Your Chemist Shop is an online destination for a range of discount products and pharmaceuticals across a variety of categories, including baby and mother, cosmetics, nutrition, prescription medication, vitamins and weight loss.
It was founded by brothers Billal and Feras Karem, starting with a store in Maroubra, New South Wales. The pair launched a small website in 2004, which has since grown into one of Australia’s leading online pharmacies. It boasts an impressive presence across multiple online channels, listing on Amazon US, Amazon UK, NewEgg, eBay AU and recently launching on Amazon AU.
The Karems knew that marketplaces would be a huge element of scaling the business, but they knew that the business needed help to launch on marketplaces and navigate the listing process. With this expansion, Your Chemist shop was also looking to focus on new customer acquisition aligned with its growth strategy.
“We’re a small family business becoming a significant player in the pharmacy landscape,” says Laura Doonin, GM of Digital at Your Chemist Shop. “We needed to partner with an expert to collaborate with on our marketplace strategy and help execute it. We’re not just one brand, we are a multi-branded retailer, so there are lots of licencing issues as well.”
Your Chemist Shop started using ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces in late 2012. The ChannelAdvisor team helped the company navigate the listing process, continuously improving the quality of Your Chemist Shop’s listings by automating and streamlining day-to-day tasks.
In 2017, however, the company briefly decided to turn off managed services, hoping to retain a greater degree of control and to save on costs. “Because we didn’t have that one-to-one support, our sales on marketplaces dropped significantly. A year ago we reverted back to managed services and since then we’ve been on a massive growth trajectory. We thought we could do it alone but we realised we needed a partner on this journey.”
When Your Chemist Shop unsubscribed to ChannelAdvisor Managed Marketplaces, its sales dropped by approximately 50 percent. “Eight months ago we went back on Managed Marketplaces and now we’re back to where we were and we’re set to keep growing these numbers, especially given the recent launch to Amazon in Australia,” says Doonin.
The company’s multichannel strategy has been paying off. “Top sellers in-store aren’t always the top sellers on marketplaces,” Doonin explains. “It’s really great to pick up on different trends. It also opens up a lot of different categories that we hadn’t previously dived into that deep. For example, on Amazon Australia, baby food is a big seller, whereas this isn’t something we’d focused on in store.”
Leveraging marketplaces efficiently also means that stock clearances are a massive opportunity for the business. “We now have the data and can make sure that if we have overflow we can use marketplaces to clear stock. This leads to growth across the board as we scale,” Doonin says.
Investing in a solution such as Managed Marketplaces can be a big investment for a company like Your Chemist Shop, but the results speak for themselves. “With our own website,we have to spend a lot more money across Google to get more customers. When I compare side by side, marketplaces can be more profitable for us. Obviously, it’s important to have a holistic approach because our website also helps drive people in-store. But even when we take into account what we pay ChannelAdvisor and other fees, makes business sense to focus on a multi-marketplace strategy.”
For businesses that start out with one store with a view to expansion and even a global presence, what’s Doonin’s advice? “Marketplaces are here to stay and I believe you need to have a strategy and a partner that is well versed and can help you. Use it to your advantage. With the evolution over the last five years, you need to be on marketplaces. Many e-commerce businesses have made mistakes as the space has changed, but now it’s time to have a plan specific to each channel and a partner to help you execute on it.”