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Create Demand, Boost Savings, Be Quick
The Internet and social networks have definitely changed the definition of ‘quick’, while returning to earlier patterns of doing business is not possible. A contemporary consumer demands comprehensive information at the fingertips, 24/7 customer support, and a product on the door in the shortest possible time. The COVID-19 pandemic has just stepped on it in terms of the process of digitalization, shifting the system in the fifth gear.

When it comes to medicine and pharmaceutical industry, medicines are the only thing that we cannot order online yet, for safety reasons. At the same time, medical consultations have become possible via computer screens, and the e-doctor has stepped into our lives. In Serbia, we have already been buying dietary supplements (probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and other similar products), as well as the body care products to a great extent via web-shops, aware of the serious growth of the market.

Then how come that, within just one decade, have we turned from a passive consumer into a consumer who knows what he wants and orders from the comfort of his armchair? It is exactly owing to the mentioned Internet and modern technologies that made it possible. Let’s not be misled to think that a consumer is significantly different from a consumer in USA or other parts of Europe when it comes to personal needs. The globally networked world has created a global consumer.

STADA, Hemofarm’s parent company, every year conducts an extensive international survey looking into the health habits of citizens in 15 European countries, with telemedicine (remote treatment), disease prevention and healthy lifestyle topics in the focus. The last year’s report has revealed to us that the average European citizen buys a healthier and high-quality food (impact of pandemic), one-fifth of the respondents ordered more dietary supplements online, and more than a half of respondents supports the treatment of less serious diseases via webcam. What does the croquis of a Serbian consumer look like? Our citizens are at the top of the list speaking about a higher investment in healthier diet, and at the level of the European average when it comes to the number of those who ordered more products online compared to the past. As much as 60 percent of the respondents from Serbia are ready to accept treatment of benign diseases via webcam.

In a nutshell, contemporary consumers do not differ much in terms of the needs they have, regardless of the geography. Clearly, there are differences in terms of technological advancement and the level of digitalization achieved between countries or in legislation that allows certain processes. HE and SHE are globally networked, search for information on the Internet, and require quality, easily accessible service, or product. In addition, numerous ‘do-it-yourself’ options have created consumers who fulfil their numerous needs on their own (of course, we do not recommend this in the field of medical treatment, where you should always seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist).

A contemporary consumer is a hybrid buyer who wants to easily ‘cruise’ between online shopping and a physical store. How then do we respond to his/her needs? By continuously listening to what HE and SHE have to tell us, for which purpose surveys are used (feedback surveys in particular) that are nowadays more easily conducted and less expensive. We respond by introducing new, top-quality products and decreasing their price, if possible. We respond, as well, by providing an easier access through e-commerce and m-commerce platforms and a continuing effort to reduce the shipping costs to minimum. Of course, good customer support and providing a personalized experience go without saying, because today more than ever before a general truth is that we don’t all want the same thing. Advertising, and particularly promotion on social networks, make an important part of this package.

A seller is required to create demand, enable savings, be different, quick, and accessible, responsible, and sustainable. Not an easy race to run.

Author’s article for Profit magazine: Katarina Arambašić-Pivić, Hemofarm PR Manager