It is widely agreed that B2B eCommerce is a solution to take the life sciences sector into the future. At this point, the consensus is the adaptation of eCommerce is key for the future survival of the entire sector. The immediate and lasting impact on the B2B eCommerce market is set to be a game changer. Currently, the situation in the healthcare and life sciences from a manufacturing and supply perspective, the eCommerce efficiency will be felt in the supply chain.
Today, manufacturers find it hard to keep up with demand. On the other hand, distributors are scrambling to create workflows to mitigate customer complaints. This forces distributors to get supplies from manufacturers, stock up on goods and take care of their customers. Fortunately, healthcare and life sciences companies normally have disaster preparedness plans or contingency plans. However, dealing with an unprecedented disaster is another issue all altogether. It is clear to many observers that the question has shifted from purchasing to inventory, from buying to stocking. This poses a challenge to identifying spaces to keep extra products that companies in the industry require. It also causes anxiety to stakeholders within the entire supply chain.
Purchasers and medical suppliers
Regardless, B2B eCommerce offers significant opportunities for purchasers and medical suppliers. B2B eCommerce largely operates on a distribution-based model. With this model, customers get supplies from local distributors or dealers. The pandemic induced lockdown in life sciences has seen companies switch to online purchases options to avoid human contact. As a result, B2B eCommerce had increased traffic and sales figures in a short space of time. As purchases switch to digital, many suppliers must adapt their strategy to maximize online sales and dedicate a portion of budget to digital marketing. The pandemic has made B2B businesses prioritize digitization which improves communications with buyers and generate sales.
A digitized supply chain is an important aspect of eCommerce in part because it encourages transparency by displaying real-time availability of goods. The manufacturers and the buyers equally benefit from this. Therefore, it is vital for suppliers to implement digitization in their supply chain. Most suppliers have transitioned to working from home since the pandemic. Those who have not must find ways to adapt their business model to the new era of eCommerce. This trend is likely to be with us long after the pandemic. There is no better time than now for companies to innovate and leverage the benefits of the latest eCommerce technology. Particularly, eCommerce data analytics, and artificial intelligence can unlock the potential of the industry. A robust digital infrastructure designed with up to date technology ensures seamless interactions online. This is across marketing, product discovery, sales, and post-sale service in the B2B sellers’ space.
Though life science has been historically behind in adopting eCommerce features, there is now a strong appetite for new eCommerce business models. PwC found that up to 80% of sales and marketing in the life sciences research industry will be conducted via eCommerce going forward. This bold prediction is an indication of the synergy of eCommerce, the biopharma R&D procurement leaders and investors. Large companies in the industry have been eager to take advantage. For instance, AstraZeneca’s Innovation Marketplace (AIM) launched a $17 billion acquisition of eCommerce platform Sigma-Aldrich by Merck. Likewise, eCommerce marketplaces like Quartzy, Scientist.com, and Science Exchange have recently raised millions in investment.
Likewise, Biopharma companies are optimizing their R&D procurement strategies. They are also outsourcing more research activities to external organizations as a result to increase profit margins and the complexity of the life sciences industry. On the other hand, the life sciences vendors are adopting eCommerce platforms to facilitate product and service offerings in an omnichannel way.