Upsell Strategies for your Pharmaceutical Customers

Upsell Strategies for your Pharmaceutical Customers

When you have an eCommerce website, upselling can be an extremely powerful tool. It can bring in extra revenue and increase brand loyalty in a whole new way. We recently wrote an article about upselling apparel and accessories for our InteractOne blog. But how does upselling differ on a vitamin eCommerce site? In addition to bringing in extra revenue, upselling on a vitamin eCommerce site can also enhance patient care. With that in mind, why not try it? Here are the top three ways to upsell on your vitamin eCommerce website.

1. Use “You Also Might Like” algorithms.

Most eCommerce websites use analytics all the time for a reason — because it works! When eCommerce sites use “You Also Might Like” algorithms, they’re simply analyzing the data about what products each customer views or purchases and then serving up similar items as the items “you also might like.”

In terms of a vitamin eCommerce store, here are a couple examples: If a patient views a joint health supplement on your website, it’s a good idea to automatically populate suggested related items for the “You Also Might Like” section. This can include multivitamins or calcium supplements. Or, if a customer is ordering diabetes medications, you can (and should) recommend supplements that can help replenish lost nutrients (such as vitamin B12).

A best practice for this tactic is to show these complementary items on the product page first, then on the shopping cart page and then on the order confirmation page. This gives three separate instances where you can work the magic of upselling.

Your web programmer or development partner can easily add a “You Also Might Like” section that suggests certain products based on customer behavior and preferences. See this example from VitaFusion:

2. Tie in personalization.

Just as you can tailor product recommendations based on previous buying patterns, you can also tailor these recommendations with demographics based personalization. For example, you can give certain recommendations based on age group, geographic location, family status and more. There are certain vitamins that are generally recommended for people in each age group, some vitamins can be more efficacious in certain parts of the country and some vitamins are better for women, men or if a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding. By obtaining a little personal information about customers and implementing it into your messaging, your vitamin eCommerce store can make tailored recommendations that make sense.

In addition, because vitamins should be consumed regularly (and they’re typically not just a one-off purchase), it’s a good idea to offer a discount for multiples. This not only increases your average sale but also keeps your supply fresh. Here’s an example

3. Focus on solutions, not sales.

Yes, you’re in business to make money, but you won’t make much money at all if your customers don’t find your store useful. That’s why it’s important to keep sales in the back of your mind and patient care in the forefront of your mind.

When you consider your customers’ needs first and foremost, you’ll be able to make informed decisions on how to upsell. Don’t think about suggesting the most expensive products. Instead, think about what will increase the effectiveness of your customers’ vitamin and supplement regimen  and truly improve their health. When you suggest the right vitamins for each specific scenario, your customers receive better care. And, this inevitably leads to extra revenue for your eCommerce business.

Conclusion

When it’s done well, upselling can be a powerful tool to help increase sales and overall profitability for your company, as well as introduce customers to new products. However, it can be difficult to build all of these upselling opportunities into a webstore or CRM system. That’s why we recommend working with a strong development team instead of trying to figure out and implement everything on your own.

At InteractOne, we have years of experience managing upsells. We are a team of certified Magento eCommerce website development specialists who use Magento to keep records of all previous purchases, thus making it easier to find out what each customer wants and then upsell accordingly. Contact us today so we can begin working together.

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Unique Challenges of eCommerce for the Pharmaceutical Industry

Unique Challenges of eCommerce for the Pharmaceutical Industry

No matter how you slice it, eCommerce is everywhere. Every day, more companies are moving their business online. This comes with some perks and some challenges. The pharmaceutical industry is no different, but the challenges for this industry are unique. Read on to discover the challenges you might face as you bring (or expand) your pharma business online — and how you can have the best chance to succeed.

Challenge 1: Heavy regulations aren’t so easy to implement online.

