How To Run A Medical Practice Online Store
With the advent of simple plugins and services like Shopify, WooCommerce, SquareSpace, and other online marketplace options, it’s easier than ever to open a store and start selling proprietary or prescription-grade products on your medical practice’s website. However, when you’re looking into opening your own digital storefront, there are rules to follow and legal hurdles to clear to make sure you’re expanding your services in the right way.
The first step as you build out your product offerings should be formulating a Terms of Service agreement that you and your customers will agree to prior to them purchasing from your store. This document essentially collects the buyer’s consent to the way you do business, including opting in to email confirmation and order updates, as well as any marketing efforts you may launch once collecting their personal information.
As a trusted medical professional, your online customers deserve the same consideration of privacy as your patients. This means that transactions, credit card information, personal identifiers, and any other information you collect for the operation of your store needs to be stored securely and use secure transfer protocols, such as through SSL-encrypted third-party applications like PayPal.
Online stores are convenient, but they also introduce room for error that can lead to unhappy or simply confused customers. You can build trust with return, cancellation, and exchange policies explicitly stated on your store’s website that patients tacitly agree to when signing your terms of service. This ensures they have confidence that you’ll stand behind your products—and their customer experience—and they won’t be left in the dark from first click to the product’s arrival.
There are some things that are illegal to sell online without the proper licensing or customer verification, including alcohol and prescription-strength medication. As a medical practitioner, you may see this as an obvious way to grow and offer proven formulas for your online customers, but you have to tread lightly. You’ll need to verify the legitimacy of the pharmacy your customers want to work with and may need to schedule an appointment to make the transaction legal.
Fortunately, with the proliferation of telemedicine services, many such appointments can be made virtually, expanding your reach to people who may even be out of state but who are interested in what you’re selling. All this to say, if any of your products require a prescription, they should not be freely available online to anyone with an account and a credit card. Look for a way to prevent non-verified users from accessing prescriptions you haven’t written for them.
Most online e-commerce providers utilize databases or CRMs to manage your store’s data and transactions, but ensure you keep everything you need to protect both your practice and your customers from legal action. Your record-keeping policies should be enumerated in your terms of service so you can say a customer agreed that transactions will be linked with certain personal information for future reference.
If you’re looking for experts to handle not just the behind-the-scenes and legal aspects of your new online medical marketplace, talk to the medical marketing experts at DLM. Our designers and developers have the knowledge and artistry to create great-looking and high-performing online stores that can expand your reach and keep former patients engaged. To learn more about how we can enhance your digital presence, don’t hesitate to contact our team online today.