For a more comprehensive user experience across all channels, two of India’s leading online pharmacies are opening their doors.
According to people familiar with the situation, Tata-owned 1mg is poised to open its first brick-and-mortar store in Gurugram next month. PharmEasy, its main competitor, has also started to increase its presence in the offline channel by opening franchise stores.
There was a discussion about the different techniques adopted by the two companies in their decision to go offline. Brands like Apollo Pharmacy and Medplus, already well-known for their physical locations, will now face off against 1mg and PharmEasy, well-known for their online presence.
“In the next three to four months, 1mg plans to open about a dozen outlets. They’ll see how things go operationally, but if everything goes according to plan, they expect to open roughly 500 stores across India within the next three years,” a person with knowledge of the situation said.
Pharmacy owners that want to open a storefront under the PharmEasy name and brand can do so for a charge. According to people familiar with the issue, PharmEasy will also use its distribution network to provide supplies to these outlets.
PharmaEasy has started with non-metros and hopes to expand to other areas. More testing is taking place in these markets due to the positive feedback. Instead of opening their stores, they chose to use a franchise model, as one of the attendees stated.
A take-rate approach will be used for all sales, and retailers will purchase from PharmEasy for guaranteed supply. A second individual with knowledge of the situation added, “If it works, it will be ramped out substantially and may be big for the corporation in the long run.” In addition, customers will be able to order prescriptions online through the PharmEasy platform and then pick them up from nearby stores, utilising a click-and-pick approach in the future.
It is in keeping with Tata Digital’s omnichannel strategy for its online companies that parent company 1mg is expanding into the offline channel. Reliance Industries-owned Netmeds, Amazon India, and Flipkart, which recently took a majority stake in Kolkata-based online pharmacy SastaSundar, compete in the e-healthcare sector with PharmEasy and 1mg.