Accelerating e-commerce innovation for family planning in Angola
In Angola, SHOPS Plus supported the social enterprise, Appy Saúde, to understand how the platform could better serve women of reproductive age. This was a part of a PRH core-funded effort to explore opportunities for e-commerce platforms to increase the scale of their impact and to support those platforms to increase family planning access. Since 2016, one of Appy Saúde’s key offerings has been a mobile application and a web platform that links consumers to pharmacies, allowing them to search pharmacies for product availability and the best price. The platform offers over 18,000 products, including a wide range of contraceptives. Through this service, non-prescription products can be delivered to the customer's door, while prescription products can be purchased and picked up at the pharmacy, due to regulatory constraints.
E-commerce can provide a critical link between information (demand) and supply for family planning and other products. Combined with digital marketing, e-commerce can transform family planning uptake and reach users in new ways. Pedro Beirão, co-founder and CEO of Appy Saúde explained, “For some time, we had hoped to deep dive into family planning opportunities-- this grant and technical assistance provided us with the resources and family planning expertise to help develop pathways to reach women in new, exciting ways.”
The SHOPS Plus support, which includes both a grant and technical assistance, began by conducting a journey map of two target users, Joana, a young adult living in Luanda (urban), and Maria, a married woman with 2 children, living in a peri-urban location. Joana is willing and able to pay for contraception and wants quick easy access to information and products. Maria wishes to space pregnancies but has myths and misconceptions about modern contraception.
Through journey mapping and solution iterations, SHOPS Plus and Appy Saúde settled on the creation of a women’s health gateway on the Appy Saúde platform that can serve as a trusted source of information for Joana and Maria, and a way to easily access products.
In addition to the development of the gateway, the partnership allowed for the development of targeted content, a digital campaign leveraging micro-influencers to reach women of reproductive age, and an increase in partner pharmacies focused on more peri-urban areas.
Preliminary results after two weeks of intervention were promising, with over 3,000 searches through the women’s health gateway. Emergency contraception and condoms were the most searched items (see Figure 1). Just over 50% of searches were made by women between 25-34 and there was an increase in clients from peri-urban areas. This activity demonstrated a considerable opportunity to leverage e-commerce platforms to increase the uptake of family planning by linking product supply with information and demand. According to Alysha Beyer, Abt Senior Technical Advisor, “The activity also demonstrated that seed grants coupled with demand-driven, time-bound technical assistance can support the growth and impact of digital health firms.”
Visit Appy Saúde's website to learn more.