Shopping for Test Strip Online - Observations
by Team Xeteor
In developing our concept, we did exhaustive research to understand the dynamics of the online test strip market. We thought it would be interesting to share some of our observations.
Difficulty finding specific test strips on major shopping websites
We don't mean test strips are unavailable on major shopping sites, but to the contrary, there are far too many listings. We searched for "onetouch ultra test strips" on major websites and found the below:
Google - 360 Results (18 pages x 20 results per page)
Anyone purchasing OneTouch Ultra Test Strips is aware there are only 3 Retail boxes (25, 50, 100 strips). If you count Mail Order, DME, Health Plan, Institutional or Medicare boxes, there may be up to 18 results.
So why are there hundreds if not thousands of results on major shopping sites? The answer is simple: money. Marketplaces require thousands of merchants with thousands of products who pay a fee on each transaction in order to generate sales. Some marketplaces charge up to 20% of the sale price for test strips.
Marketplaces have little incentive to limit the number of merchants or varieties of products on their websites. If they limited the number of merchants or products, the fees collected would be reduced.
Most buyers of test strips are not one time shoppers. They purchase test strips on a regular basis often for years. Having to navigate marketplaces is at best an adventure and at worst a major inconvenience.
Information regarding source & expiration dates is lacking
While online marketplaces offer a variety of products and merchants who through competition offer us lower prices, information is often lacking. For online test strip buyers, the main questions are:
1. Are the test strips being advertised, the actual product I will receive?
2. What is the expiration date of the test strips?
3. Can or will they be delivered reliably in a timely manner? (If you could read it, you would have even less confidence)
4. If there is a problem, can I return them?
Another question buyers should be asking, is where did these test strips come from?
Unscrupulous sellers buying leftover test strips for cash are rampant online.
Many strips are sourced from overseas.
This is not to be confused with test strips manufactured in other countries, which is common. For example, our OneTouch Ultra Test Strips purchased here in America are made in the UK and our FreeStyle Lite's are made in Ireland. Consumers should watch for boxes that say "Not For Sale in USA", like the one pictured above. This is the clearest red flag.
Little thought put into storage and delivery of test strips
Amazon's own Date & Temperature-Sensitive Products Page, says that products stored in their warehouse "must be able to withstand at least a minimum temperature of 50 degrees and at least a maximum temperature of 100 degrees for the duration of the product's shelf life without adversely affecting product quality. Carton markings must not include storage temperature requirements unless expressed explicitly as a range from 50 to 100 degrees."
Most test strip manufacturers recommend storage between 36F - 86F degrees. We're not saying all Amazon warehouses are hot, but Amazon's own policy tells us the temperature inside their warehouses may reach 100 degrees. Amazon and merchants using FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), store and ship their products in these non-temperature controlled warehouses potentially compromising test strips.
Amazon and FBA customers ship test strips in the same packaging they use for non-temperature sensitive items. This means even if test strips were stored at the proper temperature, they still may be exposed to high heat inside a delivery truck or on your doorstep. Cardboard boxes and poly mailers used by most merchants don't take temperature into account.
Based on our research, what did we change?
1. We decided to keep our website simple and not display a million varieties. We did this both to be mobile friendly and to speed up checkout. Let’s face it, buying test strips is not high on anyone’s list of favorite activities.
2. We decided to be transparent and show you the actual picture and expiration date of the product you are going to buy. This eliminates the confusion surrounding which box and expiration date you will receive.
3. We really focused on sourcing, storing and handling test strips with care. We only source our products from reliable American sources. We store them properly and ship them in FDA compliant insulated thermal mailers to ensure temperature control during delivery.
Finally, to make it easy for consumers, we decided to offer a 90-day return policy with no restocking fees and free return shipping. Most online vendors are offering a 30-day return policy and many charge restocking fees.