Irish healthcare services group, United Drug Supply Chain Services, is a wholesaler who distributes products sold to consumers in the Irish pharmacies. Being part of the largest pharmaceutical distribution company in the world, United Drug prides themselves on their proactive approach in every aspect of their business. They know that if you want to move your business ahead, then there's always room for improvement. Hence, they're constantly thinking ahead and suggesting new ways to add value and improve performance.
By using digital iPapers, the Irish Healthcare services group experienced a significant increase in speed to market with interactive online catalogs.
Let's have a look at how they improved speed to market.
The United Drug Chemical Co. was established in 1948, in the small Irish town of Ballina, by a group of pharmacists determined to find a more reliable supply of medicines.
Just two years later in 1950, the first big victory came. The pharmacists convinced Parke-Davis (later known as Pfizer) to bypass uncooperative Dublin wholesalers and supply them directly from London. The agreement allowed for further expansion along the west coast of Ireland.
The company expanded and innovated further during the next three decades. In 1976 it became the first company in Ireland to run all systems by computer. In 1986 United Drug offered the first overnight service to pharmacists.
Today United Drug wants to keep improving and to expand into niche areas of specialist distribution. They are the biggest wholesaler to pharmacies in Ireland.
United Drug has a variety of divisions and brand extensions to cover the market. The divisions are divided in Drug Distributors, Healthcare Insights, Wholesale and United Drug Consumer.
One of the brands is “Profitlines” supplying products as well as promotional material to the pharmacies.
Originally Profitlines was based in a traditional printed catalog business.
However, today United Drug is using iPaper to create online catalogs and flipbooks to gain more digital traction.
In their August 2017 number, they even indicate on the front page how easy it is to shop from all devices online.
David Rees, eCommerce Commercial Manager at United Drug states:
The 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."
United Drug distributes a line of different products: from consumer products like beauty items and vitamins, all the way through to very specialized prescription medications. Their main business is to supply and distribute over-the-counter medicines and other items found in a pharmacy.
As a conventional B2B distributor, United Drug has a big warehouse and the main objective is to move the goods as efficiently as possible from storage to the pharmacies. This also includes establishing an efficient sales process.
They utilize a number of different marketing and sales channels to support this process - some “old school” analog channels and some new digital channels:
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 the sales reps. The rest is sold online through a mix of our websites and our online catalogs."
states David Rees.
The main usage of the flipping books at United Drug is the catalogs where you can order products via the shop integration. The implementation of the shop integration with the online catalogs has eased the sales process considerably.
Now customers can order via the flipbooks anytime they like and from any device they like.
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 flipping books is processed twice as fast as a phone order.
The transition from print catalogs to interactive digital flipbooks at United Drug shows that the principles of the sales catalog still can be part of an excellent business model.As David Rees says:
Because our sales are so seasonal, even with a full eCommerce website, I would expect that this user behavior to be maintained and that we might always have flipbooks or other interactive online publications.
The iPaper solution is in line with United Drug's ambition to think ahead. And to show their customers that they are modernizing and investing in digital assets and communication.
Not only does United Drug use the possibilities of the engaging digital catalogs with videos and eCommerce to increase speed to market and sales. They are going even further and are using the platform to create intriguing landing pages.
Instead of making typical landing pages via their website system, they design all their landing pages via iPaper. This is taking their marketing in a whole new direction.
We have found that these ”hybrid“ iPaper based landing pages work very well for us. The landing pages are well-designed two-page spreads that illustrate our product offers very effectively, and help us implement a landing page strategy, without having a larger eCommerce website.”
United Drug has also used the iPaper flipbook landing page option for company announcements when they need to communicate in not only an efficient manner but also in a pleasing design that fits the target audience.
As David Rees says:
iPaper has for us become a kind of hybrid communications platform, landing pages platform, mini catalog platform and major catalog platform. It is a jack of all trades.”
David Rees explains..
However, a partnership between two companies like United Drug and iPaper is so much more than just the product and the service. Fortunately, it is also about the people.
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.
stated David Rees.
We at iPaper value our long-term relationships with our customers and love helping you grow your business with engaging online flipbooks.
Not only does the iPapers help to increase speed to market and increase orders. It also gives valuable insights and statistics which you can use to improve your next publications.
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 sensible about it, and it is a comfort knowing that. We have a pretty rock solid solution at hand.
ends David Rees.