Master of Business Administration
Faculty / School
School of Business Studies (SBS)
Dr. Farah Naz Baig, Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing
Project Coordinator (External)
Zaad Hashmi, Lead Pharmacy Vertical, Foodpanda Pakistan
MBA Research Project
Abstract / Summary
Pakistan is evolving rapidly regarding the adoption of technology and online platforms. With new online platforms emerging and generating users, one such sector is the growing rise, which comprises online pharmacies. Online pharmacies offer users a convenient and affordable solution to purchase medicines online through a website or a mobile application. Foodpanda’s Pandamart has been a top customer choice over the last few years in terms of q-commerce, offering timely delivery of groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other necessities. With the burgeoning increase in route-to-market costs, Pandamart plans to expand its pharmacy vertical for the Pakistani market. The pharmacy, also known as Pandamart Pharmacy, seeks to identify key strategies that would augment its market position and user base. The company plans to investigate and explore shopper perceptions towards online pharmacy purchases in Pakistan to help accelerate its user base expansion by keeping a customer-centric approach. Given this context, a comprehensive research investigation employing diverse methodologies was conducted to yield practical insights.
The study aimed to examine the shoppers' perceptions regarding online pharmacies. A comprehensive review of the pertinent literature was conducted to ascertain areas of literature gaps and establish critical themes. The key themes encompassed consumer motivations, perceptions, decision journeys, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The central research question guiding the study was, "How do consumers perceive the online purchase of medicines through an e-commerce channel?"
A mixed-method research design was employed, utilizing qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques to comprehensively understand the phenomenon under investigation. The qualitative component of the study involved conducting interviews and focus groups, as well as a comprehensive retail audit scan carried out throughout Karachi. The quantitative component of the study involved the administration of an online survey, which elicited responses from a total of 165 participants.
The results offered valuable insights into shopper motivations and barriers to online pharmacy purchases. Key motivators for shoppers include convenience, discounts, product assortment, and time-saving. At the same time, significant barriers comprised the non-availability of medicines, conventional mindset, delivery fee, frequent stockouts, reservations on payment mode, medicine authenticity, delivery time, and delivery charges.
A survey highlighted several factors that significantly influence behavioural intention towards purchasing healthcare products and services from online pharmacies: perceived usefulness, trust, risk, and attitude. Contrarily, perceived ease of use was found to have no significant influence on the attitude toward these purchases.
The research showed that consumers find online pharmacies convenient, with factors such as discounts, brand trust, and convenience motivating their purchasing decisions. However, concerns about customer privacy and delivery fees were identified as barriers to adoption. The attitude towards online pharmacies positively affects the behavioural intention to purchase medicines online, indicating that a favourable attitude increases the likelihood of online purchases.
Recommendations to Pandamart Pharmacy based on the research findings are:
- Increase Trust and Credibility: Foodpanda should display DRAP certification and accreditations, provide secure payment methods, and share client feedback on social media platforms to foster trust among its users.
- Tailor Product Assortment According to Area-Specific Health Profiles and Economic Status: The platform should maintain partnerships with medical professionals, adjust inventory levels and SKU availability based on distinct health profiles of different localities, and consider the economic conditions when deciding the proportion of domestically manufactured and imported pharmaceuticals.
- Integrate AI-Based Pharmacological Alternatives and Online Pharmacists: Foodpanda can leverage the use of artificial intelligence by developing a comprehensive AI database with healthcare professionals, training the AI system to consider critical attributes of every medication, incorporating online pharmacists into the AI system, and communicating quality assurance to users.
- Optimize Logistics and Ensure Speedy, Reliable Delivery: The platform must build a reliable delivery network and train personnel in appropriate pharmaceutical handling and transportation techniques. It should provide various delivery time options and different payment methods. Also, it should Implement an automated system for refill reminders to ensure the availability of crucial prescriptions.
- Personalized Reward System Based on Regional Medicine Demand: The platform can develop a personalized incentive scheme leveraging information on the most frequently purchased medicines in each area. Subsequently, it can xi implement a loyalty program with a points and rewards system to incentivize customers to purchase frequently used pharmaceuticals. Further, personalization can be achieved by offering incentives on the most purchased medicines in each geographical region.
- Enhancing User Interface for Distinct Brand Identity of Pandamart Pharmacy: Foodpanda must create a distinct brand identity for Pandamart Pharmacy to ensure its discoverability and improve the customer experience. It can be accomplished by segregating the pharmacy section from the rest of the Foodpanda application and providing it with a distinct and noticeable tab.
In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that Pandamart Pharmacy has significant potential to enhance its market position. Adopting evidence-based methods for user behaviour can enable the platform to expand its user base, optimize customer satisfaction, and enhance its competitive advantage.
The authors did not receive any funding for this research.
Shahid, U., Alvi, S. A., Munir, H., & Shafiq, M. (2023). Exploring Shopper Perceptions towards Online Pharmacy Purchase (Unpublished graduate research project). Institute of Business Administration, Pakistan. Retrieved from https://ir.iba.edu.pk/research-projects-mba/291
Available for download on Saturday, June 22, 2030