Online Pharmacy Application Development Guide

The online pharmacy market is expanding rapidly. According to short-term forecasts of Statista analysts, it will reach the value of $31.64 billion in 2023, and by 2027 this figure will increase to $52.33 billion. More than 1.5 billion consumers worldwide use the industry’s services; by 2027, their number will exceed 2.3 billion. 

All these figures testify to one thing: the online pharmacy industry is developing by leaps and bounds. Those who manage to break into the market now with a unique product can compete for positions in the niche, controlling some of the total turnover. Therefore, e-pharmacy app development in 2023 is a promising option for anyone ready to invest in the industry. 

Lampa experts have prepared a guide on pharmaceutical app development. From the material, you will learn the following:

  • Prospects for online medicine in the next decade.

  • Benefits of pharmacy application for Android and iOS. 

  • Details of different types of pharmacy apps.

  • Features of development services, medicines, and pharmacy.

  • The cost to develop an online pharmacy app.

What is a pharmacy application?

A digital solution in the form of an app and web platform that provides customers with access to a database of drugs and the ability to order/book them. This is the first definition that comes to mind when mentioning a pharma app. But in practice, there are several types of pharmacy products that differ in both scope and purpose.

We will talk about the types of apps and systems a bit later. It is important to note that this software closes several tasks simultaneously. For pharmacists, it is the best assistant in organizing the work, pharmacy app for patients is a convenient product for remote navigation by category and ordering of medicines.

Pharmaceutical app features vary greatly depending on the type of digital solution and its scale. Some apps are designed for drug sales only, while other systems offer tools for managing entire networks of pharmacies.

What Problems Do Pharmacy Applications Solve?

As we know, the pharma segment has some cornerstones that are difficult to bypass in classic ways. These include:

  • Availability of drugs in offline pharmacies: without an online catalog with an integrated WMS system, there is a problem with monitoring stocks and, as a rule, the availability of goods at the points of sale.

  • Work schedule: you can come to the pharmacy and see the schedule, the period of product range renewal, etc., but it is inconvenient and time-consuming.

  • Prescriptions for drugs: almost every pharmacy sells a large list of drugs only with paper prescriptions, even if electronic prescriptions are in the database.

  • Instructions for use: each drug has indications and contraindications, which you can find either in the drug box or on the Internet.

  • Cost comparison: to find the necessary drug at an adequate price, you have to visit several pharmacies, which is inconvenient and sometimes very time-consuming.

  • Drug reservations: not all pharmacies can order a certain drug on a date or simply reserve it for later purchase at the point of sale.

  • UX personalization: a pharmacist cannot a priori know the peculiarities of the client’s body unless they enter information into a personal profile, which offline pharmacies don’t have.

  • Search for medications: even within one pharmacy, it sometimes takes 10 minutes to search for a drug, and if there are several such items, the queue is much longer.

  • Familiarity: as a rule, consumers are aware of pharmacies within walking distance of their homes, preferring to buy drugs there rather than searching for bargains.

Pharma application solves all of these problems. By increasing an online presence and expanding the set of features through software development, you provide your customers with a better experience with the pharmacy chain. This positively impacts the financial side of the business, but also on the internal, namely the operational side. 

Online Pharmacy Apps Market Overview

The digital pharmacy market constantly improves, attracting new players with unique schemes and ideas to the niche. This is reflected in the overall quality of IT solutions and app features. Until recently, small custom pharmacy apps were present on the Internet. Now, you can find a multivendor online pharmacy market and corporate systems.

The trend toward digital transformation is not avoiding segments such as online medicine. Fortune Business Insights predicts that the mHealth market, including the medicine app, will reach a value of $314 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 34.8%. As for the global online pharmacy industry, Markets and Markets expects the total industry value to increase to $211 billion by 2027.

This development is due to several factors:

  • high demand for mobile solutions for segments;

  • the demand for digital services;

  • increased competition in the market;

  • high requirements for digital solutions;

  • technological stagnation.

