Healthcare eCommerce

Regardless of your age, location, or income, you’ll need healthcare at some point. Expert care is essential, but every healthcare provider relies on medical supplies to deliver world-class patient experiences.

Healthcare is a booming field with lots of opportunities, especially in the age of eCommerce. With an online store, you can connect with hospitals and health systems at the speed of a Google search. If you’re looking for a profitable product idea for your online store, healthcare eCommerce could be your ticket to sales.

However, medical supplies are heavily regulated. It’s important to get a fair understanding of opportunities in the medical supply trade—and common challenges—to decide if this is the best niche for your eCommerce website.

In this guide, we’ll break down the medical supply market, show why this niche is so promising to eCommerce pros, and explain how to overcome the most common barriers to setting up a healthcare eCommerce store. 

A Bird’s Eye View of the Healthcare Sector

Healthcare eCommerce is the online sale of medical supplies, medical devices, prescription medications, and personal care products. It also technically includes telehealth services and patient consultations, all delivered via eCommerce websites or mobile apps. 

As a store owner, you’ll fall on the side that sells medical supplies—and there’s a lot of opportunity for growth in this niche. Globally, the medical supply market brought in a whopping $138.4 billion in 2022.

An increase in infectious diseases, like COVID-19, led to a surge in demand that hasn’t decreased, even as the world reemerges post-COVID. In fact, the market is worth an estimated $163.5 billion by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4%. If we look at healthcare eCommerce as a whole, which includes telemedicine, this market expects a CAGR of 15% from 2022 to 2027.

Of course, you’re not in the market to peddle your services as a doctor. Online healthcare services and digital health solutions are just the beginning. All of these providers need specialized medical products that cater to chronic conditions and an aging population. 

Tech giants and startups are finding opportunities for innovation here, especially in areas like mobile applications for health monitoring, virtual reality therapies, and personalized care. As a product seller, you can capitalize on this by offering devices and medical equipment that support home healthcare, which is becoming increasingly popular with time-strapped patients.

Even digitized healthcare needs materials to serve patients, and that’s where you come in. With the right strategy, you can create a competition-proof healthcare eCommerce store that positions you as an industry leader in this growing space.

Benefits of eCommerce Adoption for Healthcare

Healthcare eCommerce

In the past, physicians had to order supplies either through the mail or via specialized wholesalers. This process took a long time and limited providers’ options. Today, eCommerce healthcare stores benefit providers and patients, making the industry more affordable, accessible, and relevant.

Robust Data Analytics

It’s easier to track online sales than in-store shopping with a wholesaler. Digital platforms collect and analyze a lot of data on consumer behavior and patient health trends. While you need to be careful about the data you collect on patients, these insights can help you make more informed decisions about products, marketing, and more. 

Better Patient Experience

Making medical supplies widely available via online shopping improves patient access and affordability. Widespread availability gives shoppers plenty of options to find the right medical device for their needs, while ensuring fair pricing through competition. It's a win-win for both your store and its shoppers!

Bigger Target Audience

For eCommerce shop owners, this arrangement opens you up to more potential customers. Instead of being forced to sell products locally, you can sell to nearly anyone in the world, provided there are no legal restrictions. Anyone with an internet connection can find your products, giving you access to more customers at scale.

Five Trends in the eCommerce Healthcare Industry

Healthcare eCommerce

The healthcare eCommerce industry is growing fast. Several up-and-coming trends are reshaping how providers and patients use these products. If you’re setting up an eCommerce store tailored to global healthcare providers, make sure your eCommerce strategy touches on these popular trends. 

1. Popular Items and Medical Devices

There are product trends in any eCommerce niche, and healthcare is no different. Right now, providers and patients are clamoring for products like:

  • Wearable health monitors
  • Home diagnostic kits
  • Telemedicine equipment
  • CPAP machines
  • Nebulizers
  • Home ECG/EKG machines
  • Hearing aids
  • Orthopedic inserts
  • Mobility aids, like walkers and scooters

Feel free to niche down even more by focusing on a single category, like mobility aids, and selling a variety of products within that category. The more specialized you can be, the easier it is to create head-turning digital marketing campaigns that bring in sales more quickly. 

Another way to find in-demand products is to partner with a solid eCommerce healthcare supplier. Spark Shipping links eCommerce sites to providers like McKesson, Medline, Cardinal Health at-Home, and Complete Medical to automatically exchange data between sellers and suppliers. Spend less time working in spreadsheets and focus your energy on selling instead.

2. Artificial Intelligence and Automation

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation make personalization possible in eCommerce. AI personalizes shopping experiences, predicts customer behavior, and automates inventory management.

