There are two ways by which consumers purchase the dental products they need. The first is through traditional channels such as going to bricks and mortar shops while the other and the most recent one is through online stores. Although the latter offer a number of distinct advantages over traditional retail shops, there remain certain advantages for consumers when shopping for dental products at traditional stores. Let’s take a closer look at each one in the succeeding sections.
Selling Dental Products through Conventional Channels
This mode of selling dental products include the use of a physical store as aforementioned along with other traditional marketing schemes such as sending out flyers, posting ads in public places, hiring sales men/ladies, giving out catalogs, making cold phone calls, among others. These may seem pretty much outdated but they still deliver results.
In spite of what you’ve read or heard ad infinitum about traditional dental retailers, they actually have a head start over their online rivals. They in fact possess retail assets that online dental stores need to build on from scratch. First they have stock and storage which are basics aspects of retailing. Online retailers need to establish relationships with suppliers and find, create or rent storage space. Next, traditional dental retailers have earned credibility and have established a customer base which onliners need to work hard to achieve.
Other advantage of traditional dental retailers is that customers can walk right through the shop, search for and try the products they need. This is possibly the one thing that online store owners cannot compete with regardless of how well their websites have been designed and set up. Another point to consider is that consumers shopping online must wait to receive the products they bought. Traditional dental retailers have a clear advantage in this aspect as well. Clients are able to inspect the items, decide if the goods are exactly what they want and purchase them instantly.
In light of all these, there is no denying that dental shops are not that many and their number even dwindled over the years. The common practice these days is to simply browse through product catalogs then call the supplier to place an order. We have to recognize that such traditional channels of selling dental products are still viable and they are likely to stay. However, we can’t simply dismiss the fact that people are increasingly turning to the Internet for their daily transactions.
Selling Dental Products through an E-commerce Website
Having outlined the advantages of conventional brick and mortar shops, let us now consider why online stores are currently on the rise.
There is no denying the fact that the Internet has touched and revolutionized the way we go about our daily lives. Several years back, the thought of being able to shop using your computer even in your pyjamas and right at the comfort of your home would have sounded like an outlandish idea. But thanks to the rapid advancements of the 21st century, virtually everything is possible these days.
The dental industry is not to be left behind as dentists, dental laboratories and dental suppliers have leveraged the power of the Internet to market their products and services. Many have set up e-commerce sites since these provide new means for dental retailers and consumers to connect and conduct business. These sites are way cheaper to set up than physical stores; they are available and able to operate 24/7 which means they can work for you even as you sleep! You don’t have to maintain a physical store and hire receptionists just to welcome customers or answer the phone. Online stores have taken sales and marketing to a whole new level…they never close for the night, even on weekends, so everyone can shop during their free time and whenever they feel the need to.
Online stores have access to the global marketplace. The Internet covers practically the whole world, and it is now possible to make sales to any person so long as he/she is connected to the Internet. Even small dental retailers can sell their products globally using e-commerce. This somehow levels the playing field and allows startups to expand and grow. Another thing working for online stores is speed as electronic communications allow users to send and receive messages across the globe almost instantaneously, thereby facilitating and speeding up transactions.
With the fast-pace lifestyle and hectic schedules that most people lead nowadays, anything that saves precious time is a boon. This is precisely what online stores provide to consumers. When you shop for dental products online, you’ll only spend a minute to connect to the Internet, another minute to access the website of your preferred store, and perhaps ten to fifteen minutes to choose the products you wish to purchase, and an extra five minutes to fill in the payment details and get a copy of your receipt. That’s it! It will only take you about half an hour to obtain the items you need.
Some will argue that calling and ordering on the phone is faster, assuming that you know what you want. But online orders are actually faster if you have already ordered before and if you are scouring through a wide range of products. This is in contrast to printed product catalogs which can be a pain, especially when you need to search through hundreds of pages just to find a product or two. Moreover, online shopping allows you to avoid traffic, parking problems, long queues, as well as the disappointment of driving all the way to the shop only to discover that the item you need is out of stock.
Another huge advantage of e-commerce sites over traditional dental retailers is that they can offer products at much lower prices. Traditional retailers typically incur more expenses in order to cover the cost of their utilities, rent and staff. E-commerce sites conduct transactions electronically, often with the help of less workers. Moreover, most online dental stores make use of drop shipping services to further lower expenses. This way, the store owner no longer needs to purchase any inventory. Instead, every time an order is placed by customers, the products are shipped directly by the distributor. All these factors enable online store owners to offer lower prices than conventional dental retailers.
Traditional channels of selling dental products still have distinct advantages working for them but it is quite evident that online stores and e-commerce sites are increasingly gaining popularity and becoming the preferred option among consumers. Additionally, in spite of the advantages offered by traditional stores, they can’t compete with the functionality of online search engines, the cheaper online prices and the availability afforded by ecommerce. In the near future, it is quite likely that practically everything that can be purchased at retail stores can also be bought online with ease and comfort on top of being competitively priced.