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Healthcare Ecommerce Trends Overview

6 min read

The digital age has shifted how we do business in many ways, and ecommerce has been a massive part. Many industries have moved to ecommerce, with others trailing behind in comparison. One such industry that has held back to some degree in ecommerce has been healthcare.

There are multiple reasons for this, but largely because it has begun to change rapidly. In fact, according to a global market report by The Business Research Company, the healthcare ecommerce market is expected to grow to $732.3 billion by 2027.

Numerous factors are contributing to the rise of healthcare ecommerce, including Amazon joining the space, business-to-business (B2B) demands, medical supplies, and dependence on the legacy supply chain model. Let’s take a look at some of the changing ecommerce trends in healthcare.

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Embracing Direct to Consumer Models Over Legacy Ecommerce Trends in Healthcare

For decades, healthcare supplier models have typically relied upon distributors and human sales reps, with 73% of health systems and hospitals still using this model.

This model leads to additional costs for suppliers and healthcare institutions, and this trickles down to end customers as well. Large suppliers are equipped to handle this additional cost, making it a manageable model. However, for smaller healthcare institutions, these costs are much more impactful and unsustainable.

These additional costs make up 22-24% of total expenses for many hospitals and health systems. Furthermore, these additional costs are sometimes offset by increased costs to end customers.

The massive gap between supply and demand of the current model has led to a further desire for further direct-to-consumer (D2C) medical ecommerce. There is still uncertainty as to the proper implementation and method of success in this direction, but future-ready and data-centric methods will help to promote this direction.

Barriers to a Blossoming Healthcare Ecommerce Platform

An increase in the prevalence of healthcare ecommerce platforms would be beneficial in several ways, but there are still many barriers.

Firstly, healthcare ecommerce is under strict cybersecurity laws and regulations. Any healthcare ecommerce platform must have sophisticated and resilient cybersecurity infrastructure.

This will limit the growth of this market over the coming years. However, this is understandable, as it is meant to protect the sensitive data and patients within the healthcare industry.

Amazon Will Continue Moving into the Ecommerce Space

Amazon is no stranger to the ecommerce and eHealth space. They have been running a number of projects within the healthcare space.

In 2019, Amazon equipped their Alexa devices with several healthcare-related skills. This includes relaying and monitoring blood sugar data, informing users of post-op doctor instructions, providing prescription delivery updates, and helping schedule doctor appointments.

The team involved in this project had worked hard to obtain HIPAA compliance by equipping their tech with multiple layers of security, including access controls, encryption, and secure storage within their own cloud services.

They have also been working on some more longshot projects since 2014 in a secretive lab, including using AI to assist in cancer prevention and treatment. The name of this lab varies depending on who is asked, as it has been called 1492, Amazon X, and The Amazon Grand Challenge.

In 2019, the online giant also purchased PillPack, a pharmacy startup that ships prescriptions directly to patient’s doors. Furthermore, Amazon has been selling medical supplies to medical professionals and hospitals for several years.

These are certainly ambitious goals, but Amazon has a large enough tech presence for it to be believable, whether sooner or later. As healthcare ecommerce continues to expand, Amazon is expected to continue to gain traffic within the industry. This is especially true since they’ve already partnered in the past with many other industry giants, such as JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.

Business-to-Business Healthcare Buying Shifting Online

B2B healthcare suppliers are tending more toward researching and purchasing online before reaching out to sales reps.

According to a report from Google and HIMSS Analytics titled “How Hospital Administrators Make Purchase Decisions,” over 90% of healthcare equipment buyers are researching and identifying suppliers online first. These changes mark a significant shift in moving away from traditional models, and this is likely to continue.

Furthermore, medical supplies businesses are looking to ecommerce platforms to meet needs, reduce overheads, and improve client satisfaction. Part of this solution will be leaning toward a D2C model, as mentioned above.

Looking to Launch a Healthcare Ecommerce Website?

If you want to take your business into the ecommerce space, we can help here at Ecwid. We designed our platform to make it easy to launch your ecommerce store in no time, and you can even get started for free.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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