The struggle for every customer is the basis of commerce. The pharmacy business belongs to those specific niches where only the uniqueness of the offer and UX solutions can increase customer loyalty. For the same reason, pharma application development is an excellent option for quick entrance into the target market, digital transformation of business, or scaling.

Benefits of Building a Pharmacy App

Benefits of Building a Pharmacy App

A branded online pharmacy product is a catalyst that affects some internal and external enterprise processes. Its absence can ruin a business, whereas having a well-thought-out and user-friendly IT solution, on the contrary, will increase sales and optimize user interaction with pharmacists. 

Convenience

Forget about the typical problems of offline cash desks with an online pharmacy store app. Your clients will appreciate the convenient remote access to key business functions: viewing medications online, booking them, and ordering them “to the door.” Such apps are also an ideal opportunity to analyze your audience, consider their wishes and implement a top-notch UX.

Increase Sales

As with the impact of development steps on product quality, features to your app allow you to increase sales. First, because of the personalization of the UX for consumers, and second, because of the automation of some internal processes. Even trivial order processing in automatic mode relieves staff and speeds up sales, not to mention other benefits. 

Fewer Phone Calls

As a rule, consumers are constantly communicating with pharmacists via phone calls. Imagine that users can get all the information they want using your pharmacy application. You can even set up a support center (or chatbot, as an option) that answers consumers’ questions in text mode. 

Improve Customer Loyalty

Switching to a mobile pharmacy will simplify and speed up the sales chain, keeping it to a minimum:

  • review of medications; 

  • familiarize with contraindications;

  • booking or ordering;

  • payment; 

  • pickup or delivery.

If you also include quality support, you get a top-notch UX, contributing to customer retention and appreciation for the pharmacy network.

Lower Operating Costs

Have you ever calculated how much time a pharmacist spends, on average, on monitoring stock and communicating with clients? If you translate this into the language of finance, you get quite solid expenses for “downtime.”

Add to this the bureaucratic aspect: paper, stationery, and manual handling of incoming goods, and you get even more points for potential savings. Needless to say, when using an online pharmacy store, all of the above is leveled out.

Saves Time

In one way or another, we face the flow in pharmacy cash registers, the long search for the right drugs, and the study of instructions. But what if we were to eliminate all that from the sales chain? Instant purchases, fast order processing, and constant assortment monitoring are all advantages of implementing the pharmacy store or mobile app.

Systematization of Internal Pharmacy Processes

Digital systems for healthcare and pharmacy allow you to remove up to 90% of routine manual processes, positively affecting overall productivity. This is especially true for pharmacies with a small warehouse and numerous suppliers. 

With an enterprise digital product, you can order medications online faster, monitor your own inventory, maintain analytics, and plan for future scaling.

Top Pharmaceutical Mobile Applications

Top Pharmaceutical Mobile Applications

It was not for nothing that we mentioned the development of the market and the emergence of trusted online pharmacy companies. They invested in digital transformation, and they did not go wrong. Profits have increased, and so has the popularity of the target audience. But most importantly, they have gained something offline pharmacies will never have – limitless potential for scaling. 

Let’s take a brief look at the brightest representatives in the industry. 

Walgreens

This a good example of how the app depends on its target audience. The company reacts quickly to anything customers don’t like, fixing functionality on the fly. Thanks to this approach, consumers get a top-notch UX and consider Walgreens one of the best representatives of the on-demand pharmacy industry.

CVS Pharmacy

Another good example of a system for ordering medicine. The app works only in the U.S., providing quality service to all customers. The design and development of this digital product are excellent, as evidenced by its rating in the profile platforms.

Rite Aid Pharmacy

Another local resource that the company created to please a key target audience. At the heart of the solution is the pharmacy delivery app concept, polished by hours of testing and customer feedback analytics. 

Netmeds

Indian pharmacy marketplace, designed to speed up the sale of necessary medicines and simplify the purchase for customers as much as possible. The modern UI is perfectly combined with the high resource performance and the demand for the solution on the market. It is because of the quality of implementation this product made it to our top. 

