Big pharma’s has a reputation for innovation which is evident in industry’s eCommerce adaptations. Therefore, life sciences is slower to adopt eCommerce than other businesses. Pharma has made some innovative changes in eCommerce which is set to change the industry forever. Especially after considering the recent effects of the pandemic. eCommerce innovation might well be the means that an eventual COVID vaccine is distributed efficiently amongst the populations. Fortune Business Insights the worldwide e-pharmacy market represented $49,727.7 million in 2018. The market size has an expected annual growth rate of 17.3% until 2026 representing a value of $177,794.9 million. Online pharmaceutical purchasing has huge growth potential and is set for noticeable changes.
B2B is king in Pharma
As far back as 2015, Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca first launched its innovation marketplace called AIM (AstraZeneca Innovation Marketplace). The B2B platform has simplified buying preclinical services from AstraZeneca’s external partners. AIM operates a research concierge which enables the company to choose suppliers that meet requirement prerequisite set by the company. AIM provides price quotes along with technical information. It is “the primary route for AstraZeneca to do business with our preclinical research suppliers in the future.
Furthermore, PwC expects 20% of life science sales conducted with eCommerce by the end of the year. Over 80% of pharma companies currently favor the Science Exchange e-commerce marketplace for their external research & development needs. Moreover, pre-COVID, the market was shifting towards a self service approach for customers. To meet up with higher customer expectations, more pharma and life science companies are expanding and launching eCommerce platforms. The European corporations made some significant moves towards eCommerce as far back as 2015. After launching an eCommerce platform in 2015, the platform represented almost a quarter of Biotech company Qiagen’s sales by 2018.
The more successful eCommerce attempts have created all encompassing platforms. A one stop shop approach. This strategy has seen such companies gain considerable market share from their suppliers. Distributors are even more vulnerable to this approach. eCommerce’s share of sales is set to increase among all players in the value chain from distributors to suppliers themselves. It is interesting to observe how this would play out in the industry. Marketing execution and investment in eCommerce might see distributors eat market share from suppliers. This is because it is cheaper to reach the end user. Above all, many suppliers can do the same. Should suppliers and distributors lag behind with eCommerce, it presents an opening for B2B marketplaces to gain a bigger piece of the market.