When it comes to shopping, modern-day consumers have no shortage of options. Many different retailers often carry the same or very similar products, so it is simply a matter of choosing the exact item you want and the way you want to purchase it. This was underlined by a recent survey on shopping habits, which can help you and your practice navigate the new issue of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid sales.
In a global survey of nearly 3,000 consumers, researchers found that more and more shoppers are adopting a hybrid online and in-person shopping approach. 73 percent of survey respondents said that they want to visit a store in person before making a purchasing decision. However, they then make that final purchase on their mobile phone, often from within the store itself.
The survey results demonstrate that many consumers still prefer to see items in person before deciding to purchase. This can work to your advantage when people visit your practice and look at hearing aid options. However, the key is to prevent them from browsing hearing aids in your office and then making their purchase online from another retailer, such as a big box store or website offering over-the-counter hearing aids. Here are a couple of tips for keeping your customers’ business:
- Offer services your customers cannot get elsewhere when they purchase OTC. For the most part, over-the-counter hearing aids come with the devices only. Some brands offer digital fittings or a warranty, but these are limited and do not offer the same spectrum of service you offer in your practice. Be sure to highlight to your customers that when they purchase hearing aids from you, they will also receive services like professional fittings, repairs, follow-up appointments, and more. You can also provide a higher level of education when they first purchase their hearing aids, which can make it easier for them to adapt to using their devices and increase their chance of using their hearing aids long term.
- Carry over-the-counter hearing aids in your office. One great way to prevent customers from looking at hearing aids in your practice and then purchasing over-the-counter devices elsewhere is to carry OTC hearing aids yourself! This gives your customer the ability to purchase what they want (OTC hearing aids) from you. It makes their choice easy—they have already come to you to look at hearing aids, so they might as well buy their over-the-counter hearing aids with you as well. Carrying a wide variety of hearing aids can help to ensure that you meet your customers’ needs. In addition, you might want to consider selling over-the-counter hearing aids on your website. This would capture the portion of your customers who prefer to make their purchases online.
Surveys like the one mentioned above highlight how much the consumer experience has changed in the last few years. While shopping for hearing aids (and everything else) might be different than it used to be, with more options available than ever before, you can still learn to capture your customers’ business and keep it through excellent service and products. For more information about how to sell in today’s shopping climate, we welcome you to contact us today at Audiology Plus.