Amazonian Lessons

August 12, 2019
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Amazon is opening up retail stores.  It’s a process dubbed “clicks-to-bricks”. High end retailers like Nordstrom are also closing big-ass stores and opening up small try-on shops (Nordstrom Local) with NO inventory instead.  Even big-box stores like Target are sizing down.

What’s happening?

Retailers have realized that American buying habits are changing. And they are adapting.  It’s actually fascinating to watch, if it weren’t for the fact that its also impacting dentistry!

The convenience of buying on the internet is only getting bigger. These smaller retail shops can fit in almost anywhere and cost a heck of a lot less than a megastore in a mall, where foot traffic has dramatically dropped.

Amazon is also realizing that ‘buying” and ‘shopping” are different animals.  They also know that not everyone shops and makes buying decisions the same way.  And for some, seeing on the internet just won’t cut it for either shopping or buying.

Amazon looked at the following statistics and saw an opportunity.

According to the StatShot Monthly report from the Association of American Publishers, “Ebook sales have slipped by 3.6% in 2018 and generated over $1 billion dollars. This is a far cry from 2015 when the format made over $2.84 billion dollars. Meanwhile hardback and paperback book sales grew by 6.2 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Revenue for trade book publishers was $7.49 billion in 2018, an increase of $341.5 million (4.6%) compared to 2017.”

People like touching and holding their books!

So, in Amazon’s relentless pursuit of market share, they’ve expanded the shopping options.  Only ONE road to purchase, they’ve realized is problematic.  It started with books and is now expanding to nearly everything.

Wait for the Amazon pop-up stores to appear near you before Christmas this season.

Other savvy retailers (both brick and mortar and online) have expanded their shopping options as well.  Only ONE road to purchase, they’ve realized, is problematic.

While this trend presents many lessons for Dental Practices, I’d like to focus on one here.  That’s on what it means about case presentation/acceptance.  Or, what normal businesspeople would call SALES.

When presenting treatment, ONE system, ONE case presentation modality won’t work for everyone.

Some people are auditory, some visual and others tactile.  When presenting treatment, all three of these buying avenues should be offered.  Talking, showing via images and allowing patients to touch models, appliances, etc. can help patients feel more connected.  Your close rate should increase.

And, if you could incorporate the 2 other senses; taste and smell, you’ll probably close all your cases.

Sensing your patient’s experience is important throughout the patient encounter.  Doing it during case presentation is just as, or perhaps even MORE important to your bottom-line.

I might not be a fan of what Amazon has done to the marketplace.  I do know this…I can’t fight it and neither can YOU.  So, lets learn from it and like them, ADAPT.

Michael

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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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