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Why Should You and Shouldn’t Use Shopify for Healthcare eCommerce?

Two shades of Shopify for healthcare

Shade 1 –

Ro, For Hers, For Hims, Musely, and Curology.

These are some of the most successful billion-dollar digital healthcare brands in the USA, mostly selling healthcare products.

Do you know what’s common in all of these brands?

First, of course, they all have the best rating in their segment.

And second, the most important one, they don’t use Shopify for meeting their healthcare eCommerce standards and needs.

Shade 2 –

Hubble, ThinX, Campus Protein, Dr. Axe, and YouFoodz.

These are some of the most thriving healthcare eCommerce brands, mostly selling wellness products.

And these all are using Shopify in their tech stack.

So, the question is, why some healthcare brands are considering Shopify while others are not? Do those other brands have better solutions (and vision) than what you have?

Shopify is an eCommerce ecosystem, not a healthcare eCommerce ecosystem! (We can explain)

The problem with Shopify is that it is huge and so does complex for people from medical backgrounds to understand.

Its complex nature leads people to interpret it in different ways. For instance, a few see Shopify as an eCommerce payment gateway, while others see it as a portal to engage and interact with customers or patients.

Both these groups are right at their place as non-tech-savvy people see technology through their own glasses which restrict their vision to their specific needs and short-term personal benefits only.

But when it comes to seeing Shopify as a healthcare eCommerce ecosystem, people see it in the form of an eCommerce store they last time purchased groceries or toys online from.

And here they are wrong. Very terribly wrong.

Shopify has never been built to address native healthcare eCommerce and integration requirements. Rather, it was built to address all non-healthcare eCommerce needs which include toys, groceries, skateboards etc.

Because buying groceries online and buying medicines or healthcare/wellness products online might be the same things from the perspective of buyers (users), but it is not the same from the perspective of policymakers, sellers, manufacturers and suppliers.

A lot needs to be taken into consideration which buyers never come to know about. With different types of healthcare eCommerce stores – rather – the types of products an online store is selling, both administrative and technical complexities of the eCommerce platform might increase or decrease.

And Shopify lacks the capabilities to adapt to these ever-changing healthcare complexities. That’s why we can’t call it the healthcare eCommerce ecosystem. It is still a non-healthcare eCommerce ecosystem.

Shopify for healthcare

Then why are healthcare brands still using Shopify in their tech stack?

Here, we don’t have to address healthcare as a whole. We need to go deeper and address its micro-segments because that’s where your answer lies.

Healthcare is a huge and multi-dimensional industry. At some point, it includes both pills that lower your blood pressure and a mattress that regulates the blood flow.

Both of these products fall under different healthcare categories. Regulations that apply to eCommerce stores selling pills will never apply to stores selling so-called wellness mattresses.

In fact, the user journey of a buyer buying pills online and mattresses online are very different. (One needs to share medical information, while another just needs to share the address!)

Not only this, but the administrative workflows of stores selling pills and mattresses are also very different.

Meaning, you should stop calling your store a healthcare eCommerce store. Instead, call it by the name of the healthcare product you are selling. After all, that’s the deciding factor.

Here is how:

Selling wellness mattresses from an online store is the same as selling any toy.

  • You don’t require the users’ ePHI.
  • You don’t need to meet HIPAA as you are not handling ePHI.
  • You don’t need to create a custom user onboarding experience, meeting clinical workflows.
  • You don’t need to integrate with other healthcare systems.

And thus, Shopify does wonders for you.

But when you are selling medication, prescription or healthcare products online:

  • You require users’ ePHI.
  • You need to meet HIPAA requirements.
  • You need to create custom forms and onboarding experiences for users.
  • You might also need to integrate PMS with your online store.

And here is where Shopify can’t help you in any way.

So, the answer to your question is, that several healthcare brands are using Shopify because they are selling products which in their opinion are healthcare products, but they are nothing more than toys, groceries, skateboards – and every other thing which Shopify has built for!

Shopify for healthcare

Why and Why not choose Shopify for your next healthcare eCommerce store?

Here presenting the pros and cons of Shopify for healthcare eCommerce in the simplest way.

shopify for healthcare

If not Shopify, then what?

The same question we have been asked by an entrepreneur who approached us to build an eCommerce store for skincare prescription products.

And what we suggested to him was a custom web solution. Why?

  • It is custom-made. Meaning, fully HIPAA compliant and specific to his needs only.
  • All custom patient intake forms are supported. No nonsense!
  • It can be integrated with any healthcare system. Seamless data exchange.
  • Full IP rights.
  • No monthly or yearly fees.
  • A true technology asset in the true sense!

If that’s what you are looking for, let’s have a brief talk where we will answer your tech, business and compliance questions.

We also have several other healthcare solutions which you can leverage with a pinch of customization to reduce both tech acquisition costs and time-to-market.

We? Well, we are an Ontario-based healthcare-focused IT company, only entertaining healthcare IT projects with a vision to make healthcare the most efficient industry ever!