Healthcare will be the next big ecommerce sector in India

In conversation with Manu Grover, founder Healthgenie.in. He talks about the healthcare industry in the country, their future plans and what healthgenie has to offer to the Indian customers.

  1. What are the current trends in the Healthcare industry? How is it different from say 3 years ago?

The healthcare industry in India is at an inflection point right now and is poised to grow up to USD 280 billion by 2020 which  is  a growth of over ten times since 2005  (Source: ‘Indian Hospital Services Market Outlook’ by consultancy RNCOS). This growth has been driven by several factors including demographics, increase in awareness levels and availability of medical and healthcare facilities in India. Also, it is interesting to note that our population aged above 60 years is projected to grow to around 193 million, compared with over 96 million in 2010. This change in the population pyramid is expected to fuel the demand for healthcare facilities in India. However, Indian healthcare expenditure is still amongst the lowest globally and there are significant challenges to be addressed both in terms of accessibility of healthcare services and quality of patient care. A combination of demographic and economic factors is expected to bring about increased healthcare coverage in India which is expected to drive the growth of the sector. Looking at these trends, online health retailing will meet the dynamic demands of the rapidly changing technological and dimensional needs of the Indian consumers in the coming years. The healthcare industry holds immense potential and with e-commerce booming currently, it will empower the market players to reach out to millions of Indians living in urban as well as rural areas.  The future of the health industry seems to be bright and will be one of the drivers for growth of the Indian economy. E-commerce/Retail healthcare is bound to explode, in the near future.

Healthcare ecommerce sector

Technology will be a game changer in the manner in which healthcare services will be delivered in India. The private sector will be a major driving force behind technology adoption in the Indian healthcare segment. Healthcare has emerged as one of the most progressive and the largest service sectors in India, with a GDP spend of 8% in 2012, up from 5.5% in 2009 and is slated to grow even further in times to come. The healthcare industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 per cent during 2011-2020. India’s health challenges, although unique and complex, will offer a remarkable opportunity for niche players to grow.

  1. In India Healthcare is very costly. How can e-commerce platform bring value to consumers in terms of price and availability of health care products?

Healthcare is a high-cost sector for both end-users and providers, billing at an average of 10.5% of GDP on a global basis. (World Healthcare Outlook, Economist Intelligence Unit). Rising population and increasing life expectancy has led to a high domestic demand for healthcare products & services which cannot be demographically covered by offline retail healthcare service providers alone. The ever growing demand and the lack of quality services in the healthcare sector has offered a huge potential for online health retailers as they can cater to a larger consumer base with lesser operational costs involved.

The presence of very few players in online healthcare space has offered a great platform to grow especially when the demand is huge for quality product and services. Hence, there is no bar to growth trajectory in the healthcare e-tail space. The rapid adoption of digital technology and evolving shopping behaviour are transforming the e-commerce space into an essential element of omni channel success. With the growing average expectancy, where 26% of Indian specialist physicians cater to a large 78% of the rural population, the vast geographical expanse certainly lacks an effective delivery mechanism. Therefore, online retailing in healthcare has become the fastest growing segment to cater to this demand not only in tier I but tier II, III cities and rural areas, which has allowed the rural India exactly the same choices as that of urban India instantaneously along with the flexibility of choosing the attributes that suits his need which could be price, value for money and quality, durability and warranty all backed by genuine users feedbacks and review/ratings.

  1. Many sectors India has witnessed a Price war among online and offline retailers. What’s the trend in health care Industry?

The next big ecommerce sector in India is going to be in Healthcare. Healthcare holds immense potential as currently the market is chaotic and fragmented. The presence of few niche organized players in the online space offers a great platform for new entrants and start-ups to grow especially as the space is huge and there is a surging demand of quality products and services. Hence, there is no upper limit to growth in the healthcare e-tail space. In India, the online e-tailing companies have set the customer service bar so high that the traditional channels are struggling and may have to come up with value added services to boost the sales and loyalty of consumers. With e-commerce, price conscious public does not need to pay a premium for technical help. Traditional traders needs to start innovating, and be fast and be more consumer friendly. There is a rising demand of digitisation in the healthcare sector as most of the online retailers in the market are offering services on desktops and smartphones. To provide more traction to our consumer, we are now also looking to create value added services such as connecting patients to doctors and consumers to specialists, via internet or mobiles. With our public healthcare system still lacking basic facilities, these technological solutions will become the means of rural India getting increased healthcare access.