In doctors’ offices, hospitals and pharmacies, the pharmaceutical world is heavily regulated. But with the rise of eCommerce, many over-the-counter and prescription medications can be sold online by anyone. In fact, studies show that 66% of countries around the world have no laws in place that regulate the online sales of medicine. In the United States, authorities do have many laws and regulations in place and try to step in to make sure that the public is receiving legitimate medications from legitimate sources. Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t always happen. As a result, each month, these US regulations shut down around 1,500 websites that sell medications to consumers without appropriate safeguards.

As a pharma retailer, you have an obligation to do your best to make your sales legal and legitimate. If you don’t, regulatory authorities can then step in and give a “buyers beware” message and hope that consumers are smart in their buying decisions.

Challenge 2: With online sales, there’s too little involvement by a healthcare professional.

Before eCommerce, a healthcare professional or pharmacist had to be involved in every transaction regarding prescription medication. But now that so many medications are available online, they’re easily accessed by anyone — whether or not there’s a doctor or pharmacist involved. This can lead to a risky situation with many people ordering medications online without a diagnosis from a doctor or any idea of the right dosage from a pharmacist. This can easily cause medications to be used in the wrong way or a patient taking too much of a certain medication.

Pharma eCommerce retailers should always sell only legitimate products in recommended amounts. Failing to do so can easily land you in legal hot water. In August 2020, the FDA sent a warning letter to RX Easy Meds because they were “misbranding” their drugs. Before selling any pharmaceuticals online, it’s vital to check the FDA’s website so you don’t find yourself in legal hot water too.

Challenge 3: All pharma eCommerce companies must not violate HIPAA regulations.

As a pharma retailer with an online business, it’s important to consider how to be HIPAA compliant, as all pharma retailers are subject to HIPAA regulations.

HIPAA regulations can be extensive and complex. They ask companies to implement rules to protect patients’ health information, limit all sharing of confidential personal data and train all employees about security and confidentiality. As a result, you have to choose the right eCommerce and HIPAA development partners so that your customers’ personal information is always secure and never exposed online or elsewhere. If you aren’t careful enough, hackers can breach your customers’ healthcare records, which can quickly send you down a road of unending legal troubles. Plus, customers are quick to abandon any company that makes them feel that their private information is at risk.

Conclusion

As your pharma company grows its eCommerce presence, you’re sure to face challenges along the way. It’s a great idea for online merchants to continually check in with legal counsel to make sure that all of their activity is above reproach. Failing to do so can quickly lead to items slipping through the cracks and then exposing a company to devastating losses. However, by knowing what’s coming and tackling those challenges in a smart way, your online sales are sure to be a success.

To find out how InteractOne can help with your pharmaceutical eCommerce, contact us today.

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Top 3 Online Demographics of Supplement Buyers

Top 3 Online Demographics of Supplement Buyers

Who buys health supplements online — and how can you get them to your site?

Health supplement use has never been more popular than it is today. In fact, since the 1970s, there’s been a 40% increase in supplement use in adults 50 and older, and a 23% increase in adults younger than 50. In 2019, the supplement market was valued at $163 billion — and it’s forecasted to grow exponentially over the next few years.

As a supplement eCommerce retailer, this is great news for you. But who exactly is buying these supplements online? Where can you find them? And how can you get them to your site? Keep reading to learn about why people buy health supplements online, as well as the top three demographics of online supplement buyers.

Why do people buy health supplements online?

No matter who your audience is, the most common reason that people buy supplements online is because they’re experiencing some kind of pain, ache or health problem and they want to feel better. Other popular reasons that people buy/take supplements are to ensure that they get the recommended amount of vitamins, improve their energy levels, boost their immune system, improve any digestive issues and/or to lower their cholesterol.

In addition, a growing number of people are turning to health supplements because they don’t feel that they receive the right nutrients in their food alone. As a result, they try supplements in the forms of vitamins, minerals, botanicals and more. Many choose to buy them online because it’s quick, easy, convenient and doesn’t require a trip to the store.

