The Complete Guide for Developing a Online Pharmacy App

The modern day consumers are used to the convenience of having things delivered to their doorstep in a matter of a few taps on their phones or clicks on their computers. With technology revamping the daily interactions and changing the customer preferences, the field of pharmacy is facing an overhaul as well.

Conventional pharmacy outlets where customers need to wait in long queues to order and receive medications are soon going to be a thing of the past. With mobile apps poised to transform the pharmacy market, developing an online pharmacy app is going to be the key to getting more business opportunities, streamlining customer experience and building stronger customer relationships.

Not only does developing an online pharmacy app open up new business opportunities, but it also helps your pharmacy in achieving customer satisfaction. According to a recent survey by healthcare dive, consumers who use a pharmacy’s app report satisfaction scores as much as 23 percentage points higher than those that don’t.

What is an online pharmacy app?

Online pharmacy apps that facilitate the customers to browse through the existing inventory, order medicine online, refill prescriptions, make payments and get medicines delivered to their doorstep, all from the comfort and convenience of their own homes.

Online medicine delivery apps have emerged as a viable alternative to the traditional brick and mortar pharmacies. The apps function as an eCommerce platform. The only difference is that the patients need to enter their prescriptions. Since sensitive health information and patient data are collected/stored, the online pharmacy app that you develop needs to be compliant with data protection laws like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Types of online pharmacy apps

Depending on your vision, the online pharmacy app that you develop can fall under one of the following categories

1. Pharmacy marketplaces

A marketplace is a common platform where a number of pharmacists can come together and list their products. It eliminates the need for individual pharmacists to develop their own websites and apps and makes it easier for consumers to compare and order medications from their nearby pharmacies.

2. Online pharmacy store app

An online pharmacy store works best for individual pharmacy or medical business owners who are looking for new avenues for connecting with their customers and becoming more accessible. Right from listing out medicine availability to order and delivery of medicines, the online pharmacy store app caters to it all.

Business benefits of developing an online pharmacy app

1. Competitive advantage

With big players like Amazon looking to enter the ePharmacy market as is evident by the recent acquisition of PillPack, developing an online pharmacy app gives you a competitive edge and gets you ready to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

2. Attracting new customers and retaining existing ones

When you offer your customers the option to order their medications online, you not only meet their needs, but you also work towards satisfying their desires. Online pharmacy apps and websites act as customer magnets. By allowing you to send out promotional offers and discounts in the form of push notifications, the apps also facilitate customer retention.

3. Generating more profits

By maximizing the customer base, online pharmacy apps directly lead to increased profitability. In addition to bringing more customers your way, online pharmacy apps also create the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell medications, leading to increased profits.

4. Improved inventory management

The online pharmacy app can be designed to send out alerts as soon as the stock of a particular drug becomes lower than a pre-set threshold, automating the inventory management process. Having the entire stock’s expiration dates can also help in better inventory management.

5. Better brand recognition and visibility

The online pharmacy app that you develop can also act as an effective marketing channel for your pharmacy and help establish your own brand. By analyzing the consumption pattern data, it can also help you plan better and improve upon your service based on the feedback you receive.

Customer benefits of online pharmacy apps

1. Convenience of browsing through medicine information

Customers can simply search for the medicine that they need, compare the alternatives, research for possible drug interactions and side effects from within the app.

2. Place orders and track deliveries

Online pharmacy apps allow the users to place drug order and track the status of the delivery from the comfort of their own homes.

3. Higher patient assistance

With a vast amount of drug data available for referencing, the option to avail pharmaceutical consultations and ability to see which drugs are available in stock, developing an online pharmacy app results in better customer assistance.

4. Privacy and contactless delivery

Online ordering of medications removes the hesitance that customers may feel when placing an order in-store. Like modern-day eCommerce platforms, online pharmacies are increasingly offering contactless delivery services as an extra safety feature.

How to develop an online pharmacy app?

1. Conduct market research

The first step in developing a successful mobile app in the healthcare niche is conducting market research. This not only helps identify the needs of your target market, it also helps in identifying the existing competitors so that you can develop an app that outperforms the existing options.

Getting feedback from end users before going all-in with the development is also a good idea to ensure that you have a product market fit. The end goal of the research is to figure out a unique advantage over existing products in the market that aligns with the user expectations and needs.

2. Decide on the user profiles

An online pharmacy app typically has four distinct user profiles.

  1. Customer
  2. Pharmacist
  3. Admin panel
  4. Delivery

The feature set for each of these user profiles will be distinct from each other. Here are a list of general features that you should consider when getting started.

Customer app features

  • Login and registration
  • Search panel for medicines
  • Drug information
  • Product comparison and substitute suggestions
  • Option for uploading the prescription
  • Order placement
  • Payment gateway
  • Tracking of consignment
  • Contact the delivery person
  • Prescription refills
  • Contact options
  • Push notifications
  • Feedback and user rating

Pharmacist app features

  • Employee login
  • Drug details
  • Prescription confirmation
  • Order management and tracking
  • Order history
  • Billing
  • Payment tracking
  • Customer support
  • Contact admin
  • Shipment and delivery tracking
  • Push notifications
  • Logistics integration
  • Content management

Admin Panel features

  • Dashboard
  • Privilege based user management
  • Order management
  • Inventory management
  • Price management
  • Supplier management
  • Complaints and feedback management
  • Reporting and analytics

Delivery app features

  • Login and registration
  • Notifications and alerts
  • Route and navigation
  • Contact the customer
  • Delivery status update
  • Performance history
  • Push notifications

3. Decide on the advanced features to be included in the app

In addition to the above mentioned features, you can also choose to integrate advanced features in your app. These include in-app consultations, chatbot integration, medical store locator, smart analytics etc.

However, an MVP approach is best suited when starting out with developing an app. MVP stands for a minimum viable product. It includes the minimum set of features that the app needs to fulfil its function to be included in the first version, with the fancier, nice-to-have features added in future iterations. Building an MVP ensures the development of a scalable product that incorporates the user feedback.

4. Partner with the right team for app development

Partnering with a vendor with expertise in healthcare software development puts you at an advantage when it comes to developing an app for your pharmacy. The experience of working on projects in the healthcare niche makes them well versed in the development best practices. With their expertise in compliance, legal and regulatory requirements associated with developing medical software, an experienced team can shorten the path for a successful app.

Arkenea, with more than a decade of specialized experience in the healthcare domain has worked on a slew of projects ranging from up and coming startups to Fortune 500 companies. Leveraging this expertise, our team has developed award winning apps that rank high among the top slots on the app store and have gone on to raise millions of dollars in venture capital.

How much does it cost to develop an online pharmacy app

The cost of developing an online pharmacy app depends on the following factors.

  • The platform of development (Android, iOS, cross platform)
  • The complexity of the feature set that you are looking to incorporate
  • The size and experience of the development team
  • App design complexity
  • Integrations required with third party APIs
  • Timeline for development
  • Location of development team and hourly rates

In addition to all these, it is best to factor in maintenance costs for your app while estimating the development budget. Depending on the above mentioned factors, the app development incurred for your project can be calculated.

Have the specifications ready? We can help you get the development estimates for your project. Get in touch with our team of consultants who can help you get started on the right foot and answer any queries that you may have.

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