E-commerce is changing how consumers shop online for prescription drugs and healthcare equipment and supplies—and what they expect in the way of a superior user experience from web merchants, according to analysis in the newly published Healthcare E-Commerce Report.

The nearly $4 trillion U.S. healthcare system is set to get even bigger and already costing consumers a lot more out-of-pocket to pay for doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs and a wide range of other related healthcare products and services.

But even as consumers pay more for healthcare, they also are shifting more of their shopping and spending online. In 2017, the 200 largest online retailers of prescription drugs and healthcare supplies and equipment Internet Health Management ranked in its latest Healthcare E-Commerce Report collectively generated online sales of $11.47 billion, up 16.2% from combined web sales of $9.87 billion in 2016.

That growth rate is 8.1 times faster than total retail sales of prescription drugs, healthcare equipment and supplies, and related products, which in 2017 grew about 2% to $610.3 billion from $598.33 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The growth in healthcare e-commerce sales also is right in line with the 16% increase in all U.S. e-commerce sales to $453.5 billion in 2017 from $391.0 billion in 2016.

Healthcare e-commerce is growing. Consider these facts.

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  • So far healthcare e-commerce is a niche merchandising category that’s drawing in such start-up companies as digital pharmacies PillPack Inc., acquired in September for $753 million by Amazon.com Inc., and Capsule, based in New York City and attempting to build a lasting e-commerce business.
  • Healthcare e-commerce is sparking a bevy of changes at CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., the largest drugstore chains, as they race to turn their e-commerce sites into digital healthcare delivery systems to better compete with Amazon.

Digital technology also is changing how consumers shop online for prescription drugs and healthcare equipment and supplies—and what they expect in the way of a superior user experience from web merchants. Are web and omnichannel healthcare merchants delivering on those expectations?

Many merchants are, and this 67-page report produced by Internet Health Management and Internet Retailer, both members of the Digital Commerce 360 family of e-commerce research products, is filled with best practice data, analysis and case studies that explain how merchants such as PillPack, Capsule and Betty Mills are meeting customer expectations through excellent website design, customer service and systems integration strategies and programs.

For more information, click here.

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