What are the top three demographics of online health supplements buyers?

There’s a wide variety of people who buy health supplements online. According to our research, here are three of the top demographics:

1. Women 60+ in the United States 

In a nationwide survey, 49% of adults in the US say that they take health supplements. This group is made up of mostly women (54%), although men are beginning to take more supplements as time goes on. In addition, results of the survey also show that supplement use increases with age. In the age group of 20 to 39, 34% of people took supplements. In the age group of 40 to 59, it was 50%. And in the age group of 60+, 67% say they buy/take supplements. 

Where you can find this demographic elsewhere: When looking at where you can find this top demographic (women 60+) online, many are visiting dating sites, retirement living sites, travel sites, AARP’s website and Facebook. Advertising your online supplement store on any of these sites will definitely yield some valuable results.

2. People 60+ with health insurance

Of all Americans without health insurance, 31% say they buy their supplements online. However, of all Americans with health insurance, 53% say they buy their supplements online. That’s largely because more and more people are taking a personal, vested interest in their health and consider themselves to be digitally savvy. As a result, they’re looking for medications and supplements online vs. in a doctor’s office.

Where you can find this demographic elsewhere: For starters, this audience can be found on many different health insurance websites, such as Anthem, United Healthcare, Cigna, Aetna and more. In addition, this audience frequently visits retirement websites and websites about aging. Advertising your eCommerce store in these places is a great idea.

3. People who report high levels of exercise

When people who rarely exercise were surveyed, 43% of them say they buy supplements online. However, when people who report high levels of exercise were surveyed, 56% of this group say they buy supplements online. 

Where you can find this demographic elsewhere: Not surprisingly, this demographic is all over websites featuring topics such as gyms, health, fitness, weight loss and stress management. Getting a catchy banner ad and/or a short blog post about your supplement eCommerce store on any of these types of websites will inevitably increase the traffic to your site — and then increase your sales.

Conclusion

When you’re trying to acquire new customers, finding them where they are online is key. It’s the first step to getting them familiar with your eCommerce store before their interest is piqued and they land on your site’s beloved “Shop” page.

At InteractOne, we work closely with our clients to find these audiences and then increase the high-converting traffic to their own sites. To learn more about how we can help your company, contact us today.

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Top 5 Pharma eCommerce Trends of 2020

Top 5 Pharma eCommerce Trends of 2020

2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least. Because of COVID-19, our world has been turned upside down. One of the many effects of COVID-19 can be seen with the exponential rise in eCommerce transactions. With so many brick and mortar stores shut down, shopping online has become even more popular (and basically essential), especially in the pharmaceutical world. As a pharma retailer, it’s important to stay up to date on this ever-evolving world. Keep reading to learn about the latest pharma eCommerce trends of 2020.

1. Fulfill orders inexpensively and quickly.

A growing number of people are abandoning their cart as they shop online. Two of the main reasons for this are high shipping costs and long shipping times. People don’t want to spend much on shipping — and they want their orders yesterday (thanks Amazon for both of these). If they have their cart full but then the shipping charge comes up as way more than they were anticipating and/or they won’t receive their order for a while, they abandon their cart and move on to the next site that promises products in a quicker, cheaper way.

To combat this problem, make sure, if you can, that your pharma/supplement company’s shipping costs are low (or free after a certain amount) and that your shipping times are short. It’s usually worth it to make your products a little bit more expensive, by building in some of your shipping costs, if it means keeping the customer’s shipping costs low. In the long run, it’s also usually worth it for your company to take a bit of a hit if it means getting your customers their products more quickly.

If you have a physical building and an eCommerce website, it may be worth it to tap into the new trend of BOPS. This stands for “buy online, pick up in store.” Customers like this option too because even though they still need to get in their car and go to a brick and mortar store, they don’t need to spend time shopping around, as their order is exactly what they ordered and it’s already waiting for them when they arrive. If your company does not have a physical location, consider partnering with companies that do have one and also cater to BOPS customers, such as Kohls.

