George Anderson


Medical ecommerce is growing

Digitalcommerce360 recently reported on GE Healthcare’s upgrade to their ecommerce system. It’s a great story, and it gives us an inside look at one leading medical manufacturer and their approach to medical ecommerce. In particular, GE Healthcare estimates that 14.5% of hospital purchasing will be conducted online by 2022. To meet that demand, GE has revamped their ecommerce presence. 

What can medical manufacturers learn from GE Healthcare’s story and the growth of medical ecommerce in general? Here are 4 takeaways.  

1. Healthcare ecommerce on track to grow substantially in the next few years

GE Healthcare released a startling prediction for the medical ecommerce market: the company estimates that by 2022, 14.5% of all hospital purchasing will be done online.

But that’s not all. B2B ecommerce is growing, both as a whole and in the healthcare/pharma industry:

  • The B2B ecommerce market passed the $1 trillion mark in 2018, a year earlier than Forrester originally predicted.
  • Forrester now estimates that the market value will hit $1.8 trillion by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 10% between now and then.
  • Digitalcommerce360 estimates that online hospital purchasing will be worth $3.5 billion by 2022.

For medical manufacturers, the takeaway is clear: it’s time to launch ecommerce or improve an outdated web presence.

But just how effective is ecommerce in medical/pharma? Let’s look at some numbers for Corevist clients in the industry.

2. Corevist clients in medical/pharma see 45.87% conversion rate in aggregate

Earlier this year, we released aggregate statistics on the performance of our clients in the medical/pharma industry. Here’s how Corevist Commerce performed for these clients in aggregate in 2018:

  • Aggregate conversion rate – 45.87%
  • Total sessions – 561,305
  • Total transactions – 257,452
  • Total revenue – $366,109,453.71

Things get even more interesting when we break out a subset of these clients—those who use the Corevist Field Sales Portal for their reps to enter orders on behalf of customers. Here are the aggregate performance numbers which those clients saw in their Field Sales Portals in 2018:

  • Aggregate conversion rate – 82.66%
  • Total sessions – 37,274
  • Total transactions – 30,810
  • Total revenue – $56,029,398.14

So what keeps medical/pharma buyers coming back to an ecommerce store? There are many factors that influence retention, but it’s worth noting that ecommerce offers you the opportunity to increase customer value in a way which no other sales channel does: you can sell related 3rd party products to increase your average order value.

Not surprisingly, GE Healthcare identified this as an opportunity for their business.

3. GE to start selling 3rd party products (and you should, too)

As Digitalcommerce360 reports, GE Healthcare “aims to diversify and sell more parts online from other healthcare equipment manufacturers.”

If that’s surprising, think about this. In a sense, manufacturers who launch ecommerce are actually staking out territory in the distribution market. 

So how do you compete as a distributor? 

Offer as much value as you can to the customer’s operation. Depending on your market and the needs of your customers, that might mean selling other manufacturers’ products alongside your own. 

Every manufacturer should evaluate the idea of selling 3rd party products that accompany their major products. It may not be for everyone, and it will look different in every market; but it increases your value to the customer, and it’s a trend we expect to grow.

To start answering the 3rd party product question, see this post: Think Like A Distributor, Act Like A Manufacturer.  

4. GE had to upgrade hybris to get functionality that’s part of Corevist on Day 1

Here’s the troubling part of the GE Healthcare story. While we don’t know the specifics, it appears GE had to upgrade hybris 4 years after the initial launch to gain functionality which ships with Corevist Commerce on Day 1:

  • Better ERP integration—Corevist Commerce is fully integrated to SAP on Day 1. Rather than building a costly, complex integration from scratch, we configure our out-of-the-box solution to meet your customers’ exact needs.
  • Updated site search—Corevist Commerce includes intelligent search out of the box. This is essential for today’s digital-first buyer.
  • Check parts availability in real time—Corevist Commerce offers quick inventory lookup from the home screen. This feature allows you to type in an SKU and see live inventory/ATP availability, straight from SAP. (Of course, we also show inventory availability within the ecommerce catalog and cart.)
  • Track order delivery status—Corevist Commerce includes full order history and shipment tracking, regardless of whether the order was placed via Corevist, phone, fax, email, or some other channel.

The Takeaway: Choose a flexible, scalable solution that’s ready for medical ecommerce

If you’re a medical manufacturer, there’s no way around it: ecommerce is coming. Healthcare professionals are shifting to buying online, and medical manufacturers are stepping up to the plate. The key is to select an ecommerce solution that’s flexible enough for your needs (and one that’s ready to scale up for global enterprises).

Here’s where Corevist Commerce comes in. Because we start with your SAP integration at the core, our solution is built to scale fast for companies that need multiple storefronts.

What’s more, we don’t sell you the platform and turn you over to a 3rd party for implementation, integration, and ongoing support. Rather, we are your One Throat to Choke provider for all things ecommerce.

In other words, we built it; we implement it; we support it, and we help you grow it.

That’s great news for medical manufacturers without domain expertise in ecommerce.

Moving forward: FREE case study

Want to see medical ecommerce in real life? Download this case study on PARI Respiratory. You’ll learn how this 106-year-old global manufacturer launched Corevist Commerce and revolutionized their business with web-based B2B ordering.

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