The life sciences sector is currently expanding at a very fast rate. Life sciences and healthcare is a complex industry with intense legislative oversight but it is important the industry catches up with eCommerce expansion. The pandemic has had big effects on the B2B healthcare and the life sciences eCommerce market. Enterprise and SMBs must adapt to different issues including hard purchase choices, supply chain problems, order fulfillment and delivery problems.

There needs to be an eCommerce option for B2B healthcare and life sciences. This sector is so technology heavy, so is expected to adopt eCommerce technology quicker than others. They can take advantage of real-time data tracking inventory and logistics between buyers and sellers.  Adopting B2B eCommerce is absolutely critical for the future of life sciences. The post will highlight some eCommerce trends that may change life science for good.

Online Presence

The first of which is how online shopping facilitates the general online presence of the life sciences sector. eCommerce has changed how end-users like medical professionals buy healthcare products. As well as how medical professionals get them to the hands of their customers. Customers are going online instead of going to the pharmacy for some of the same purposes. Healthcare and life sciences businesses depend on quick delivery to a patient or medical centers. eCommerce will change medication fulfillment, despite the shifting healthcare and life sciences due to the pandemic. Investors are certainly bullish about this. However, life sciences companies are more concerned with the quality of their online presence. 

Cost and time efficiency

When B2B businesses go digital, businesses recoup up to 30% of their investment. Going digital gives sales reps more time for other tasks like marketing and prospecting. Managers can also discover new avenues to increase revenue and expand the business capabilities. This is the case in the life sciences sector and B2B allows them to identify future business opportunities through eCommerce analytics capabilities. The promotion and discount capabilities are also key for these sectors as they can target specific customers, on specific products. It could make drug prices more transparent and market oriented especially in a market like the United States.

Shipping times

Machine learning deserves credit for the short shipping times and shipping cost we enjoy today. Distribution centers and smart logistics are the heart of eCommerce today. Machine learning shows businesses the most efficient delivery routes which have cost and time implications. Life sciences have not benefited from quick easy shipping like B2B especially scientists and medical professionals. Shipping costs are still in excess of 5 times higher in this sector although shipping time is now 1-2 days. Labs are sometimes forced to buy in bulk to mitigate this cost. Unfortunately bulk orders might delay the delivery process due to logistics and sometimes production limitations. This is a hindrance to cutting edge experiments and innovation. Machine learning and smart logistics are the only clear solution to this current conundrum.  

Customer Personalization

Life science B2B eCommerce facilitates customer personalization and enterprise level customers need this. B2B eCommerce gives them a customer portal with content based on purchase history and flexible algorithms on price optimization. For life sciences and healthcare the eCommerce advantage is simplicity, flexibility, and convenience. Life science companies need a digital infrastructure that eases customers’ navigation on the online stores. Many of the major eCommerce platforms facilitate live online support like chat boxes to address any customer queries or issues. This can significantly improve conversion levels and simplify purchasing decisions.

Artificial Intelligence

For the life sciences and healthcare sector, artificial intelligence underpins all the most useful eCommerce features. The three main features to consider are product recommendation,  more efficient logistics and predictive analytics. Firstly, product recommendations to guide experiment design. Large life science players must leverage AI to predict what products will attract customers. Customized recommendations are then given based on past customer searches.

Product recommendations are however not as straightforward in life sciences, most B2B eCommerce product recommendations are ineffective for scientists. Scientists require recommendation based on science and not sales as is the case with any eCommerce platforms. Machine learning algorithms can ensure the product recommendation feature understands the relevant science as they are cited in the medical literature. They provide value to scientists and life science managers in designing the eCommerce websites. Customers ultimately benefit from this.

Predictive Analytics

Artificial intelligence through machine learning is vital to predictive analytics. Past online customer activity including time stamps, duration of views, links clicked and hovered over, shopping cart activity and wish lists. This gives a business the power to predict purchases and ensure the products most likely to be bought are available in nearby distribution centers. For innovative experiments in the sector, eCommerce can actually facilitate research in this way. Making chemical and biological material available when and where they are needed. Algorithm machine learning predictive analysis, consider scientists buying history and research trends in the scientific literature. 

In conclusion, eCommerce is an answer to many of the operational difficulties life science face post pandemic. There are several ready made B2B solutions than can address this challenges. Elastic Path, BigCommerce, SAP Commerce Cloud, and others have the necessary features needed to start the digital transformation. However, the specificity of this industry from a regulatory and operational standpoint mean quality system integration the only option. Companies cannot afford to rely on just out of the box solution alone. DigiCommerce has the experience to help companies operating in such complex sector which require sophisticated eCommerce integration. Contact us today!