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To be open 24/7, or not to be? That is the question.

Article-To be open 24/7, or not to be? That is the question.

medical aesthetics, best business practices, practice management

With the over-saturation of cosmetic-based practices within all markets, practice owners are continually looking for new ways to maintain their patient base and keep them engaged. Just the simple goal of creating repeat facial injectable patients, or ongoing sales of prescribed skincare products, can sometimes be a daunting task. To help offset these challenges, an online store could be a great option to generate revenue and maintain patient interest.

As a direct result of the Amazon online shopping boom, more consumers than ever are shopping online. In fact, according to a Statista report, in 2017, ecommerce was responsible for around $2.3 trillion in sales and is expected to hit $4.5 trillion by 2021. Furthermore, in the U.S. alone, ecommerce represents almost 10% of retail sales with this number expected to grow by nearly 15% each year.

Benefits of an online store

By actively engaging patients in your online store they can take advantage of perks such as reward points, online only specials, referring friends to earn points and even having their favorite products shipped to their home. Ultimately your online store should entice patients to engage more with your practice.

At the practice level, benefits include having an online store even if you don’t have a website, retailing memberships, encouragement of bundled or package shopping, generating revenue 24/7, expanded geographical reach and drawing attention to other services offered.

Online stores can boost SEO, capture critical demographic data, and provide a platform for showcasing new treatments or products.

Building your online store

There’s a few ways in which you can build your online store depending on how web-savvy you are and how much time you can contribute to it.

The first way is for your current developer to build your store with a cloud-based software such as Zen-Cart. This is a free, open-source, PHP/MySQL-based ecommerce shopping cart platform.

Most web developers do not have experience building ecommerce websites, so your practice will be responsible for providing all of the content, including photos, product and treatment descriptions and pricing structures.

You will also need a secure service to process credit cards and financing. This type of ecommerce site will be a tremendous amount of work on your part to design and maintain.

A second method is to purchase a do-it-yourself cart, such as Shopify or GoDaddy. These companies provide a secure service to process payments and have many automated functions and templates you can populate with your own material. Like the previous example, there is a big time commitment on your part to get the store set up and keep it running.

A turnkey solution is another option where your online store is outsourced to another company. These companies build the entire store for you from populating the store with your products and services specific to aesthetic medicine to providing on-boarding and training, connecting your store to purchasing reward applications such as Allergan’s “Brilliant Distinctions Program”, and even sending emails to your patients. Your staff updates the company with any changes to menu items or pricing, and finalizes the sales in your point of sale system.

In summary, in contemplating the decision to have an online store or not is dependent on multiple factors:

  • How much time you have to devote to it;
  • how much computer knowledge you have with software applications;
  • how to process credit cards;
  • determining which manufacturers will not permit the sale of their products in your store;
  • who will build, operate and maintain the store;
  • who will process orders;
  • and finally, the cost of setting up and operating the store on a monthly basis.

About the Author:
Paula Di Marco Young, B.S., R.N., CLO/A

Ms. Young is a Certified Laser Operator/Aesthetics, and director of public relations and marketing for Young Medical Spa® in Pennsylvania. She is the host of the podcast, “It’s a Young Thing,” which discusses the most common misconceptions and new technological advancements in aesthetic medicine and procedures. She has received various awards, including the Aesthetic Everything Beauty Expo’s 2018 “Top Nurses” Award and the MyFaceMyBody 2018 “Rising Star” Award.

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