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How United Drug Improved Speed to Market as a B2B Distributor With Online Catalogs

A lot of B2B companies, especially in retail and wholesale, often experience difficulties getting to market with new products.

Often sales people are stuck with heavy printed product catalogs that neither they nor customers can easily navigate.

United Drug, the Irish Healthcare services group, was faced with similar challenges. They chose iPaper and experienced a significant increase in speed-to-market with interactive online catalogs.

Who are United Drug?

United Drug Supply Chain Services are the biggest pharmacy wholesaler in Ireland.

They distribute a wide range: from consumer products like moisturizers and beauty items to very specialized prescription medications.

Like most B2B distributors, United Drug have a large central warehouse where the objective is to move goods as efficiently as possible from storage to pharmacy. But to draw the orders in, United Drug's main objective is to make the sales process run as smoothly for customers as possible. 

There is a real mix of different order types day in and day out. Some orders are automated, some are from telefax, some from the phone and others via sales reps. The rest is sold online through a mix of our websites and our online catalogs," 

David Rees, United Drugs' eCommerce commercial manager told iPaper. 

 Increased speed to market With ONLINE CATALOGS

One of United Drug's brand extensions, “Profitlines” supplies both products and promotional material to pharmacies. Originally it was a purely traditional printed catalog business.

As United Drug saw the market going more digital on the other hand, they swiftly switched over to mobile friendly online catalogs.




biggest advantage for using iPaper as our digital publishing software provider is the speed to market. I think the best case study of what we are doing is with Profitlines. We couldn’t build a website in the same time that we took to launch online catalogs with iPaper, and as a consequence, we would have lost the opportunity. Our online orders are growing significantly - week on week. iPaper flipbooks are a great transition tool for moving our clients from print to digital,"  said Rees.

The transition from print catalogs to interactive online publications at United Drug shows that the principles of the sales catalog still can be part of an excellent business model.

Because our sales are so seasonal, even with a full eCommerce website, I would expect this user behavior to be maintained, and that we might always have flipbooks or other interactive online publications." 

The iPaper solution also helps United Drug show their customers that they are modernizing and investing in digital assets and communication.


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Of course, United Drug wanted more than just a better visual experience, they wanted to improve their overall buyer's journey, which meant making their catalogs shoppable through our shop integration feature. 

We know that iPaper is fully compatible with our future needs in this area. That is great. However, even now the shop integration saves us considerable time as an order from our online catalogs is processed twice as fast as a phone order,” said Rees. 

The people thing

However, a partnership between two companies like United Drug and iPaper is so much more than just the product and the service. It's also about people and how you work together to dress each other for success.

I’ve found that the iPaper team is extremely responsive. They deliver really good customer service. 

And the other thing is that it’s a reliable service. You can never stop any infrastructure from going down. However, I subscribe to the iPaper alert service and it is just awesome. I get better insights from my online publications and landing pages than I do from my website hosting company. And I get better response times as well. When iPaper schedules maintenance, they do it at off-peak business hours and think sensibly about it, and it is a comfort knowing that. We have a pretty rock solid solution at hand," said Rees. 


How To Get Started With B2B eCommerce Using Online Product Catalogs 


About the author

Lars Ørhøj

Lars Ørhøj

Lars was iPaper's Chief Marketing Officer until September 2016 and is now teaching others about the benefits of Inbound marketing at an agency. He worked with B2B marketing in the publishing world for many years besides being an avid a cappella singer in the world acclaimed choir Vocal Line.

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