In a recent Inc Magazine article, they listed the top 5 Small Business Trends to Leverage in 2020. As practice owners, it’s important to think of your business as a small business that needs to respond to current consumer forces like any small business.
Number 3 on their list of top trends to leverage in 2020 is the importance of traditional businesses learning to leverage e-commerce. Consumers now think of Amazon and other online retailers before they consider driving to the mall or the local store. They want the convenience and affordability provided by shopping online.
"Traditional Businesses learning to leverage e-commerce"
– INC Magazine
But, consumers surely wouldn’t trade in the services of their trusted, trained orthodontist for an online option. Would they? The answer to that can be easily found in the proliferation of online, DIY options for clear aligner treatment. The successes of these companies shows that consumers are looking for convenience and affordability in businesses that historically have been regarded as being delivered only in the office.
The fundamental questions regarding the success of the DIY Orthodontic treatment are:
- Does the consumer still value the expertise and advice of their local orthodontist?
- Does the consumer want ONLY DIY treatment?
- Is there a hybrid solution that represents the best of both worlds?
I believe that the orthodontic consumer is confused. The marketing messages from DIY orthodontic companies is exactly in line with the shopping habits of the average consumer. Those habits include the ability to go online to shop whenever the impulse strikes. The habits also include looking to online influencers to tell them what to buy and why they should buy it. The DIY orthodontic companies are perfectly positioning themselves to allow impulse purchases and they feature influencers showing how easy and affordable they can make orthodontic treatment.
The confusion also comes in terms of the consumer’s belief that the orthodontist is one of the most trusted health care providers so how can they receive this valued healthcare service online without the advice and treatment of the orthodontist? There is also confusion from the messaging from the orthodontic office – whether intentional or not – that message is that treatment takes a long time (1-2 years), takes a lot of visits to the office, and is expensive. These are the complete opposite of the messages from the online DIY orthodontic companies.
In listening to my patients during their consultation and asking them questions about what parts of the DIY orthodontic services is attractive to them I believe the consumers still hold our services as the best way to receive orthodontic care. They still trust us and want our advice and treatment. But they also want us to know that they want options in terms of treatment. They want options in terms of services. And, they only want to see us for the most critical appointments. If there is an online option they want to know about it and they will use it if it makes sense to them.
So, a hybrid option is actually what our patients want. They want our services in the office for the important parts of treatment but for the less critical aspects, they want to access your office’s services online. What current services do you offer online?
Retainer Club Partner offices can provide online services for their patients in terms of ordering and reordering their clear retainers. If a patient loses a retainer when they are gone for the summer, away at college, or when they finally sit down to the computer at 9pm – Retainer Club Partner offices can easily and conveniently service their patients.