Disruption and transformational change continue to shake up the status quo across healthcare. Well-established retail disruptors and uniquely differentiated digital-first innovators are each vying for control of the consumer relationship. That’s leaving incumbents, the traditional providers, behind on yet another front—healthcare ecommerce.
As telehealth advances and consumers maintain their high expectations for care access and delivery, incumbent providers that offer ecommerce have the chance to improve their patient experience through contextually relevant and integrated shopping experiences which are woven into patients’ natural care journey. Not only does a mature ecommerce capability meet consumers where they are, it also offers opportunities to broaden care moments with patients and establishes an efficient channel back to each patient. Ecommerce offers the convenience of self-service for a wide range of products, as well as price transparency, refund policies, prescription refills, claim management, and feedback loops that consumers expect.
Incumbents are faced with more sophisticated and effective ecommerce experiences from innovators and disrupters. Innovators—the digital-first niche providers—have woven ecommerce into their care delivery models. And disruptors—the retailers staking their claim to the healthcare space—have vast physical networks, innovative D2C ecommerce capabilities and mature member loyalty programs. However, the critical element these companies lack, when compared to the incumbent class, is trust.
Our research has determined that consumers still trust the established relationships with their doctor and, by extension, their hospital. But it’s also clear that convenience is quickly eroding the importance trust has, especially where primary care is concerned. Incumbents need to leverage their trusted status and offer more convenient experiences to compete with the disruptors and innovators who are primarily digital, nimbler, and able to pivot quickly to meet demand.
Competing on Convenience
The convenience factor is gigantic for the disruptors and innovators. Here are some of the technology-enabled capabilities incumbents need to be considering for retaining their patients, and protecting and growing market share:
- Omnichannel orchestration is one of the biggest opportunities for incumbents, and the ability for their patients to be able to move seamlessly between channels. Behavioral and clinical data that’s collected in each of those channels can be used to inform and enhance all future interactions—an area where the disruptors have a head start, with data being connected across the contact center, in-store, and online interactions.
- Personalized selling is where the disruptors perform well. They already drive an Amazon-like experience, in the most part, suggesting related products based on purchase history and pages visited. Incumbents have the unique opportunity to take this a step further, by incorporating dynamic content into their ecommerce platforms. That content should be personalized based on a patient’s history, or the medications they are already taking, and what they may need to know to help treat their condition.
- Loyalty membership programs offered by disruptors are far more advanced, offering greater usability than those of incumbents or innovators. Disruptors not only have millions of customers registered into their loyalty membership programs, but they are also most likely to have the digital tools to best handle basic primary care needs—capturing context and being able to recognize customers. Based on purchasing and clinical history, incumbents can then provide relevant offers, or steer consumers to safer products that suit their condition and medical history. They could even move towards offering combined retail and pharmacy experiences to coincide with in-store visits for the ultimate convenience. Prescriptions, primary care appointments, and groceries could be managed in an Amazon Go style, where customers’ accounts get billed and they don’t have to wait in line to go through a cashier.
Adobe Experience Cloud for Healthcare
Competing on convenience is where Adobe’s Experience Cloud for Healthcare, including complete and robust ecommerce functionality, comes into play. Adobe has created an end-to-end HIPAA-ready platform that enables data to be collected and activated in real time, generating immediate insights on your customers and how to best interact with them, personalizing content on the fly and delivering it in real time to the channels where your customers already are. Real-time data management and activation is the foundation to personalized selling and orchestrating individual healthcare journeys across channels of engagement. Adobe Experience Cloud for Healthcare is a game changer for legacy healthcare organizations looking to leverage existing trust while competing in arenas where you never had to before.
Competing on Trust
People trust their pharmacist for simple day-to-day needs. But if it’s something that could be serious, even just for day-to-day care, consumers are still inclined to go to the doctor. There’s an element of trust the disruptors and innovators still need to earn. However, once they get beyond this, disruptors are well positioned to capture a greater share of the specialty or chronic and wellness care markets. All three types of providers can enhance trust in their brand by introducing the following:
- Personalized care assisting with care navigation or care access, to virtually triage patients and align them with doctors and available clinicians for their condition. Then patients can opt to book an appointment via telehealth or in person. Similarly, for minor conditions, patients could receive an electronic prescription that can be taken directly to a pharmacist. Making experiences personalized, relevant, and convenient helps to build trust.
- Content accessibility through intuitively designed websites catering for people with disabilities and the growing aging population is vital in healthcare. For example, making a website compatible with screen reader software for patients who are blind, including captioning in videos for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, or a website that can be easily navigated without the need for a mouse by patients with mobility issues.
- SEO and search visibility is critical for healthcare providers needing to build awareness of their brand, website, product, and services. The retail disruptors and digital native innovators will already have deep knowledge of and experience with search marketing, to capture the interests of consumers seeking healthcare assistance and drive sales.
The innovators and the disruptors are reshaping how consumers think about healthcare, and new models are emerging. The incumbent providers need to move with the times—and quickly—to stave off the competition. They need to establish their digital front doors and underpin them with robust ecommerce and fulfillment capabilities driven by convenience and personalized experiences.
Discover how increased consumer choice is changing the healthcare landscape in our whitepaper, “New Healthcare Customer Experience.”
Managing Director of Healthcare Experience, Concentrix Catalyst
Head of Industry Strategy & Marketing – Health & Life Sciences, Adobe
Executive Vice President of CX Technology, Analytics, and Insights