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How to Start an Online Pharmacy Business

    Are you a retail pharmacy owner? Thinking of starting an online medical store business? The major beneficial aspect is online pharmacy businesses allow you to distance selling. Here in this article, find a stepwise guide to starting an online pharmacy business with little money.

    Industry experts predict a huge growth of the online pharmacy industry in the coming years. It is due to people from tier-2 and tier-3 along with tier-2 cities are more and more buying medicines online due to heavy discounts provided by the companies. It is expected that there will be around 512 million customers buying medicines on online platforms.

    Brick & mortar retail stores don’t allow distance selling. Another benefit of setting up an online store is you don’t need to pay any rent for retail space. Yes, you will need to build your own website. You can sell only non-essential medicines from your own ePharmacy.

    With the arrival of so much eCommerce software, initiating an online pharmacy business is really easy and cost-effective. Here in this article, we intend to explore an online pharmacy business plan sample with a very small investment.

    Here are the 6 Steps to Start Online Pharmacy Business

    1. Know the Market

    If you are seriously planning to start an online pharmacy business, it is mandatory to conduct in-depth market research beforehand. Keep in mind that there are both scope and threats in running the business.

    Some of the positives are high-profit margins, access to 100% FDI capital, easy shopping experience, unlimited market potential, and low running costs compared to traditional pharmacy business.

    Read: How to do Market Research for a Startup

    However, there is also a good number of cons that must be accounted for before launching an online pharmacy. The prominent negatives are complex legal processes, lack of awareness among people, technology breaches, and hassles due to drug abuse by customers.

    ePharmacy owners must be willing to supply medicines against a prescription to anyone in India. It is also important to know more about your potential competitors. Presently 1mg, Netmeds, Apollo pharmacy, PharmEasy, and Medlife are the major players operating in the online pharmacy sector.

    2. Create a Business Plan

    It is essential to make a detailed business plan before starting an online pharmacy shop business.

    Plan about the products first. There are several product categories. Such as prescription medicine, non-prescription medicines, baby care products, personal care products, ayurvedic products, clinical accessories, testing equipment, and cosmetics products.

    You will need to determine the product range. Proper inventory management plays a crucial role. Aim to find yourself a niche product as this will make your business stand out from the crowd.

    Talk to the courier companies. Fix a renowned and reliable courier company for delivery. Craft a financial plan including the working cost and marketing cost.

    3. Business Registration

    Registration of business is a must. Register your organization with ROC. One Person Company is the recommended business structure for newbies with a low budget.

    You can form Pvt. Ltd. or LLP for partnership operation. GST registration is a must. You can apply to your state’s Sales Tax department.

    4. Procure Licenses and Permits

    A drug license is mandatory. You will need to obtain a Retail Drug License.

    In most states, a retail drug license is only issued to persons who possess a degree or diploma in pharmacy from a recognized institute or university after depositing the requisite fee on account of the fact that it is a specialized job and only qualified persons can handle it.

    If you have the qualification, it’s good. Otherwise, you must employ a person, who has such a degree on a full-time basis. You will need to submit the following document to get the retail drug license.

    • Application form in the prescribed format
    • Covering Letter with the intent of the application signed with the name and designation of the applicant
    • Challan of fee deposited for obtaining drug license
    • Declaration form in the format prescribed
    • Key plan(Blueprint) for the premises
    • Site plan (Blueprint) for the premises
    • The basis of possession of the premises
    • Proof of ownership of the premises, if rented
    • Proof of constitution of the business (Incorporation Certificate / MOA / AOA / Partnership Deed)
    • Affidavit of no conviction of proprietor/partners/directors under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940
    • Affidavit of a registered pharmacist or competent person working full time
    • Appointment letter of registered pharmacist/competent person, if an employed person.

    You will also need an FSSAI license if you plan to sell food and nutritional items. Also, a shop and establishment license and warehouse license are some more basic licenses that will be needed to start an e-pharmacy business in India. It is advised to talk to a local competent lawyer or concerned authority and learn more about the type of licenses needed.

    5. Setting Up Online Pharmacy Business

    You can start the business in two ways. One is setting up your store through the WooCommerce plugin on WordPress. If you are technically good at WordPress and have knowledge about the plugin you can try WooCommerce.

    Another option is initiating your store through eCommerce platforms. We recommend Shopify for beginners planning to start a small online pharmacy shop. Shopify is a website builder & online shopping cart system that has every feature you need to run your online business. With Shopify, You will get the following features for free.

    If you want to allow more time for promotion, sourcing, and growing the business, Shopify is the best option. Creating and managing the store with a lot of technical aspects will be handled by the Shopify team. Their support system comes with a total eCommerce solution.

    But for a larger scale, it is recommended to hire competent professionals having previous experience in setting up pharmacy online stores.

    6. Promote Your Online Pharmacy Business

    A word-of-mouth campaign is the best option for a small online store promotion. Be aware of everyone in your store including your family, friends, and relatives.

    You must promote the store online. SEO optimization is a must. Shopify will take care of the SEO optimization of your pharmacy. Every time you update your website, you want Google to know.

    Shopify does this by generating the sitemap.XML files to help your edits get indexed faster. You can take advantage of Shopify’s coupon and discount features.

    Create coupons and assign discount codes to generate more business. Email marketing is another great way to promote an online pharmacy store. You can also promote your online pharmacy business with social media.