But you don't need the latest AI to benefit from machine learning. Even standard automation can do a lot of the heavy lifting for your store. For example, Spark Shipping automatically links products to the best-priced in-stock vendors, helping you maximize margins for no added effort. 

3. Blockchain

Trust is everything in the healthcare industry. More and more medical supply businesses are using blockchain technology in lieu of serial numbers to verify the authenticity of their goods. A temper-proof supply chain makes it much easier for you to make a name for yourself in an industry plagued by fraud. 

4. Multichannel Approach

More eCommerce healthcare stores are creating multichannel experiences instead of siloed online stores. Sell on eCommerce marketplaces like Walmart, eBay, or Amazon (if legally permitted, of course), as well as your website and social media.

Multiple sales channels might sound overwhelming, but a solution like Spark Shipping makes expansion a cinch. Our platform integrates your systems with the largest medical dropshipping companies in the U.S., scaling your business in just a few clicks. 

5. D2C and B2B Sales

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales are gaining traction in healthcare eCommerce. More companies are bypassing intermediaries like retail stores to sell directly to consumers.

For example, major platforms like Amazon are selling medication to their customers at competitive prices. This trend is reshaping distribution channels and opening up new avenues for eCommerce businesses to reach end-users directly.

As a medical supply store, you’ll likely sell under a business-to-business (B2B) model where you sell to other businesses. However, not all of your customers will be doctors or hospitals. Non-medical companies often need to buy materials like hand sanitizer and masks, so this niche is no longer just for medical professionals. 

The Challenges of eCommerce in the Healthcare Sector

Healthcare eCommerce

Healthcare eCommerce benefits providers, patients, and, of course, eCommerce business owners. However, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. If you’re considering setting up your own eCommerce healthcare store, your business strategies should address these four common challenges. 

1. Security and Compliance

Security is, hands down, the most critical issue for any company, including the online sales of healthcare supplies. Regulatory requirements like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require careful handling of protected health information (PHI). If you store patient data—including credit card information—you might be required to follow HIPAA rules.

You might not qualify as a covered entity under HIPAA, but even so, scammers and nefarious parties want access to consumers’ information. Regardless, the digital nature of eCommerce makes healthcare data more susceptible to breaches, which jeopardizes patient safety and credibility.

A single breach can hurt your reputation with healthcare professionals. Follow robust cybersecurity measures to maintain data privacy. You may need to work with a lawyer to see if you’re required to comply with HIPAA. It’s also a good idea to voluntarily follow regulations like GDPR, PCI, and CCPA.

2. Speed of Delivery

Many customers expect their online orders to arrive almost immediately, but timelines are more urgent in the healthcare eCommerce market. For example, someone ordering a CPAP machine might experience serious health problems while waiting for their potentially life-saving machine. 

If you’re dealing with healthcare products, ensure you can fulfill orders as quickly as possible. That might mean routing orders to a supplier with a warehouse closest to the customer to guarantee speedy delivery, or offering free two-day shipping on orders above a certain amount. 

Healthcare businesses also appreciate transparent tracking information. Integrate with Spark Shipping to automatically send shoppers tracking information for greater peace of mind. 

3. Building Trust

Healthcare providers won’t order products from an online store if they don’t trust it. As a business owner, it’s your job to earn (and continue earning) the trust of your discerning customers. If you fail to earn their trust, you’ll face an uphill battle in making a name for yourself in this industry.

It isn’t easy, but you can steadily build trust with online shoppers by:

  • Featuring real customer reviews and testimonials on your website
  • Ensuring the accuracy of all product information on your website
  • Offering generous shipping, returns, and refund policies
  • Being transparent about pricing
  • Offering discounts for bulk orders

4. Managing Orders at Scale

It won’t happen overnight, but with consistency and dedication, you’ll steadily make a name for yourself as a go-to healthcare eCommerce provider. However, many dropshippers and online stores often become victims of their own success.

In other words, how do you continue to run this thing once it grows beyond your control? 

That’s exactly what happened to Spark Shipping customer Bisco Health. The company was fulfilling dropshipping orders manually, which took too much time as they grew. 

They automated everything with Spark Shipping’s automatic fulfillment and intelligent order routing features. Today, Bisco’s inventory is always up to date, and the team no longer spends time on finicky tasks. 

Secure Your Future in Medical Supply Sales

Spark Shipping

Healthcare eCommerce is a profitable industry, but it can be hard to break into it at first. Taking advantage of upcoming trends in the healthcare sector and making plans for common challenges will put you on the fast track to success.

Of course, success isn’t easy. Whether it’s syncing vendor data, pricing products, or sending tracking updates, online stores have a lot of moving parts.

That’s where we come in. Spark Shipping automates the time-consuming parts of your eCommerce business, giving both you and your shoppers a better experience. See the difference firsthand: Schedule your Spark Shipping demo now.