2. Try a pop-up shop.

With eCommerce on the rise and in-store sales on the decline, in-person pop-up shops may not sound like a great idea. However, over the past few years, eCommerce retailers have learned that pop-up shops do very well. Their unique physical presence helps spread awareness of your company to a new audience.

When picking a spot for your pharma pop-up shop, choose wisely. Where does your target audience hang out? Where does your brand fit in? Think about cities, towns and then physical locations. The most common places for pop-up shops are vacant storefronts and kiosks in shopping malls. Setting up shop at a farmers market is also a good idea for a pharmaceutical audience. When you catch your customers in the right place, you’ll get their attention and their business.

3. Make your Instagram shoppable.

One new perk of Instagram for eCommerce retailers is that this platform can now be used to sell products directly. The key here is to have an active Instagram page and then to tag any products you feature. If a post resonates with your customers, they can simply click the photo to see more information and then buy your products in just a few clicks, right from the Instagram app.

Another good, relevant idea is to partner with influencers who share your company’s vision and can create and share shoppable content for your pharma brand. At InteractOne, we know the value of a great influencer. To read some of our recent blog posts about the power of influencers, click here and here.

4. Offer a subscription / automatic fulfillment service.

Year after year, the demand for subscription services only increases — and these services are a win-win for both customers and merchants.

For customers, they know exactly what they’re getting and when they’re getting it. Their beloved products are delivered regularly as scheduled and always just as expected. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that!

For merchants, having customers in a subscription service allows the companies to better forecast what’s needed and thus have better management of their inventory. Plus, it’s much better for a company to have a lot of dedicated customers that are loyal to the company week after week, month after month than to have a handful of one-off customers who order once and then forget to return.

5. Get ready for drone delivery.

Yes, drone delivery is here — and here to stay. In 2020, drone delivery has become a mainstream reality. This year, it’s estimated that three million operational drones will be in the air.

The benefit of drone delivery for eCommerce retailers is that most packages can be delivered this way within 30 minutes. That makes for a lot of happy customers. Plus, drone delivery can save companies millions of dollars in shipping costs.

The drone industry really took off in 2015, when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) streamlined the registration process for companies. However, there still hasn’t been a pharmaceutical company that has fully integrated drones into their operations. With the need to protect patient safety being so important, most pharma companies are hesitant to take the leap just yet. However, as drone delivery companies continue to learn and grow, it’s just a matter of time before pharma companies jump on the drone bandwagon.

Conclusion

With eCommerce sales continually increasing, it’s important that companies stay up to date on the latest trends.

To learn more about how InteractOne can help your pharma or supplement business stay ahead of the curve in eCommerce trends, contact us today.

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Your Go-To Guide for Selling Supplements Online

Your Go-To Guide for Selling Supplements Online

Your go-to guide for selling health supplements online (DTC)

As a health supplement distributor or manufacturer, you’ve got the team and processes  to sell your products via the B2B distribution chain. But what about when you want to begin selling directly to consumers (DTC)? Selling health supplements online DTC is more popular than ever, and the market is growing every day. But don’t be intimidated. Here’s your go-to guide — complete with benefits, guidelines and more — so you can begin successfully selling health supplements online today.

Benefits of selling health supplements online

The future is digital. There’s no denying it. Seemingly everything is going online, especially in a post-COVID world. And when it comes to selling health supplements, it’s no different. The vast majority of health companies choose to sell online for many reasons, including:

  • There’s no need to spend money on a brick and mortar store. This cuts overhead costs tremendously. No rent to pay, no store to clean. Just a website to run.
  • You can be open 24/7. When you run a business online, there are no open and close times. You’re available to your customers any time they need supplements.

Overall, selling health supplements online is simpler and much less expensive for your company than selling in a brick and mortar store. But, it’s not just the “wild west” in the digital space. Selling supplements online comes with its own set of rules and limitations.