  1. Tell us something about your subscription model. How is it beneficial for consumers?

Healthgenie.in has a pioneered an innovative subscription model which is catalog based and has a high repeat business in segments like diabetes, elder care, nutrition supplements, women healthcare etc. Our customers can subscribe for the products that is required on a weekly / fortnightly / monthly basis that too at a discounted price. These are usually the products which are bought by customers on a regular or periodic basis.

Once a customer enrolls for Healthgenie.in subscription, the details and the next purchase date get recorded in our CRM and order gets automatically delivered at their doorsteps on the prescribed time. They can also call in and amend the order, so the entire process is to make the execution of the same seamless and convenient for the customers and end users.

We love our existing customers and their patronage for healthgenie.in is rewarded in form of loyalty points from Healthgenie.in. Each of our customers can redeem in the next purchase. We also offer special deals and discounts to our subscribed members as retaining a customer, is always cheaper than acquiring a new one. We have also tied up with Age Care India, an NGO and we offer 5% additional off to the members of the NGO. To demonstrate that customer is king while shopping at Healthgenie, we follow a policy of refunding/cash back to our consumers unlike other players who return the cash back to wallet for future purchases. The idea is to win and garner customer’s trust. We also have a blog where one can explore and share interesting blog content on health, wellness and related feature topics.

  1. Also tell us about your product delivery model.

At Healthgenie.in, we are committed to offer reliable and quality healthcare services to consumers. We are a very consumer centric organization, hence customer satisfaction remains the core of our business model. Healthgenie.in primarily works on stock and sell model. We make sure that we constantly work towards enhancing the user experience at every step of the way. Our product delivery model has also been designed in a way which ensures speedy delivery with minimal turnaround time for each order placed with Healthgenie.in. It ensures that we deliver the products on time and therefore we have minimal cancellations against the orders that are placed with us.

Healthgenie.in is also planning a more dynamic, flexible and strong, hybrid delivery system through local tie-ups to ensure deeper penetration in the market. We are committed to benefit different segments of the Indian society through the advantages of e-commerce retailing and we are currently catering to approximately 10,000 PIN (Postal Index Number) Codes across the country. Healthgenie.in strives for 24 hour delivery within Delhi NCR, at no additional cost & plans to deliver products within 24-36 hours in top 8 metro cities of India.

We always ensure that the need of our customers are met to their full satisfaction by continuous improvement, upgrading technology, selecting appropriate processes and surpassing the quality management systems to provide quality products at a very competitive price. Our android mobile app will be launched very soon followed by iOS, to be able to help our customers connect seamlessly with us.

  1. E-commerce Industry faces a huge challenge in securing customer’s DATA. How is Healthgenie.in securing its customers DATA?

As mentioned before, we put our focus on creating a great customer experience through our services. We have a specialized and innovative CRM team which works towards securing customers data while ensuring the deliveries are processed without any glitches. We secure the customer data by inducing 1000 registration points which can be redeemed by a customer over next 2-3 orders. Our IT team sends email newsletter, trackers and reminders to continually engage our members. Healthgenie.in uses its CRM team to update and maintain the database and take product or service feedback. Our team remains connected with the customers ensuring that we are easily accessible. This has a positive impact on our customer base and it ensure that the need of the consumers is met to their utmost satisfaction. The better user interface, better filter, better descriptions and hand holding our customers into decision making has resulted in 87% customer satisfaction and higher conversion rates. We, at Healthgenie.in, offer maximum value for money, be it in terms of our products or services. This helps in maintaining an active database of the consumer.

  1. What are your plans for next 2-3 years? What more consumers can expect from Healthgenie.in!

Even though we have been boot strapped, we have attained the Number 2 position purely by providing better end to end user interface/solutions to our customers. We are constantly being approached and are in discussions with few of the strategic investors/funds. In the coming FY 15-16, we shall be the first ecommerce company to be operationally profitable as we are aggressively pursuing our LEAN business model and once funded, in the next 18-24 months, we would be able to achieve a 10 X growth.

Going forward, we plan to set up online pharmacy/offline specialty stores that will help expand our reach, becoming a truly omni-channel player to enhance our visibility, trust, sales and branding. We are in the process to launch a mobile app very soon, to be able to help connect seamlessly with our growing mobile users.

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BiS Team

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