We at help are deeply envious of brands like Warby Parker and Bonobos, brands that are able to live entirely online in a world of their own creation, and do not have to trouble themselves with an increasingly old-fashioned brick and mortar retail space. These players with physical outposts are struggling with a radically changing retail environment and therefore are much more concerned with the steady success of established brands which disadvantages many up and coming businesses.
While e-commerce will continue to revolutionize diverse retail categories from electronics to groceries in 2013, unfortunately I cannot see the same thing coming to healthcare. Healthcare continues to lag as a fractional percentage of the category’s sales come from online vs. brick and mortar and will probably fall further behind this consumer shift in 2013.
Part of this slow pace of change is driven by the undeniable fact that Healthcare products are about urgent needs. Nobody plans on having a headache, and when they have one, they would rather not wait 3 to 6 days for delivery.
But I think the tone of healthcare is the more fundamental problem. Healthcare is generally a category for older consumers supplied by pharmacists and doctors. The tone and and character that brands and companies find themselves trapped in is cautious, slow, lawyerly and generally not responsive to the trends that are changing the way people behave elsewhere.
Read more 2013 Predictions here.