5 Paths Biotech Can Use eCommerce to Propel Forward
1) Fresh Sales Strategy
A growing business needs to constantly adapt to a changing economy and changing world. Previously upheld sales and marketing strategies in the biotechnology industry are becoming outdated day by day. The movement away from traditional techniques such as over the phone sales, print advertising, mailings, and trade shows has already begun and the future of biotech sales lies with eCommerce.
Customers desire companies to be dynamic. This can be achieved by diversifying their web platform by making their product offerings, guides, and SKUs to be interactive. This may sound more complicated but in reality, it is a simplification of the sales process. Past processes of life science and biotech included a posted PDF of product offerings that could be viewed online, but then required customers to call in and order products manually. A PDF file is not dynamic, meaning stock levels cannot be listed, prices cannot be altered, and pertinent information listed is limited.
Advanced eCommerce shopping platforms exist in the majority of industries today but life science and biotechnology industries are lagging behind. The mentality of those falling behind, however, has been changing quickly. A PwC market analysis predicts that by year 2020, the percentage of sales in the life sciences industry will near 80 percent leaving traditional sales methods with roughly 20 percent. This will be a profound change from years pasts and companies should be early adopters of the new eCommerce platforms before they are left in the minority.
2) New Site, New Look, New Revenue
In the digital age, an updated website opens many doors of opportunity for companies of all sizes to grow web traffic, customer response, and the bottom line. Improvements made to a site that incorporates an eCommerce platform drives engagement, increases interaction and results in higher conversion between customers and company. Specific website advancements that can be made include modern styling, branding, and more fluid navigation to ameliorate the buying process. Simultaneously, the annexation of a blog or testimonial page will aid in SEO and sales by establishing market authority, driving traffic to the site, converting that traffic into business, and maintaining long-term results.
A biotechnology startup, Flex Pharma Inc., put this ideology into practice as they refreshed their website design to highlight their products and their brand. The redesign resulted in the majority of their revenue stemming from their eCommerce platform as well as other eCommerce retailer sites. Flex Pharma’s chief operating officer, Kathie Lindemann, expects this increased growth to be sustained as the company reaps the many benefits of the eCommerce redesign.
3) Increased Transparency
The modern public idealizes companies that glorify transparency and maintain strong values even if it diminishes the bottom line. In the biotech industry, much funding both public and private is put into failed attempts and wasted research. Many of these failed attempts can be attributed to the fact that many researchers do not have access to documents, analyses, and experiments that are relevant to their subjects and tests at hand. With the impending decline of printed journals, a way to mitigate these failed attempts is by granting uninterrupted access to past work. These provisions should include online article content, research, blog posts, testimonials, and dedicated online resources in order for companies and their researchers to maximize their time and resources. A larger database of medical resources will increase visibility to all, allowing for more innovation, and resulting in a greater volume of sales for businesses in biotech and life sciences.
4) Shift Towards ‘Cloud Biology’
Biology and other life sciences have majorly been viewed as ‘hard’ sciences. Yet, as the world becomes more digitally based day by day, that viewpoint is becoming outdated for the integrations between the way we research, communicate, and integrate ‘hard’ sciences into a computer-based world. Coined by Andreessen Horowitz, the term ‘cloud biology’ refers to any ‘soft’ware used to better the lives of people through research and technological innovation. It combines the nuances of biology with the power of a computer to produce unprecedented results that can propel society forward. eCommerce tools that aggregate knowledge from scientific data will open many opportunities for researchers in the world of biotech and beyond.
5) Customer Initiated Testing
The use 0f remote physicians in healthcare is a widely growing trend that allows customers and physicians alike more flexibility in many facets of healthcare. The two way electronic based relationship can provide similar and even more accurate results than traditional medical services in many cases. Specific and rigid protocols allow for biotech companies to receive, interpret, and analyze results electronically with high accuracy. Customers can easily communicate with their physicians through instant messaging and video chat allowing for direct and uninterrupted contact. Simultaneously, physicians can set up eCommerce platforms that are integrated with the same technology in order to collect payments instantly. These technical upgrades have started the transformation of commercial medical programs into a more technical eCommerce based platform.