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Launched in 2022, Temu is a new e-commerce marketplace app created by Pinduoduo. Already expanding into 30+ countries, the app hit the US market in it’s launch year, and the UK in early 2023 – you’d be hard-pressed to have missed the marketing around it!

The Temu interface is incredibly user friendly, offers heavily discounted goods, and has integrated AI technology to provide product recommendations and reactive pricing. Competing against the likes of Amazon, it is unclear how successful Temu will be in the long run with some users criticizing product quality, long shipping times, and environmental concerns.

Clinical research has a lot it can learn from tech-savvy e-commerce, below are a few suggestions when drawing comparisons to Temu’s app and service model.

Leverage Technology & Data

Temu relies heavily on technology like AI-driven recommendations and logistics algorithms to operate efficiently. The platform further collects and analyses data to optimise its inventory and marketing strategy. Some biopharma organisations are already leveraging AI with some initial projects adopting the technology to assess study sites. Clinical researchers can also harness insights from data to shape trial design and personalise patient recruitment. Tech has been a big area of growth in the past decade as remote monitoring, electronic informed consent, telehealth solutions have become a reality.

Patient Experience

Temu offers consumers a seamless and easy shopping experience compared to traditional retailers. Clinical trials should similarly prioritize making the process of participating in research as easy and comfortable as possible. This could include incorporating DCT elements into trial design including telehealth visits and at-home sample collection or come down to re-designing/ redecorating study sites to make them more homely and comfortable.


Temu’s pricing strategy deliberately undercuts other all other retailers – with this being their main USP - claiming they can offer such low prices as it haggles with suppliers, removes middlemen, and takes advantages of tax loopholes. In comparison clinical research should be transparent to the patient; be upfront and clear about what participation entails and what the risks and benefits can be expected.


Part of Temu’s strategy is to partner with suppliers and social media influencers to drive growth. Trial sponsors could further awareness and participation through creative partnerships with health providers, advocacy groups, and community leaders. Similarly, from a supplier prospective, forming secure relationships – with CROs, functional service providers – will provide an extended, trusted, and capable team to progress your clinical trial on time and on budget.


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