Netmeds To Build More Fulfilment Centres Especially in Tier II and Tier III cities
TVCs continues to be the main driver, but we've started to augment that with radio, and of course digital and social network campaigning.
Netmeds.com founder, Pradeep Dadha is a member of one of the oldest legacy pharmacy companies in the country, with industry roots dating back to 1914.With a pan-India potential and an exclusive, wide range of prescription drugs and supplements, Netmeds is poised to take over the country’s market and become- as its incredibly successful ad campaign asserts- ‘India ki Pharmacy’.
BW Disrupt interacted with Pradeep Dadha, CEO & Founder, Netmeds.com to know more about this healthcare venture and surviving the tough competition in this space:
Brief us about your business model like how did the idea came to start and how does it work?
Netmeds.com is India's first fully licensed online pharmacy. Together with the Netmeds.com co-founder, Bruce Schwack and other core team members, he had developed numerous successful global businesses and had garnered a keen understanding of e-commerce, logistics and customer service.
Melding the modalities was a natural evolution of competencies and energies and in June, 2015, the first ever online pharmacy was launched. Netmeds.com, India Ki Pharmacy, offers on its website more than 50,000 SKU's. For prescription medicine purchase a prescription is required, and customers can upload their prescriptions by whatsapp, web upload or email. The prescriptions are vetted by a team of pharmacists, and once approved; the orders are assembled and shipped from wholly owned fulfilment centres throughout India.
What are the unique key points of your company?
We are the only fully licensed online pharmacy to serve all of India, and since inception have delivered to nearly 800 cities in every state in the nation. We employ more than 400 pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, customer service specialists, logistics and warehouse experts, digital payments professionals and programmers all across country.
How are you different from the existing competitors?
We have recently been acknowledged as the StartUp of the year by a very renowned Award committee. Initiatives like this signify that we are headed in right direction. Moreover, we are the only ePharmacy with deep roots in the pharmacy industry.
What is the funding status and monetization model?
Initially we had received funding of USD 10 Million by the founder Pradeep Dadha, and by Mape Advisory Group, which is a leading Indian Investment Bank and a second round of funding was USD 50 Million by Orbimed Healthcare Fund Management, a global fund focused on the healthcare sector.
What challenges are you facing in running your business?
This is a totally new paradigm and consumers need to be convinced to adapt it, and educated on how to best utilize it for their ultimate convenience and benefit. The prescription requirement is to many customers, in its own, is a new concept. But by requiring a prescription, we are encouraging many people to see a doctor, often for the first time in a long time.
And of course, for any e-commerce company, dealing with the logistics of a country so vast is always a challenge. We also have to be able to quickly source any number of prescription medicines and Over The Counter products in one basket, as the typical chronic patient may be taking as many as 6 medicines a month, sometimes more. And we have to get the orders delivered quickly.
How has been the people response so far?
Response so far has been nothing short of ‘exceptional’. Month on month growth has exceeded our projections.
What are the traction details?
We're also able to establish regular communication through SMS, and email, since nowadays, even the most senior, as well as the most rural customers are "connected." We think those are factors driving a lot of customer loyalty.
How do you look at expansion?
We are building out more fulfilment centres throughout the country, so that each metro and Tier II and Tier III cities (and adjacent towns to those cities) can be served well.
What are your marketing plans?
TVC continues to be the main driver, but we've started to augment that with radio, and of course digital and social network campaigning.
What has been the biggest learning so far?
Understanding what the customer, which may be the patient himself, or may be the caregiver, the son or daughter exercising distance caring for their ageing parents, really wants out of the relationship.
Remember, we are replacing what used to be a fixture of Indian life, interacting with the local pharmacist. So we have to be much more than a "medicine delivery service." There are a lot of questions that have to be answered, a lot of "digital tire-kicking" so to speak, before a customer is ready to take the plunge and try this new paradigm of buying prescription medicine online. Of course, now that the regulators have made it clear to the public that ePharmacy is legitimate and beneficial; there will be a whole new wave of consumers ready to participate.
What is the market size and opportunity?
A recent FICCI report projects the potential revenue for online pharmacies could reach 20,000 CR by 2020.
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