Government guidelines

When selling supplements online directly to consumers, there are a lot of government guidelines to consider. The supplement space can be tricky because omitting information or having incorrect information can get retailers in hot water very quickly.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the production and sale of all health supplements. Here’s what they require to be listed on each product:

  • All ingredients
  • The manufacturer
  • The packaging site
  • A product description
  • The word “supplement”

Here’s a link to a page on the FDA website that explains more about these requirements.

In addition, it is illegal to make any claim that a supplement will treat a condition or provide medicinal benefits. You absolutely cannot claim that your product will help people achieve anything at all unless you can back it up with authentic scientific studies. If you do make a claim, it must be accompanied by the following text: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

If supplements are mislabeled in any way, companies will receive a letter from the FDA. Every year, the FDA sends hundreds of letters to various organizations for mislabeling their products. Once a company receives a letter from the FDA, they have 15 days to respond and remedy the situation. If a company fails to do so, the FDA will enforce recalls and/or seizures of products.

Selling health supplements on social media

In today’s day and age, social media is absolutely vital for selling health supplements. It is widely known in the supplement world that using social media effectively is generally the “magic trick” for a successful supplement business. There are a few crucial things to consider as you begin to market your health supplements on social media.

  • Choose the right social platforms. You might think that selling the maximum amount of health supplements means having a big presence on every social media channel. Sometimes it does, but usually it doesn’t. Usually, with each specific supplement, not every social media network will be a good fit. Begin the process of selling on social media by identifying your customers and choosing a social network (or two) that gives you the best and most appropriate opportunity to speak to your target market.  
  • Build your network. You can start this process by searching for relevant keywords or hashtags (such as “health supplements” or #healthsupplements). Once you’ve found some people interested in your space, respond to their questions, comment on their posts, like their content and share their relevant posts. The goal is that they check out your page, like what they see and become a loyal customer. Selling supplements and building an audience on social media can be time consuming and competitive, but interacting with your audience in meaningful ways will help you gain ground.
  • Market differently on each social media platform.  Let’s say your research has taught you that your brand should focus on Instagram. In that case, partnering with an influencer can help you sell much more effectively. However, if your audience is more active on Facebook, Pinterest, eBay, etc., then there are other best practices to use. Keep in mind the best social networks for your specific product and audience, and then market and sell with that in mind. Whatever platforms you end up choosing, you must prioritize monitoring those platforms. Platform users are prone to comment and sometimes in a negative,  sometimes trolling style. Merchants need to be ready and armed with responses to defend claims and diffuse negative comments.

Don’t have a digital presence yet?

If your company isn’t online just yet, don’t worry. There’s no better time to start your health supplement eCommerce site.

Conclusion

Once you’ve created an amazing line of health supplements, it’s time to share them with the world — and what better place to do that than online? After you’ve mastered the government guidelines and learned how to effectively market to your target audience, all that’s left to do is sell.

There are excellent eCommerce platforms available on which to build your webstore. We can help you choose the correct one to meet your needs – and help you create and market your eCommerce presence.

To learn more about how InteractOne can help you sell health supplements online directly to consumers, contact us.

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Smart Email Strategies to Increase Pharmaceutical Sales

Smart Email Strategies to Increase Pharmaceutical Sales

When it comes to selling pharmaceuticals, email is king. In fact, when surveyed, most doctors across the country say that they prefer this type of communication over all other potential marketing channels. So why is email so popular in the pharmaceuticals world—and how can you be sure that your emails are effective? Keep reading to learn all of this and more.

What’s the benefit of email for healthcare professionals?

You might be wondering why so many doctors prefer email over many other routes of communication. It all comes down to time. The benefit of email for healthcare professionals is that it can be done on their own time. Doctors are extraordinarily busy people, and making time to hear from a sales rep, download apps or fetch their snail mail is unlikely to happen very often. However, emails can be opened quickly and easily when it’s convenient for them.

