If Patients Can Buy it Online, Why Should They Buy it From You?
Are you selling skincare products that your patients can buy online or at retailers, such as Sephora? Are you losing business because of this? Here are 5 ideas to help you increase your skincare sales and influence patients to choose your practice over both the online and brick-and-mortar stores.
1. Offer Unique Products That Patients Cannot Buy Online Or At The Mall
This is highest on our list of advice. If your branded line of skincare products can’t be purchased elsewhere, is of excellent quality, and comes with support from staff, you’re more than halfway to offering patients something they want and need.
Don’t have a branded line? Get one. Go online and find a distributor who will brand your personal line of skincare. There are many of them. Find the best line that’s available. If you don’t have time to do the research, assign this task to someone in the office. Interview at least 3 companies before you choose the line you want. Be sure to ask the company about the level of support you can expect and the volume, if any, that they want in order to do business with you. If possible, visit the manufacturing plant to see firsthand that what they’re offering is what you (and your patients) are actually receiving.
2. Exceptional Customer Service Is A Key Differentiator
Offer a level of customer service that your patients simply won’t get at the mall or online. Insist that your skincare staff (aestheticians, etc) educate every single patient on the products they purchase, whether it’s your branded line or something they can pick up at Macy’s, CVS, or Sephora: what’s in them, what’s not in them, why it’s recommended for that patient over another similar product, who to contact if the patient is not satisfied with the product, and how quickly concerns can be addressed. Make it easy for patients to say yes by showing them the support they will receive if they buy from you.
Hair stylists have known this for years, by the way. A client will purchase from the stylist based on their recommendation because they know they will be seeing the stylist (someone they trust) again for their next appointment, as compared to the salesperson at the mall who might not be there for the customer later on if there’s a concern about their purchase.
3. Promote Your Products’ Unique Selling Propositions (USP)
Be sure patients know that it’s common knowledge that products offered online by Amazon are not necessarily the same as those offered in your practice, even with the same name. It’s easy to find Amazon reviews from customers that bought a name brand product online only to find it wasn’t the same as the product they previously purchased. Strange but true. Emphasize that your products are brought to you by manufacturer’s reps and are guaranteed to be genuine, not a knock-off.
4. Make Buying From You As Easy As Buying Online
Customers love the ease of buying online because they can do it anytime day or night and enjoy fast shipping and easy returns. Make it possible for your patients to do the same with an online shopping cart as part of your website. They can order product 24 hours a day with a credit or debit card and pick it up in the office the very next day (or have it shipped if you have staff who can get it done in a fast turnaround).
While not as convenient as an online store, you can easily arrange for patients to call the practice to order skincare products with a credit card. They can pick up product at their convenience during office hours. Just have a staff member package the product(s) in a pretty bag and leave with the receptionist to run the patient’s credit or debit card or keep card numbers on file to make it even easier.
5. Discounting Isn’t A Sin
One reason patients sometimes choose a retail outlet or online store for skincare purchases is the option to enjoy a discount, either based on volume (“buy 2, get one free,”) or a discount based on subscription (“receive an order every month/6 weeks, etc. for a discount”, etc.).
One would assume you’d rather have 80% of something than 100% of nothing, so consider doing the occasional special offer. This isn’t the same as discounting a cosmetic procedure, this is skincare.
The Bottom Line
Although patients love convenience, they also value the trust they have in you, a known quantity compared with a salesperson at Macy’s, Sephora, and other retailers, and especially those that are selling skincare products exclusively online. Take advantage of this trust by offering the best products at the best price coupled with excellent customer service. And remember, those who buy your skincare products are the same patients who may someday buy your facelift or body procedure. Even if your skincare sales are a “loss leader” to some degree, they are a marketing tool for your more profitable surgeries.