Sales for online retailers more than doubled in the month of April 2020. Billions of dollars are being spent now each month on groceries and pick up orders that have in the past been purchased in-store only. Many brick and mortar businesses (including dental practices) are fearful that this will impact the future of dental practice as shoppers move more to online purchases. Right now you can get teeth whitening, teeth straightening, toothbrushes, even tooth filling material online, without having to go to the dentist. Just like 1-800-Contacts did to eye doctors years ago, Smile Direct Club has bypassed dental and orthodontic practices and gone directly to consumers.
How will this affect your dental practice going forward?
Well it depends…
Are you preparing and adapting to the new norm?
Or are you going to stay in the “good ol’ boys club“ and sit wishing things would come back to the way they were?
The truth is, even with this big boom in online purchases, still nearly 97% of purchases are made in store for groceries. As a whole, retail purchases are still made up by about 90% of in-store purchases as of last Christmas season. Of the 10% that are purchased online, Amazon clearly has the lion’s share of sales.
Are you ready for Amazon to come for your practice?
Or will you do things differently to adapt and prepare yourself?
There is nano technology and robots right now that could possibly replace dental hygienists, and even restorative dentists in the near future. China has built a robot that can prep teeth. You could put your hygiene team in fear of their jobs being outdated and replaced, or you could adapt and see more patients, and more effectively by having your hygiene team manage a team of robots. REAL PEOPLE are still a necessity. There are just some human elements you can’t replace with artificial intelligence.
Investors Business Daily reported that many consumers would still prefer to purchase groceries IN STORE, rather than online, due to less than stellar service from home delivery and less choices available to buy online. “People aren’t doing this of their own volition because it’s such a great experience…they’re doing it because they’re scared.” “At the start of the year, eMarketer projected online grocery sales in 2020 would grow 23% to $32 billion – just over 3% of industry sales.” The findings continued with this revealing truth. “It may sound like a gold rush, but the reality couldn’t be more different. Amazon announced its best quarterly sales growth (this year) since fall of 2018….Yet earnings fell short of estimates and Amazon warned of worse to come.” (IBD Weekly, May 18, 2020)
Will teledentistry and telemedicine take over healthcare as we know it? Although there is a huge upside in an untapped market for these services, I don’t see it taking over anytime soon. There are still way too many things that require real face-to-face contact, whether providers are covered with N95 masks and all kinds of additional PPE, or not.
Adapt and change, but do not live in fear of the turmoil going on around you. The world is a noisy place, and many people get stuck on a hampster wheel by losing focus on their plan. Refine yours today. This is where your RMAP – relationship marketing action plan, comes into place to navigate you through the turbulent waters we are currently living in.
Have a fanatic week!
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