forbes (source) :
The Next Big Thing In The Life Sciences R&D Market: E-Commerce
Head of e-commerce at Enamine Ltd, a leading supplier of innovative chemicals for the life sciences industry.
Pioneered by expensive and cumbersome legacy electronic data interchange (EDI) systems, the B2B e-commerce market has been evolving, showing a staggering growth rate with a projected volume of $1.1 trillion in the U.S. alone and $6.7 trillion globally by 2020.
Although the life sciences research industry has been lagging behind in adopting e-commerce tools in the past, it is now showing a growing appetite for new e-business models. According to a PwC report, 70-80% of sales and marketing in the life sciences research industry will be done through e-commerce by 2020. While the numbers might look too brave for now, the e-commerce arena is certainly “clicking” with biopharma R&D procurement leaders and investors. Take, for example, a recent launch of the AstraZeneca’s Innovation Marketplace (AIM), a $17 billion acquisition of leading e-commerce platform Sigma-Aldrich by Merck and several multimillion investment rounds raised by e-commerce marketplaces Quartzy, Scientist.com, and Science Exchange.
Biopharma companies are looking to optimize their R&D procurement strategies and are outsourcing more of their research activities to external partners due to pressing profit declines and the increasing complexity of the technological landscape. On the other hand, the life sciences tool vendors and contract research organizations (CROs) are increasingly adopting e-commerce platforms to streamline their product and service offerings in an omnichannel manner.
Let’s review some of the key e-commerce trends in the life sciences R&D market and how early adopters can benefit from embracing new e-business models.
A Shift Toward Self-Service Buying Behavior
Having grown used to everyday quality experiences with popular e-commerce brands like Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Dell and eBay, life sciences research buyers are expecting a similar consumer-like buying experience in their business-to-business (B2B) environment at work — even for complex and expensive scientific products. They prefer having actual prices, specifications, availability, ratings and product reviews available 24/7 to make highly informed choices and buying decisions on their own. Furthermore, they want to be able to quote and order products online via desktop or mobile devices.
In a response to the evolving customer behavior, life sciences research vendors are rapidly shifting toward creating and expanding e-commerce platforms to grow online sales. For example, Crown Bioscience, Eurofins Pharma and B2S Life sciences have recently launched new e-commerce websites. Qiagen increased the fraction of online sales from less than 10% to over 20% after having launched a new e-commerce initiative in 2015. At Enamine, we observed a similar scenario, having doubled the volume of online sales over a two-year period by expanding our pre-existing e-commerce portal.