Jan 13, 2021|

How JD Medicine Procurement Helps SME Drug Stores Leapfrog


by Vivian Yang

“How difficult it can be for a start-up entrepreneur to run a drug store?”  This is the title of an article published by China’s South Reviews magazine on January 12.

The magazine, which is one of the most circulated publications in China, featured three drug store owners at different stages of their business development highlighting the changes that JD Health’s internet-based B2B pharmaceutical trading and service platform, known as JD Medicine Procurement, has brought to their business.

Tingting Dai, 24, started her own drug store in her hometown of Foshan, Guangdong province. Given the small size of her business that is not part of any chain, she has to seek medicine suppliers by herself via phone calls and website requests. In addition to liaising with more than 40 scattered suppliers, she also needs to spend a great amount of time and energy to do the documentation work including keying in all the suppliers and products’ information for system registration and quality verification.

Despite her relentless work, her small business was not treated as a priority for premier procurement services, leading to delays in product shipment. “Unlike with some other products, customers cannot wait when shopping for medicine,” said Dai, noting that the procurement cycle for some medicines could be longer than her customers’ patience. Unfortunately, many suppliers were reluctant to take her orders because of the small volume.

Dai came across JD Medicine Procurement in 2019 and decided to give it a try. Since the platform has gathered quite comprehensive information about the suppliers, prices, certifications and more, the one-stop online procurement service has greatly freed her up from endless calls and paper work, so she can focus on business management. At the same time, Dai is delighted to find that prices on the platform remain low even for small volume buyers and the orders can be received in a timely fashion thanks to JD’s efficient logistics service. “I’m really touched by the consideration such a big platform can provide to our small businesses,” Dai expressed.

By creating an effective channel to connect upstream pharmaceutical suppliers and retail drug stores, and facilitating the products’ circulation based on strong technological, logistical and financial service capacities, JD Medicine Procurement has become a game changer for many small and medium-sized pharmacy retailers these days.

Lan Liu has been running her drug store in Zhanjiang city of Guangzhou province for over 10 years. Her long-term supplier recommended that she use the platform. Liu found that the platform not only helps her maintain partnerships with existing suppliers online, but also lets her get in touch with many other suppliers. Liu said that “the platform provides me more supply channels and product varieties, which makes the business easier to handle.”

“I can order products from local suppliers which can be received on the same day,” Liu noted. “If I’m not in a hurry, I might order products from suppliers in other places that can be received within 2 to 3 days, which gives me even more price choices.”

In the same city of Dai, Jiachu Liang is managing two drug stores, with 120 square meters each and over 10 years’ experience. Liang said the platform has helped him “gain face” in front of his customers. In the past, he could not do much if a medicine needed by his customer was not in stock, but now, he can quickly check on the platform and immediately tell his customer an exact date when the products will be available. This has helped his store attract more customers.

Liang is now seeking further business expansion opportunities with JD as the next step. He is actively thinking of upgrading the store business with the integration of JD’s online-to-offline fast drug delivery services, as well as the digitalized pharmacy management system. “I really want to build my own drug chain store,” said Liang. “Collaboration with a big platform will be a plus for my future chain store’s branding.”