The online pharmacy industry has exploded in recent years. So much so that estimates suggest it could be worth in excess of $107 billion by 2025. Annual growth rates are expected to come in at around 14% during that time as well. It all leads to the inevitable question of whether or not online pharmacies will ever fully replace their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
This is a viable question given the fact that so many experts predicted the demise of traditional retail at the hands of online shopping. Retailers like Amazon have had an impact on traditional retail, but they have not brought an end to the brick-and-mortar store. That is primarily due to the fact that there are some items people just prefer to purchase in person.
Could it be that prescription drugs are in the same category? It is possible, but there are some particularly good reasons to suspect that online pharmacies will completely replace brick-and-mortar stores within the next decade or so.
More Affordable Pricing
The number one reason people patronize online pharmacies is price. Simply put, an organization like Canada Pharmacy can sell most of the prescription drugs in their inventory cheaper than neighborhood pharmacies and big-box department stores. Not only is Canada home to much cheaper drugs, but online pharmacies do not have the same expenses as their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
An online pharmacy doesn’t have the expense of maintaining a retail center. It doesn’t have the overhead typically associated with a brick-and-mortar operation. It doesn’t have to hire as many employees either. The list goes on and on. It is just cheaper to operate an online pharmacy for the most part. That translates into better retail prices.
More Convenient Prescription Filling
When price is not the only consideration, some people choose to fill their prescriptions online because it is more convenient. Ordering medication online is no different than shopping for groceries online and having them delivered to your door. Online shopping is a lot more convenient than dragging yourself to the store, walking up and down the aisles, and trying to keep track of the kids while filling your cart.
Of course, convenience isn’t really a question if your need for a prescription is immediate. In that respect, instant fulfillment is the one advantage brick-and-mortar pharmacies still have. You can get a prescription filled today. You do not have to wait days or weeks for your medication to arrive.
Larger Market Share
Patients prefer online pharmacies because of the lower pricing and convenience. Business owners have their reasons as well. For example, opening an online pharmacy instantly gives a business owner access to a larger market share. Simply put, you can reach more people online than you can by opening a building on the corner.
Brick-and-mortar pharmacies are limited to the local population. Online pharmacies can cater to patients nationwide. Canada Pharmacy ships throughout the United States. That translates to millions of potential customers. That kind of market share is unheard of among brick-and-mortar operations.
Time Will Tell the Story
At this point, there is no way to know if the traditional brick-and-mortar pharmacy will be completely replaced by the online model. It is possible, given what we know about the history of online retail. There are already things in place capable of facilitating such a transition.
On the other hand, brick-and-mortar pharmacies have strengths of their own. The brick-and-mortar model may survive solely because it has the capability of getting prescriptions into patients’ hands within hours. They may not be able to compete on prophylactic prescriptions, but they own the day on one-off prescriptions that need immediate filling.