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Shop Apotheke to launch German pharmacy marketplace

By Chris Dawson April 4, 2019 - 12:34 pm

Shop Apotheke is the best known online pharmacy business in Europe with penetration in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Austria. Perhaps uniquely in a Continental European total addressable market of €180bn there is no comparable offline brand for pharmacy, unlike apparel where Zalando rules online with H&M offline or electronics with Amazon online and MediaMart offline.

Pharmacy is an interesting category as it generally involves high value baskets with a predicable and regular repeat order frequency. Items are low weight and returns rates are practically non-existent. More importantly customers are often customers for life with, unusually for online shopping, a preponderance of older customers with 37% of Shop Apotheke’s customers being aged 46-65 and even more, 42% aged 66-80 years old. Naturally the older you are the more likely you are for your health to dictate that you need repeat prescriptions on an ongoing basis.

Now in their latest full year 2018 financial presentation Shop Apotheke have announced plans to launch a marketplace in Germany. They said that longer term plans will include other countries in the future (slide 29 of their PDF).

There is no indication as to the shape and scope of the Shop Apotheke marketplace yet other than a single line in their Investor slide presentation. It does present an interesting opportunity for merchants who supply related medical and mobility products which could be sold alongside Shop Apotheke’s pharmacy offerings.

Amazon have already launched their Basic Care range over the counter medications and also acquired PillPack giving them a medication delivery network. eBay are focusing in on the sector with the the recent launch in the UK of their medical and mobility product Independent Living hub. There is a definite desire for general marketplaces to penetrate the medical sector but an existing incumbent such as Shop Apotheke who already dominate the online pharmacy business in Europe could be an additional platform for merchants to target consumers directly needing and using their products.

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