Digital Engagement, Online Tools & Streamlined Ecommerce Help Healthcare Brands & Retailers Meet Today’s Consumer Expectations

March 29, 2021 Kathy Bryan

Shutterstock_1697771332 Health care and medical technology services concept. Doctor with Medical Healthcare Graphic

Health and wellness became more than just buzzwords in the last year, moving front and center for many consumers who wanted to stay healthy after adapting their shopping and wellness habits to the new rules of quarantines. Fortunately, innovative digital solutions, capitalizing on the growth of ecommerce and virtual experiences, made it possible for people to get their prescriptions, see their doctors and test themselves at home for certain illnesses. By leaning into digital innovation, healthcare brands and retailers offered new and improved ways to meet evolving consumer demands, differentiate their businesses and create lasting brand equity beyond the immediate moment. As a result, health and wellness brands are poised for success moving forward, and consumers are increasingly comfortable with tapping into digital solutions to meet their healthcare needs.

Digital Pharmacies Provide Consumers Online Shopping And Delivery Options 

The success of ecommerce in the last year was a collision of necessity, innovation and reliability. Consumers had a need, and many brands and retailers rose to the challenge, elevating or creating ecommerce solutions that made online shopping simple. Among the businesses leveraging the popularity of ecommerce to reach consumers are pharmacies. And, while newer online pharmacy startups, including Capsule and Honeybee, are leveraging the popularity of mobile shopping with younger generations, most epharmacy growth is fueled by Baby Boomers

A recently published report by Acumen Research and Consulting (ARC) found “the epharmacy market value is poised to hit around US $155.4 billion by 2026 with CAGR of around 14.5% during the forecast period 2019 to 2026.” By creating easily accessible options like digital prescription management, online ordering and multiple options for payment and delivery, digital pharmacies are differentiating their services and appealing to consumers across generations, who have no interest in waiting in long, crowded lines, preferring instead to conduct the majority of their shopping online.

Telehealth Meets Health Care Needs With Virtual Solutions

Shutterstock_1755938462 Asian senior video call with doctor telemedicine telehealth concept

Throughout the pandemic, there has been significant concern about people accessing  healthcare due to trepidation about crowds and the risks associated with medical facilities. Fortunately, many health providers began offering telehealth options last year. 

“Telehealth is an ideal venue for an outbreak like this [coronavirus]. We can increase access to care. We can offer care that is commensurate with the acuity and nature of the symptoms and make referrals as needed. This [telehealth] helps with infection prevention and control and also allows patients to receive their care in the home without exposing themselves to further illness,” said Peter Antall, MD, president and chief medical officer for American Well, a Boston telemedicine company. American Well and HealthTap are two telemedicine brands that connect patients with doctors over video, with HealthTap an app that offers annual subscriptions allowing members unlimited virtual visits from board-certified doctors. Brands including Headspace and TAO Connect offer mediation and mental health services that allow members to handle stress and emotional well-being entirely via apps that provide different types of virtual care and engagement depending on the needs of the users. By leveraging the need for virtual, digital solutions and increased comfort communicating online, telemedicine has helped many users access necessary healthcare.

Telehealth is also seeing a rise in usage by health and life insurance companies that are increasingly looking for ways to make the application process easier and more digital. Telehealth provides the option to replace in-person physicals with telehealth sessions. Electronic health records and prescription databases are also removing the requirements for some previously necessary screenings. Insurance brands that are able to offer digital options can highlight these differentiating features in targeted advertising campaigns that seek to engage consumers looking for simpler ways to tackle a difficult process. 

DTC Testing Kits Bring Peace Of Mind From The Comfort Of Home

The ongoing impact of COVID-19 means that staying home to stay healthy is still the best idea right now, giving rise to health and wellness products becoming strong ecommerce sellers. As a result, direct-to-consumer (DTC) healthcare products, from vitamins to at-home tests kits, have seen an uptick in popularity. At-home medical testing brands LetsGetChecked and Everlywell are building on the growth of online shopping with their easy-to-use kits that allow for private, safe testing and personalized health insights via digital platforms. The brands are using a wide array of digital advertising and consumer engagement strategies to grow brand awareness and interest in their products and healthcare platforms while collecting first-party data. Advertising campaigns across streaming and social media channels, plus partnerships with insurance companies, airlines, celebrities and sports leagues, allow at-home medical testing brands to reach consumers where they are with the in-demand products they need.

The lessons learned in 2020 are going to have a lasting impact on the goals and strategies that advertisers implement moving forward. With consumers becoming more accustomed to ordering online, brands and retailers are increasingly offering multiple ways to shop as they adapt to new consumer behaviors and expectations. Online engagement, virtual outreach, at-home services and innovative ecommerce options are meeting the demands of evolving consumer values and preferences, which is key to growing customer bases and lifetime loyalty.

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About the Author

Kathy Bryan

Kathy Bryan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS). In this role, Kathy is responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications for DMS, the leading global martech company leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers.

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