PharmEasy

A large selection of products, medicines, and near-medical products – that’s how we can describe this resource. The pharmaceutical platform is implemented in mobile and web versions, which makes it possible to reach the broadest audience and provide it with a high level of personalization of services.

Capsule

A modern resource designed for both customer service and the B2B segment. It has optimized interaction algorithms, a simple but user-friendly design, and top-notch performance. Thanks to this, it is trusted by customers and partners of the company.

Types of Pharmacy Apps

Let’s return to the types of digital products for pharmacies and pharmacy chains. Three key types of apps are available for implementation. They differ in scale, purpose, and cost. As a rule, companies choose one of them, but if the goal is justified, they develop several options at once, covering all current business needs. 

Apps for Pharmacy Marketplaces

Typical trading platform, but for the niche of pharmaceuticals and near-medical goods. Implemented by an experienced development team, with subsequent scaling and synchronization with partner (vendor) systems. You can use it to expand your business or provide storefronts for third-party vendors. 

The development price is standard for marketplaces, adjusted for applying profile technologies and certifications (for example, HIPAA, SmartOnFhir, etc.). 

Development of Apps for Pharmacy Store Chains

A corporate system with internal operating space and consumer sections. A specialized development company implements it in the standard for this kind of software terms. As for functionality, it depends on the needs and peculiarities of a particular business. The cost usually starts at $40,000 for MVP and has no limit.

Online Pharmacy Store App Development

Specialized app developers with high skills and competence in medical projects create such systems. The apps are designed to work with the target audience and trade in medicines and drugs. Like the previous type, the development prices are not fixed and depend on several factors: scale, region of work, and business peculiarities. 

Most Important Pharmaceutical App Features

Traditionally, the functions of digital solutions in online pharmacy app development are divided into core and supplementary. Key functionality is implemented at the MVP/MLP stages, ensuring that the product works in the early stages of publication. It contributes to the fact that the app starts generating revenue as soon as it is released. 

Let’s examine the key software features that should be present at release time.

Sign-on and profile

Authorization is the only way to identify the user. Therefore, the first thing to do is to implement a login window and registration in the system. By the way, for identification, you can use both new registration data and existing ones by migrating the user’s information from Google, Meta, etc. 

As for the customer profile, it must be as simple and convenient as possible. The filling requirements are the same as for the typical software: full name, date of birth, gender, city, and photo. You can expand it with specifications: blood group, contraindications, etc. 

E-commerce

There’s no way to be in pharmaceuticals without an element of commerce. The app should be able to bill, conduct transactions, and accept payments from regional (and global) payment systems. Often people try to develop all this from scratch, but why if there are solutions like Stripe, for example? 

In general, the point is that already at the MVP stage, your product should be able to operate with finances.

Prescription management

E-prescriptions are complex, requiring deep integration with EMR/EHR systems. But it’s necessary to provide your audience with a truly useful digital solution. If you can’t get prescriptions into the app, you won’t be able to effectively market medicines and, therefore, won’t unlock the system’s potential.  

Order tracking

The user orders/reserves a product and wants to know when it will arrive. You give them that opportunity by synchronizing your software with logistics systems or an internal tracker (WMS). This, in turn, will increase trust in your business and overall customer loyalty. 

Notifications

Notifications are the best way to remind people about the app. Send out promotional offers and discounts on frequently purchased and personalized items, and get profits. The notification system is also needed to quickly notify customers about the arrival of their orders, shifts in delivery dates, etc.

Localization

Even within one region, there are several ethnicities and speakers of different languages, not to mention foreigners and tourists. Do you want to cover the available target audience as much as possible? Localize the app in a few languages, and synchronize the automatic display with the consumer's device settings.

Advanced Features of a Pharma App

Basic functionality is not replete with an abundance of attractive or innovative features. Another matter is expanding it when scaling up (or even at the MVP stage, if the budget allows). We’ll give you an example of only popular features you can implement. The rest depends only on your ideas and budget. 

