10 May FLOOR TO OUR MERCHANTS: PHARMERCURE
Co-Founder & CFO, Pharmercure
Pharmercure is a “Made in Italy” success story: an innovative digital platform that connects pharmacies and customers, with a door-to-door delivery service of medicines. Can you tell us about your entrepreneurial story and the people behind it?
The Pharmercure project dates back to 2017, when Maurizio Campia (CEO), Gianluca Abate (CTO&COO), Federico Mecca and I participated to the “Startup Creation Lab”, an initiative of the University of Turin.
The idea was to bring medicines, including prescription medications, directly to citizens’ door by putting local pharmacies in contact with their customers via an advanced digital platform offering quality logistics service with fairly treated couriers. For us at Pharmercure, the introduction of home delivery services in the pharmaceutical world was only the first step towards an omnichannel approach to the pharmacy and health care model, which we are proud to be part of.
What are the results you obtained and the goals you achieved since the launch of Pharmercure, which you are mostly proud of?
We are no longer a young start-up, but a constantly growing company, also thanks to the precious contribution of investors such as Reale Mutua Assicurazioni and Azimut Capital. They support our constant search for more effective solutions to create further innovation, thus helping us become the point of reference of each pharmacy, in both the physical and digital world.
In a market where the online sales of prescription medications is illegal, Pharmercure has managed to differentiate itself from its main competitors. Thanks to a complex study of existing regulations, the application of proprietary technologies and the establishment of solid operations, we are able to manage online orders of any product that can be purchased in a pharmacy, including prescription drugs, and have them delivered to the customer’s door.
The service is currently active and offered in 45 cities in Italy, with a total coverage of over 12 million citizens and a network of more than 250 pharmacies. During the recent pandemic, turnover and deliveries have increased fivefold, thus allowing us to improve our core business through the optimisation of proprietary technologies and the fine-tuning of the service linked to therapeutic adherence.
How does Pharmercure work and what benefits does it offer to end customers?
Pharmercure is an order and home delivery platform, which allows customers to buy all the products that can be found in a pharmacy. Customers can place their order and request delivery via our webapp www.pharmercure.com or by contacting our partnered pharmacies directly.
When ordering online, users can enter their address and choose the closest partnered pharmacy. The pharmacist will then contact them by telephone to confirm availability and price of the selected products.
All orders are collected by our couriers directly at the pharmacy, and then delivered to the provided customers’ address at the selected time slot. The Pharmercure service allows end customers to order the products they need and have them delivered directly at their home, including ethical drugs, by simply entering the relevant digital prescription code or by uploading the doctor’s prescription in .pdf format.
Furthermore, the printed version of the prescription can also be collected either at the customers’ home address or at their doctor’s office. Thanks to this option, whatever the impediment to go to the pharmacy – lack of time, mobility or health issues, or even in case of non-immediate availability of the product in the pharmacy – anyone can receive what they need directly at their home or workplace.
What is the experience on the pharmacy side and what advantages can the pharmacist count on?
Thanks to our home delivery services, we offer pharmacies the opportunity of generating additional turnover and boost customer retention. Moreover, we help them minimize the so-called “suspended receipts”, caused by the non-immediate availability of one or more products.
In addition to this, through the webapp we are able to intercept part of that digital demand, which would otherwise risk running into potential fraudulent sites.
Pharmacies manage everything from a dedicated, user-friendly digital platform, our Pharma BackOffice, which enables them to easily and rapidly manage home delivery requests from pharmercure.com, thus benefitting from structured and quality logistic services. By always putting the pharmacists’ professionalism at the very core of the service, Pharmercure manages to overcome that kind of “depersonalisation” that is often associated with the digital world.
At what stage is the payment of the order made by the customer?
Generally, the order is paid by the customer at the time of delivery.
Our logistics is equipped with mobile POS devices and a cash bag, to provide customers with the possibility to choose their preferred payment method, even at the very last moment.
At the same time, customers are given the option to use the pay-by-link solution: in this case, they just need to process the payment, whose request is digitally sent by Pharmercure, before the products are delivered.
MyBank is among the methods you chose for payment links. How does this solution work and how does it support your business?
MyBank was integrated in early 2020 and has been particularly appreciated by all Pharmercure stakeholders: pharmacists, final customers as well as logistics operators.
Not only in extreme situations such as the health emergency linked to the pandemic, but also in any circumstances requiring safe and contactless deliveries, this solution helps remove barriers by increasing the level of trust towards our services.
With MyBank payments through the pay-by-link solution, the need for a physical POS device is eliminated: after placing the order on our platform and receiving confirmation from the pharmacist, customers receive a notification with a payment link from Pharmercure either via SMS, e-mail or Whatsapp. Thus, they are able to pay their order online before the delivery is made.
Customers only have to click on the link and select their bank, to get directly redirected to their online banking service, which they access with their usual credentials. A fully pre-filled transfer is immediately available to them and, without the need to enter any additional information, they simply have to click to approve the transaction. Confirmation is immediately received by both customers and Pharmercure. Being the transaction irrevocable, payment collection is certain at our end, therefore we are able to manage the order and deliver the products straight away.
Why offering an alternative, non-card-based payment method such as MyBank is important for Pharmercure?
At Pharmercure, customer satisfaction is the guiding star for everything we do, and this includes offering customers and stakelholders a great variety of solutions for them to choose from.
As far as payments is concerned, customers can have so many different needs and preferences: from cash to e-payments via innovative apps, from contactless to pay-by-link technologies. MyBank allows customers to make payments directly from their online banking service, with no need to use cash or payment cards (debit/credit), and no need for new registrations or apps.
Each situation is unique, and we believe that enabling customers to benefit from key services such as home deliveries of medicines by providing the best options is one of our biggest objectives to pursue. MyBank, with its alternative payment solution, supports us in achieving this goal.
Pharmercure also promotes circular economy. Can you tell us about the BiciclAbile project you have participating to in the city of Turin?
Pharmercure’s business model has always promoted sustainable delivery services, especially through the use of electric vehicles and bicycles. Hence the idea of collaborating with the BiciclAbile project, promoted by the Turin-based social enterprise Stranaidea, which recovers abandoned bicycles thanks to the work of individuals with disabilities and homeless people. We feel a strong sense of affinity with the values promoted by the project, which combines help and assistance to people, especially the most fragile ones, with respect for the environment. We truly look forward to using our new bikes and participating to further initiatives with similar social and sustainable purposes.
10 May 2023