What’s the benefit of email for pharma marketers?

Sending a sales rep or snail mail can be sufficient in some cases, but these modes of communication make it hard to measure results and ROI. With email, however, getting results and measuring ROI is pretty simple and very effective.

When pharmaceutical retailers have a good CRM program in place and use it to send an email, they instantly know who opened the email (or didn’t open it), when they opened it and what actions they took from it. Open rates, click-through rates and bounce rates are readily available, which makes subsequent marketing efforts even easier. After a few emails, pharma marketers can reliably see what information is most important for the recipients and then create more effective emails going forward.

An additional benefit of email is that the vast majority of your recipients will actually receive your message. Emails have a delivery rate of 90% or more, whereas even viral posts on social media typically only reach about 5% of your social audience.

Top email marketing strategies

A lot of research has been done about what’s best to do (and not do) with emails in order to increase pharma sales. Here are a few key takeaways.

Make the emails mobile friendly. A whopping 80% of healthcare professionals say that they mostly read emails on their phones, not their computers. As a result, emails need to be adapted to various devices and screens in a mobile-friendly format.

Make the emails personalized and targeted. Doing this creates a better experience for each recipient. After you discover which person clicks on which content, you can use that information to personalize subsequent email communications. Your recipients will feel heard and thus become more engaged with your company.

Include tips and offers they don’t get elsewhere. Having unique tips in your emails is powerful for your audience. The most successful things to include in pharma emails include tips for remembering to take your medicine on time, as well as exclusive offers they can use when they order in your online store.

Do subject line testing. Subject line testing has been shown to exponentially increase your open rates and customer loyalty. This may sound simple, but it’s vital! If your recipients don’t like or understand the subject line of your email, they won’t open it… and that ends the line of communication. Subject line testing is crucial, but studies show that most email campaigns don’t take advantage of A/B subject line testing. Missing out on this means missing out on a lot of potential engagement. In addition, it’s often a good idea to include a teaser for the tips that are included in the email in the subject line.

Consider the frequency and timing of your emails. In general, it’s best to begin sending emails every other week and then increase it to once a week. Then, you can send them more frequently once someone is opening your emails and engaging with them. However, in terms of timing, things aren’t so cut and dry. The best time to send a pharma email changes based on each doctor’s specialty. For example, a doctor with regular office hours (such as a pediatrician) usually has time to check email once or twice during the day, so email can be sent then. However, a doctor with less reliable hours (such as an emergency room doctor) usually only checks email early in the morning or late at night. Just like it’s important to A/B test subject lines, it’s also important to A/B test the best times to send emails. You’ll learn a lot from this and then be able to increase your open rates as a result.

Tips for pharma-specific emails

There are best practices for emails, and then there are best practices for pharma emails. The pharmaceutical space carries many unique limitations that must be considered when creating and sending emails.

To start, a pharmaceutical email must be completely optimized before the medical / legal approval process can begin. Ignoring this rule limits your ability to make changes that can improve open rates, click-through rates and ROI. In addition, making sure that your emails are optimized before submitting them to the medical / legal team has been shown to get the project done much faster.

Another example of a pharma-specific email tip is to fill the email with pertinent, relevant, pharma-related information. The more specific the information, the more useful it is for the recipient—and the greater the chance that the recipient will engage with your brand. For example, if your company knows when each recipient should refill their prescriptions, you can send a timely email when it’s time to do so. Your recipients will appreciate your attention to detail and dedication to their unique needs.

Conclusion

With email on the rise, creating effective emails has never been more important. And with healthcare professionals relying more and more on email for most of their communications, it’s vital that pharma retailers optimize emails as much as possible. Employing certain strategies can pay off in a big way when it comes to customer loyalty and engagement.

To find out how InteractOne can help with your pharmaceutical email marketing, contact us today.

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