Barcode scanning

A great way to speed up the processing of incoming goods and improve inventory control. This feature is necessary if you want to know exactly how much and what is left in stock, as well as to notify customers about shortages of drugs.

Chat or video calls

In the Internet age, mobile or analog calls are considered bad manners. But you have to communicate with clients somehow and consult them if necessary. Here come the rescue chats or video calls, and it’s the functionality that, although not required, is desirable. As well as the built-in chatbot for consultations, for example. 

Pickup orders

It’s not always profitable for users to order your goods by logistics departments or by courier delivery. Sometimes it’s easier and faster to go to one of your (or a partner’s) branches and pick up the order (reservation) there. So give them that opportunity by implementing point-of-sale delivery.

Social interactivity

Reviews, sharing experiences, product ratings... Add a social element to your app and get a higher conversion rate. By increasing the rating or positive reviews, you can boost product sales, and users can choose the medication they need based on real reviews of its effectiveness.

Family accounts

Usually, each family member has their own account in each app. This is convenient for differentiating content, for example. In pharma, it’s more likely to be more profitable to have one shared account, receiving reward points and using them for their intended purpose. Don’t deny your audience this opportunity.

Accessibility features

As a rule, healthy people don’t need pharmacy apps. Given the most common problems with hearing, vision, and coordination, optimize your digital product for users who find it difficult to operate a smartphone in the usual ways. In terms of investment, it’s a small fraction compared to the appreciation they’ll turn into conversions.

Mobile wallet

Allow consumers to save their payment information for reuse. This will speed up the sales process and save them from having to enter their card number, authorize payment, etc., every time.

Steps to Make a Pharmacy App

There are no specifics in the creation of pharmaceutical apps. Except for HIPAA, GDPR certifications, use of SmartOnFHIR protocols, etc., the development process is classical and even broken down into identical stages.

Discovery

Idea research, market analysis, key target audience: all this is necessary to design a valuable product.

Prototyping

Selection of technologies, working out design options, UI, and interaction methods, as well as evaluating the overall concept and viability of the project.

Development

Direct pharmacy app development of the project, which includes writing code, editing Back-end and Front-end components, database integration, payment systems, etc.

Testing

A comprehensive performance check of all key and optional app components ensures that everything is working correctly and that the information is properly synchronized and displayed.

Release

Wrapping the app in mobile formats and publishing it on key mobile platforms: AppStore and Google Play, as well as on specialized web resources (if necessary).

Maintenance

Bug fixing, user feedback, scaling, etc. This phase continues until the software is transformed or until the end of the software life cycle.

Final Thoughts

The pharmaceutical business combines offline and online components, constant work with the audience, and marketing. Want to maximize your company’s bottom line? Invest in digital technologies, transforming your enterprise from a street pharmacy to a full-fledged chain.

Use Lampa’s app development services and implement the best regional or even global pharmaceutical platform.

Need professional assistance gathering all the required artifacts to build a mobile app? Order product ideation services from Lampa!

FAQ

1. What are the current trending pharmacy app startup ideas?

Apps for ordering medications, searching for them by pharmacy, comparing pharmacy chains, and self-service.

2. What are the options for pharmacy app monetization?

There are three monetization methods: advertising, premium access, and app purchase.

3. How much does it cost to develop a medicine delivery app?

Depends on several factors: the scale of the project, the number of functions, the complexity of the technology, pharmacies connected to the system, suppliers, etc. The minimum threshold, on average, is $40,000; there is no upper threshold.

4. What tech stack should I choose to build a scalable pharmacy app?

It depends on the purpose of the digital solution, target platforms, and budget. That is selected individually by Lampa engineers for your project.

5. How long does it take to develop a pharmacy app?

On average, 6 months to a year for the MVP stage. Further scaling lasts for the entire lifecycle of the digital product.

Tags:
Mobile Apps
Marketplace/SaaS
Online store
Healthcare

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