Drugstore.com may be the biggest player in online sales of health products, but leading health information site HealthCentral.com has decided to partner with two of Drugstore.com’s competitors. Today, HealthCentral.com introduced its new e-commerce initiative by signing deals with online pharmacy PlanetRx and health and wellness superstore SelfCare.
HealthCentral.com will integrate its new partners’ products into its information pages. HealthCentral.com says the new offerings will be available in the next few months.
“For example, when users research arthritis they will now have immediate access to the products that treat or help their condition,” said Frank Babbitt, senior director of business development at HealthCentral.com.
Advertisements Will Be Clearly Marked
Babbitt adds that HealthCentral.com is not sacrificing its credibility as an information provider, which is an issue many content sites have battled with after adding an e-commerce presence.
“All product links and advertisements will be obviously marked and recommendations for specific brands will not be promoted,” Babbitt said.
However, HealthCentral.com will create a seasonal promotions section, with topical information and links to products on seasonal conditions like allergies.
HealthCentral.com’s Cross-Media Advantage
HealthCentral.com’s online presence is bolstered by its partnership with the well-known television and radio presence of Dr. Dean Edell, who helps listeners and viewers solve their health problems. Users of HealthCentral.com can ask Edell questions, join online discussions about Edell, view information about recent topics discussed on Edell’s programs and listen to a streaming audio broadcast of Edell’s radio show.
In addition, HealthCentral.com features breaking health news, commentary, forums and discussion areas. The Web site also offers interactive features that allow users to enter personal information in order to receive evaluations about diet and nutrition, stress management, substance abuse and sexual health, among other topics.
PlanetRx was founded in 1997. It is viewed as a major competitor to Drugstore.com because of its product selection and deep-pocketed investors. The company received its initial venture capital funding from leading firm Benchmark Capital, as well as Sequoia Capital. Additional investors include E*Trade and Hambrecht & Quist.
PlanetRx’s catalog of items is very similar to Drugstore.com in that it offers prescription and nonprescription drugs, medical supplies, vitamins, beauty products and personal-care products.
SelfCare has sold health and well-being products for more than 20 years. The company will relaunch its Web site in July, adding more products, editorial content and personalized features. SelfCare’s Web site currently sells a variety of personal-care items and also features sleepwear, footwear and dental products.