Apopro revolutionises the ancient industry of pharmacy
Ever since the first physical pharmacy store was established in Iraq in the 700s, the pharmacy industry has been characterized by physical stores.
However, this historical status quo is about to be disrupted by the Danish pharmacist and entrepreneur Tine Vestergaard. As a graduate, she missed innovation in the industry and soon took matters into her own hands. Tine Vestergaard founded Apopro, one of Denmark’s first online pharmacies. Now, she is working hard to revolutionize an industry often caught up in the physical sale.
“There is so much knowledge in the pharmacies, but unfortunately it is a bit random how and when it is distributed over the counter. Online, we can systematise the knowledge much more and facilitate the purchase for customers who don’t have a pharmacy around the corner,” says Tine Vestergaard.
When Apopro was founded in 2017, Tine Vestergaard personally handled the first month’s 29 orders. But today, thousands of pharmacy goods are routinely sold and shipped from Apopro’s warehouse and the company has a turnover of over €14 million.
In addition to eradicating the queue for medicine, Apopro provides anonymous advice from professionally trained staff via a chat function. At the same time, Apopro tailors the medical information in a physical letter, which helps understand the most important things from the long, impersonal, and sometimes incomprehensible package leaflets that normally follows medicine packs. With Apopro, the customer can safely order and use the medicine at any time.
Yet, the idea of an online pharmacy is still in its infancy. According to Apopro, only 1-2 percent of pharmacy sales in Denmark take place online. In Sweden the share has already reached 10 percent. Therefore, much of Apopro’s marketing is centered around doing away with the ingrained habits of the age-old industry.
“Unlike normal webshops, we are under very strict rules when it comes to marketing. That is why we work a lot with informing our customers. Both on TV and other media,” says Tine Vestergaard.
The sheer numbers suggest that the information campaign works. When Apopro conducted a survey about the knowledge of online pharmacy in 2017, only 19 percent of Danes were aware of the option of buying medicine online. Today, the number is more than 50 percent.
“I think there is a huge untapped potential in online pharmacy, but we need to be able to safeguard our customers when shopping medicine online. We often guide customers through their first online purchase ever, and it means a lot to them that they can now order medicine themselves without having to ask their relatives to pick it up,” says Tine Vestergaard.
Today, Apopro aims to make more Danes aware that online medicine shopping is easier and just as safe as the physical pharmacy store. Clearhaus has joined Apopro on that journey, ensuring that Apopro’s customers can pay for their medicines safely and quickly.
“In the early days, we needed an acquiring deal that was easy to understand, and we made the choice to use Clearhaus. Since then we have grown a lot and Clearhaus has always been ready to negotiate a reduction in prices. We have never experienced any problems whatsoever and that is how it should be,” says Tine Vestergaard.