Going to a pharmacy to pick up a prescription can be a major pain. You may deal with a massive line to talk with the pharmacist, insurance-related issues and often need to go out of your way just to pick up meds.

Pharmacies just don't feel like they're very customer-oriented, which is something an entrepreneur picked up on after many years of working in the industry. So he ventured off to create a full-service, digital pharmacy called  Medly that delivers prescription medications to you for free, on the same day, starting with a focus on customers based in New York City.

Here are some of the things the entrepreneur learned and challenges faced in the process of building the unique startup.

1. Listen to what your customers want and hit the biggest pain points.

"The most important strategy that we have used to build Medly was listening to our customers and implementing the biggest pain points they have regarding managing their medications and improving their health in the process," says CEO Marg Patel. "Having run pharmacies for many years, we've seen the shift in customers tastes and preferences and built a pharmacy that solves the major challenges that customers face and makes managing medications easier and more accessible then ever."

Patel and his co-founders who have over 30 years of experience operating independent pharmacies in New York City came up with the concept of Medly by hearing the struggles that customers were having with managing their prescriptions while the co-founders were running their own independent pharmacies. 

2. Make customers matter more than difficulty of challenges.

"The biggest challenge in building a business like Medly was marrying multiple facets of the business, from logistics, the pharmacy experience, and more," says Patel. "The way that we have overcome these challenges is by putting the customer first and allowing their needs to prioritize the formation of the overarching business model."

One thing Patel discovered is that customers wanted the ability to have a mobile application that allows them to customize almost everything about their experience, whether it be delivery times, refill dates and even packaging options. Customizing the experience to the interests of the customer is often more important than the underlying concept for the business itself. "By customizing the pharmacy experience, we are putting what once was a'one-size-fits-all' strategy to one that fits the uniqueness for each customer," says CMO Chirag Kulkarni. 

3. Focus less on the idea and more on the execution.

"For most entrepreneurs, ideas are a dime in a dozen, which is why execution matters most," says Patel. "Success and building market share for us truly comes down to being at the forefront of what our customers are telling us, and delighting them on a daily basis, at scale. As long as we are building an experience that solves their main pain points, we are moving in the right direction."

Communication is key, as I find to be the case with my own startup businesses. Patel says that his team is easy to get a hold of and can be contacted through the mobile app, email, phone call, website or even texting, which is definitely not common in a service-based industry.

Published on: Apr 26, 2018