Delivery Would Boost Online Pharmacy Business

Brick-and-mortar pharmacies could potentially drive traffic to their Web sites by offering delivery services, according to a survey by PC Data Online.

Nearly seven out of 10 respondents (69 percent) said they would be interested in online pharmacy services if their current drug store allowed them to fill and purchase their prescriptions online, and then deliver the prescriptions to them.

“By offering door-to-door service with quick delivery times, online pharmacies could potentially alleviate consumer concerns about shipping, and perhaps drive traffic to additional online sales,” said Jeffrey Moulton, Internet research analyst.

PC Data found the Web population remains relatively unaware of online pharmacies. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents could not name a single online pharmacy, and only 13 percent were able to identify at least one online pharmacy. Drugstore.com was the most recognized name among Web pharmacies, with 41 percent of respondents able to name it, followed by planetrx.com (15 percent).

Although few respondents (4 percent) have purchased prescriptions online, 90 percent of them were satisfied with their shopping experience.

When asked to rate their likelihood of purchasing various pharmaceutical products online on a scale of one to five with a five representing “very likely,” respondents were most likely to buy vitamins and dietary supplements (at a likelihood of 2.5 out of 5), followed by on-going prescriptions (2.1 out of 5), and over-the-counter medicines (2.o out of 5). Birth control (1.7 out of 5) and prescriptions for immediate illness (1.5 out of 5) fared less well.

Consumers are most wary of shipping costs (51 percent) and delivery times (48 percent). More than two-fifths were concerned about the credentials of those handling prescriptions (44 percent) and the quality of the drugs ordered (44 percent).

PC Data Online’s Online Pharmacy survey was conducted August 6-9, 1999. A total of 1,581 males and 1,460 females responded to the survey, yielding a margin of error of +/- 1.8 percent. The sample was balanced by age and gender to represent the US Internet population.

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