First Medical's Lessons in eCommerce
(2012 January 09) -- “It was time,” is how P.J. Horton of First Medical, Inc. describes his decision to get into eCommerce.

First Medical is a family owned distributor of medical and surgical supplies, pharmaceuticals and equipment located in Urbandale, IA, a city neighboring Des Moines. They specialize in controlled substances in serving Iowa and surrounding states. First Medical was founded in 1985 by P.J’s father, Jim Horton, a pharmacist who had opened his pharmacy in 1978.

First Medical initially looked for someone to develop their eCommerce site from scratch. They found that it was too costly and took too much time to get up and running. Their original plan also included hosting the eCommerce site themselves but found out this also involved too much time and cost to maintain it.

P.J. turned to I.M.C.O. (Independent Medical Co-op) and Computer Pundits Corp. (CPC) for a solution. I.M.C.O. had the product content the customers require and CPC offered the quickest route to a professional site at the right cost. CPC’s database-driven approach to eCommerce enabled First Medical to incorporate their unique product mix and the complete product information that was necessary for their customers. First Medical is now in the testing phase of learning and changing with a handful of customers in order to learn as much as they can before releasing to all of their customers.

What have they learned? Products and information change. It is important to be in control to easily update the product mix and product information over time. In addition to the I.M.C.O. products, First Medical added products from their inventory/accounting system. They came to the realization that these brief accounting descriptions were not enough for their customers. Detailed descriptions and good pictures are what are important to the customers who are often researching products. The more the customer can find out themselves, the less First Medical needs to be involved.

First Medical will initially release the eCommerce solution to existing customers only. These customers will use their sign on and password to get into the eCommerce solution which will present them with their unique pricing. The second phase of the release will open the catalog access to other medical businesses and clinics that will self register. Due to contract pricing with manufacturers, first-time users of the e-catalog will not see pricing during their initial visit.

Would you recommend this solution to others? “Yes, I’m extremely happy!” states P.J. “CPC has been very helpful and any problems are taken away quickly.”

CPC develops and markets Catalog Builder® and eCommerce21® software, Catalog-Ready Content, and a suite of services to businesses around the world that want to present and manage their product information in more efficient and innovative ways. For more information call 1-888-786-3487.