for example, not only to use company websites for advertising but also to link them to independent external sources. Specialist lexicons or other offers with further information are suitable for this purpose. This increases the credibility of your own information and opens up an additional touch point for patients.

In addition, the communication mix will further include the established TV channels, radio, online advertising and social networks. The entire multi-channel communication shapes the brand image and, thus, the end customer’s experience.

Show presence – online and offline

Besides direct, digital B2C communication, on-site presence at the point of sale is vital. The supply of medicines via stationary pharmacies offers the option of generating a direct sale through advertising and recommendations.

Relatively new is the digital point-of-sale. Online medication orders via stationary, mail-order pharmacies or through drugstore chains offer health products with free home delivery. This is changing the traditional business model of the stationary pharmacy, but it also impressively shows that patient needs in the healthcare system have also developed digitally.

Platforms for the digital distribution of pharmaceutical products

Platforms for digital distribution can create significant added value for pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies. For example, they offer pharmacies advantages through joint purchasing and at the same time enable manufacturers to control their marketing in a more targeted manner. On such platforms, all market participants are networked, which creates new points of contact between them and produces data sets that can be evaluated for optimization.

Since all data is available in a uniform digital form, it can be prepared individually or in a pooled form depending on the actor (e.g. pharmacy or pharmaceutical company) and legal regulations. This works automatically and enables a shorter reaction time to new trends – both in marketing and in pricing and production.

For the first time, the pharmaceutical industry is gaining a deep insight into the actual needs of its end customers, the patients. This is the basis for the digital transformation of the industry – because if digitization is to become a successful project, a consistent focus on customers is required.

To achieve this, however, companies must have the courage to be more than mere drug producers and establish an open culture in which customer focus, innovation and speed of implementation come to the fore. But above all, patients must be able to clearly see that the providers are completely committed to serving their health. Therefore, the digital interface to the customer, the front-end, is the right place to tackle digital transformation.

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