Now’s the time for medical supply to embrace B2B eCommerce for the post-COVID future

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The medical supplies market has been in a state of change even before the pandemic. Rising healthcare costs, increasing life expectancies, aging populations, as well as customer expectations are all changing the medical supply industry.

The ongoing effects of COVID on the healthcare industry only exacerbate these issues. This year alone, the Us medical supplies market is projected to increase by 4.2%, reaching to $239.6 billion by the end of the year. As people continue to visit medical institutions and seek treatment, the demand for medical products will increase. In addition, many of them are perishable and need to be compliant, introducing new challenges for medical supply buyers.

Spending on medical supplies is typically driven by hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and other users. For them, shortages in supplies can continue long after coronavirus, especially if medical suppliers rely on poorly-suited tools to manage commerce. A purpose-built B2B eCommerce for medical supplies not only helps the healthcare industry deal with demand spikes. It helps hospitals to prevent or mitigate the ill effect of supply shortages and strengthen ties with suppliers, distributors, purchasing organizations, and manufacturers.  Lastly, the added visibility and transparency will help you meet customer expectations.

What do medical device buyers want?

During these complex times, medical device buyers such as practitioners, purchasing agents, and hospital staff want reassurances that spikes in demand will not disrupt their operations. B2B Buyers in the health industry, just like in any industry, expect a great user experience. Healthcare organizations are increasingly looking for conveniences found in B2C, such as the use of self-service, omnichannel capability, and responsive design for a user-friendly experience.

Making it easy to research and purchase is only half of the story. Nowadays, many B2B buyers are grappling with uncertainty and require additional visibility and transparency into inventory and fulfillment. Healthcare organizations need to be able to communicate between stakeholders, build ties between suppliers, distributors, and group purchasing organizations, and gain greater visibility across supply chains.

In order to prepare medical businesses for a future of sustained demand and build in flexibility to maneuver during unpredictable times, the right tools of the trade. With demand for medical products remaining strong for the foreseeable future, brands need to be prepared with a B2B eCommerce software for rapid spikes in demand, automating processes. optimizing supply chains, and remaining relevant to their target audiences.

What benefits should medical supply expect with B2B eCommerce?

Enter new markets

Even before the pandemic, over 94% of all healthcare buyers were already researching online. With travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders, that number is surely at 100% by now. Without an eCommerce store that is mobile-friendly, easily discoverable, and easy to use, you cannot effectively sell to your market. A B2B eCommerce platform also operates as your 24/7 everywhere sales rep, supporting global buyers in their language, currency, ordering, and delivery options.

Build awareness

Many medical supply brands serve multiple verticals or practice areas. With the ability to build multiple, branded self-service portals that contain their own product catalogs, pricing, and shipping options, you can optimize conversions and gain greater market share. Data and analytics allow you to measure activity within your B2B eCommerce store, which lets you easily test A/B test messages, landing pages, and promotions to quickly capture hot sales opportunities.

Customer experience

A B2B eCommerce platform helps improve and fine-tune the purchasing experience for medical supply buyers. For example, personalized, multi-level access to products or ordering functions will make them return to your store. In turn, this information allows you to also streamline the quoting and negotiation process, no matter how many stakeholders are involved. All this makes it easy to offer accurate marketing and promotions tailored specifically to every customer.

Work more efficiently

With B2B eCommerce, sales departments can automate routine work and eliminate repetitive, time-consuming data entry. For example, a website that allows hospitals to place orders may require manual intervention on the back-end, such as entering orders into the ERP, CRM, and other systems. During increased demand, this can quickly lead to misunderstandings, errors, flooding your support department with frustrated customers.

Grow for the future

The right B2B eCommerce solution not only uncovers growth opportunities – it helps you capitalize on them. Look for a platform that supports unlimited SKUs, users, and companies. However, don’t ignore flexibility capabilities including tools to adapt, pivot, and enter new markets with peace of mind.

How to choose a platform for your medical eCommerce business?

Look at what your customers want

The medical supplies industry is a sprawling industry with many players and participants all having different needs. Hospitals are different from family physicians in how they perform decisions and the type of shopping and purchasing experience they require.

Look for the features important to you

Before you select a solution, decide your needs as a business. Determine whether you need to support multiple level permissions, corporate accounts, customer segments, product catalogs, checkout, shipping, or something else to make your work easier.

Look for flexibility and scalability

Consider how your medical supplies business will look like a few years from now. The greater the flexibility of your system, the less chance you’ll have to re-platform. Select a solution that can grow with your traffic, product catalogs, web portals, or potential business models.

Look for integrations and support

When selecting a B2B eCommerce platform, explore how well it integrates with your existing solutions, or back-end systems you may not be using yet. Lastly, talk with their technical support, research their time in the market, or their partner and developer ecosystem.

Wrapping up

Even when the pandemic gets under control, our healthcare systems, as well as the medical supply industry will not go back to normal. The crisis has disrupted everything from our understanding of public health priorities, customer demand, and supply chains on both the global and local levels. In order to survive in the future, medical supply leaders need to plan, prepare, and execute their B2B eCommerce strategies that will remain resilient and not buckle under pressure.

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