The main goal of the online project, My Canadian Pharmacy, is to launch an online sales channel of all popular and rare medicinal products. The pharmacy network expects that this site will help to increase the share of Internet sales in the total revenue structure. We talked with the project manager of e-commerce agency of this pharmacy, Frank Higgins and head of Internet marketing and analytics of project, Leonard Daniels.

What are the main features of this online pharmacy? What is the difference from offline drug stores?

Leonard: Online buyers have the opportunity to quickly compare offers from sellers and choose the best price. Many also fear fakes in case of ordering from unknown sellers on the network. That is why we immediately set ourselves the task of providing users with attractive prices at our pharmacy. At the same time, being the leader of domestic pharma retail, we guarantee our customers a high-quality certified product and convenient service.

What is the peculiarity of  pharmacy catalogue?

Frank: First, medicines are a specific product that is often prescribed by a doctor, and is not the object of choice of the buyer based on his or her preferences and the study of the characteristics of the product. Second, the categorization of medicines in the professional environment of pharmacists is very different from how ordinary consumers determine the types of drugs. Buyers tend to operate with symptoms, so alternative navigation options, such as searching for symptoms and diseases, should complement the main catalogue. Search comes on the first place in the navigation of the online pharmacy. From the very beginning of work on website design, we paid a lot of attention to it, and now, having achieved good results, we can confirm that optimizing of search engine was a success.

Leonard: We did a lot of research to understand the expediency of creation of a good catalogue and user-friendly menu for our pharmacy. Almost immediately it became clear that the menu on the drugstore website is a minor element of navigation. There are a lot of medicines with specific names, and as a rule, buyers are looking for something specific. The search is important, since it is a key element of navigation: people visit the website and enter the name of the medicine that was heard in advertising or which the doctor prescribed. Therefore, we made the search big and noticeable. The catalogue is grouped according to the types of drugs: “medicines”, “dietary supplements”, “ED drugs” “for children and mothers”, etc., further drugs are built according to the types of diseases. The list and more precise structure provided to us by pharmacists. For each product, there is a preview of the card, to which the key data is provided, which, first, help to accurately identify the drug, and second, compare it with others. For example, people can see in the catalogue that the active substance is one and the same, and countries of origin are different.

What are the features of the product card on My Canadian Pharmacy website?

Frank: A product card is the most complex interface in the entire purchase chain. First, the logic of using photographs is specific. A picture plays an important role in the catalogue. There are medications with similar package that are an important element, for example, a pill for sore throat with anesthetic agent and without pain medication. It is convenient for the buyer to see this information right in the catalogue. But unlike most categories in Internet trading where conversion is highly dependent on the quality of a photo, this rule does not work for product cards of medicines, since photographs of the blister or phial are not of top priority. The properties and characteristics of the goods in the pharmacy are important most of all. Sometimes, the instruction takes a couple of sheets of text. As a result, the layout of the product card is not quite standard: the main blocks are a small photograph, price, information about the manufacturer, the form of release and the quantity of the goods in the package.

Leonard: On the first stage, online search is implemented in a standard way: by names of medicines, brands, sections, but it is planned to expand the functionality and make it possible to search for diseases and for the main queries, such as headache or medications for cold.

What about the unusual decisions?

Leonard: Slider can be used to insert seasonal drug collections. For example, when flu epidemic begins, you can put a selection of drugs for influenza, and in summer, you can make a range of sun protection creams.

Will there be any changes in functioning of your pharmacy?

Leonard: We do not plan any special changes with this online drug store, it functions well for the time being. Each of the brands will work with their audience.

How are orders processed now considering legal restrictions? And what will change once these restrictions are lifted?

Frank: We strictly abide by the existing restrictions. You can pick up the order made on the website only in our warehouse, where the storage is made in compliance with all the rules and requirements of the FDA. The order itself is completed in the warehouse, where we have the opportunity to store a huge amount of SKU that are not present in many pharmacies. We do not expect the explosive growth of the market after the release of the law. Most likely the rules of the game will change gradually, and the first version of the law will impose a number of restrictions. For example, delivery of drugs is likely to be handled only by couriers with pharmaceutical education, subject to the conditions of transportation and storage of medicines. The cost of such a service will be high, and it will be in demand only by narrow segments of customers.