Custom Digital

Why Medical Device Companies Should Use E-Commerce

December 12,2020

Online shopping isn't just for clothes and other goodies, it can be for life-changing medical devices such as wheelchairs, syringes, or canes. While selling medical devices online may come with several considerations and regulations to protect sensitive patient data, it can be worth it in the end.

E-commerce for the medical supply industry sounds like a complex process, but it can be done and has successfully been quite a few times

After all, 94% of healthcare buyers research products online. If they can take that a step further and shop online, especially after seeing how hassle-free your shopping experience is and how much information you’re already providing, this could bring both you and them a lot of convenience and efficiency. There would be less need to call up a salesperson for a meeting. Or you’ll schedule a meeting anyway but end up more prepared beforehand.

Hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers are relying on e-commerce more than ever to obtain their supplies. Digitization continues to pass through the scrutiny of several legal regulations to gradually transform an industry that’s traditionally relied on strong relationships with actual salespeople,  and lengthy in-person meetings complete with demos. 

This can help reduce the time to get your products out to the market by providing your prospective customers with a more accessible, direct channel. That way, you can focus on more creative and innovative tasks. Selling online can also help you better understand customer behavior and open up more opportunities for discussing your products without as many live demos, a common part of traditional device sales. 

E-commerce doesn’t mean that your in-person interactions will become ancient history, rather it’s something to combine with your current operations for a sufficient amount of guidance. Custom e-commerce platforms can be built to integrate with warehouse management, business intelligence, and CRM tools. 

Due to federal regulations, not all medical devices can be sold online. But if regulations allow you to safely sell online and you’re willing to go the proper lengths to keep your customer data safe in accordance HIPAA, here are a few reasons to get you motivated to do so: 

  1. No extra office or retail space needed. 

 Storing medical devices already takes quite a bit of space, so having to get even more space for a store or office can feel draining. An online store can reach any part of the world you’re willing to ship to, no physical space and plane trips needed. After all, medical devices are products whose necessity transcends cultures and languages. If you’re looking to enter international markets,  don’t forget to accommodate the currencies of the world on your platform.

  1. Adapt to current events.

Due to the pandemic, some people still aren’t comfortable with in-person meetings, a staple of medical device sales.  Since some of those are probably  medical device salespeople and their customers, an online store can bridge that gap. Providing your prospective customers with plenty of useful, detailed information and high-resolution images can eliminate the need to work with a sales rep or at least set up a foundation for what questions they’ll be asking. 

  1. Be more accessible to homebound patients.

This can really make a difference if you’re B2C. Even without a pandemic, some people who need your devices might have conditions that keep them at home.  Even if they’ve got help, being able to order online can free up the time spent on a few trips to a store. 

  1. Gain trust.

Ensuring that your customers trust you is crucial in an industry that works with such life-saving, serious products. Having a professional, easy-to-use, aesthetically pleasing website has already been proven to be a key player in any brand gaining trust in prospective customers. Even if your website is already lovely, creating an e-commerce platform just gives everyone more proof that you know how to create a seamless customer experience. Such a platform would also give you the opportunity to create more useful content marketing material, such as industry reports and whitepapers on your products. 

  1. Better understand customer behavior.

No matter how long your customer meetings are, they aren’t going to reveal every tiny detail of how they feel about your brand. On an e-commerce platform, you can leverage analytics to closely examine visitor behavior to understand their interactions with your brand in more depth. 

  1. Save time and use it to get to know new customers.

E-commerce doesn’t just deliver convenience and organization on the customer end,, but also on yours. An e-commerce platform can integrate with warehousing software to keep track of your inventory and help you organize your orders. This can free up some time with your salespeople so they can spend more time reaching out to new customers and check up on existing ones.

  1. Improve transparency.

Certain laws such as the 2010 Affordable Care Act increased the need for price transparency in the healthcare industry. Clearly displaying your prices can be reassuring that everyone’s getting the same deal. 

E-commerce also gives you the space to put a reviews section, further enhancing your transparency. You raving about how happy your previous customers were won’t have the same effect as them reading their words for themselves. Reviews can also help gain you insight into how a product might react with diverse characteristics. Medical devices are serious and often costly purchases, so it’s important to understand the purchase from other perspectives other than your own. 

  1. Control who gets to buy from you. 

Different buyers are going to have different responsibilities and capabilities, and their accounts on your platform can reflect that. For example, a large hospital might have employees at different levels that handle their buying, but only some of them can hit that “checkout” button. Although it should be their responsibility to ensure no one’s making life-changing medical purchases they don’t understand, you can lend a hand as well. 

If you’ve already been selling through traditional means for quite a while, opening up an e-commerce platform can open up new opportunities and strengthen your relationships with your customers. If your business relies on distributors and retailers, you don’t necessarily need to cut ties with them, but rather just rework your agreements so that they can continue working with you while you control your online store. 

Opening up an e-commerce route is a great way to expand your customer base and virtualize some of your sales and marketing, reducing the hours you spend at in-person meetings. With an e-commerce platform, you’ll be much better adapted to the present and be prepared for the future. At SM Innovations, we design e-commerce platforms with your audience’s needs in mind so you can focus on increasing conversions and ROI. 
Get in touch with us and let’s talk about how your medical device company can best virtually deliver, literally and figuratively.