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Malaysia's Caring Pharmacy coaxed back to e-commerce: interview

AvantiKumar | Sept. 13, 2013
A new partnership with Japan's Rakuten has removed the bitter medicine of Caring Pharmacy's previous e-commerce experiences, says the Malaysia-based pharmacy.

Did you have to make many customisation and localisation changes - and what advice would you give to other companies considering a similar move?

It was not a case of being "not right" for our company, but more of customising the storefront to fit our branding. Rakuten's platform enabled us to tailor the storefront to best suit our needs, as well as to provide our customer with a streamlined user experience.

For other companies, the first and main thing is to choose the right partner for your e-commerce venture. For us, working with Rakuten Online Shopping was a great fit and this enabled us to plan and implement our online strategy efficiently.

Another consideration is to gauge your customer's needs, and see how you can meet that in the best way possible. You might even find that an e-commerce offering is not the right choice for your target market at this point.

If going online is the best move for your business, you need to ensure that your employees are ready to make a smooth transition between handling physical purchases to managing online transactions. Customer service is a key factor for any business, so staff members have to be well-equipped to deal with a host of different potential problems.

How have your customers and other stakeholders reacted to this change?

Since launching out storefront on Rakuten, we have received positive feedback from all our stakeholder groups. Our customers are responding well to the online store, as seen through the encouraging number of purchases made, even in the first few months. Our partners and employees are both equally supportive and excited as we continue to improve on our e-commerce offerings.  

Does this move with Rakuten signify a deeper digital strategy in the near future?

With the swift and extensive proliferation of digital services, the only way for our brand to stay competitive and relevant is to be on par with these online trends.

E-commerce is the future of retail, and partnering with Rakuten to launch our online store is part of our plans to advance our pharmaceutical offerings. As the first pharmaceutical retail chain to offer products online (in Malaysia), it is very important for us to stay ahead of the game and continue to innovate the industry, as well as provide our customers with the best possible buying experience.  

Moving forward, we hope to be able to offer our customers a wider selection of products online and cater to the needs of all Malaysians. Our aim is to enable all Malaysians across East and West Malaysia to have access to our pharmaceutical products, whether it is through our physical retail outlets or our online store. Who knows, maybe we can even extend our reach to customers outside of Malaysia.


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