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Is Pinterest the Future of Shopping and E-Commerce?

If this article were to list everything that has changed in our day-to-day lives between January 2020 and now, it would be an unending article. (And you probably don’t have time to read that!) So, let’s start by getting right to the heart of the matter at hand: the retail industry during and after COVID. It is undisputed that 2020 brought many changes to the retail industry and consumer behavior. What role will Pinterest play in the future of shopping and e-commerce, and how can you harness its power?

First, let’s review what Pinterest is and how it works. Although arguably less popular than other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Pinterest boasted an impressive 459 million monthly active users in the fourth quarter of 2020. Pinterest works differently from other social media platforms. While you can still add friends and follow their posts, you are not sharing details of your life, recent activities, videos of yourself dancing (as is popular on TikTok), or “throwback” photos from your pre-COVID travels.

Instead, Pinterest allows you to share links from things you like around the internet. Pinterest calls itself a “visual discovery engine,” focusing on helping you find inspiration in images and links. Some of the most popular types of “pins” (or posts) on Pinterest include recipes, home decor, fashion, and more.

How does all of this play into the changes in the retail industry and consumer behavior in 2020 and beyond? Pinterest also facilitates online shopping. When you see a pin of something you like (whether it’s a sweater, a bookshelf, a hairstyling tool, or a lawnmower), you can click on that pin and be taken to the website where you can purchase. Brands can also purchase ad space on Pinterest, with the type of ads shown being tailored to each user’s preferences and behaviors.

Although Pinterest included this e-commerce functionality pre-COVID, the platform saw a huge increase in its use in 2020. In the first half of the year, Pinterest saw a 50 percent increase in users who visited places to shop on the platform. Pinterest knew they couldn’t rest on their laurels there—to continue to grow and provide the services their users need, the platform needed to continually adapt to new user behaviors. As explained by Milka Kramer, country manager UK and Ireland at Pinterest, “It is crucial for brands and marketers to align their efforts with this customer behavior and adapt their messaging. Many industries will see permanent changes in consumer behaviour after this period so the critical nature of insights will remain into 2021 and long after this is behind us.”

So, what is the future of shopping as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually move past it? Kramer believes the key will be to merge the best of in-store and online shopping experiences. E-commerce will continue to grow, and consumers will look for a shopping experience that is more than scrolling through products. Consumers are looking for inspiration and connection, and it is up to your company to give them that experience. To learn more about the future of e-commerce and how social media platforms like Pinterest can play a role in your company’s marketing, we welcome you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, we are ready to help you grow your business.

How to Provide Audiology Services Without Face to Face Contact

How to Provide Audiology Services Without Face to Face Contact

The pandemic has forced a lot of changes in healthcare, but this is especially true for hearing professionals. Through these changes, hearing professionals have the unique opportunity to develop meaningful patient interactions and provide services to those who may otherwise have no access to much-needed care. In-person appointments are imperative to properly evaluate those with hearing difficulties. But what if things can be easier? What if things can be different?

In May 2020, a group led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) sent a letter to Congressional leaders asking to include provisions of the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act in COVID-19 relief packages.

“As COVID-19 forces many seniors into isolation, outdated Medicare requirements limit their ability to access the audiology services they need,” the letter states. “Unlike other government programs and private insurers, including Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare currently mandates that beneficiaries obtain a physician order before they are allowed to access an audiologist, even for a hearing test.”

“Medicare laws have never been updated to reclassify audiologists from suppliers to practitioners,” the letter continues. “Due to this shortfall, audiologists are excluded from health professionals who are authorized by statute to be reimbursed for services provided through telehealth.”

Hearing health and balance are essential, just like other aspects of a person’s health and wellness. Maintaining hearing and balance enables someone to participate in daily activities, prevent injury, and promote a high quality of life. Just as they should not delay seeking care for other health conditions, patients should not delay seeking and obtaining professional hearing assessment and treatment.

Here is how you can move forward with virtual options in hearing services.

Adopt Virtual Tools

Pioneering clinicians are tackling access limitations—via mobile apps, virtual video and more—and finding that patient outcomes are not only just as good as face-to-face interactions, but potentially better in providing greater patient satisfaction.

  1. Tele-Audiology (also generally known as “telehealth” or “telemedicine”)

A large volume of research reported that telehealth interventions produce positive outcomes. The most consistent benefit has been reported when telehealth is used for communication and counseling or remote monitoring in chronic conditions.[1] You can perform consultation appointments, follow-up appointments and troubleshooting appointments over video; you can reserve your in-person appointment time for hearing evaluations and hearing aid fitting appointments.

Tele-audiology doesn’t require much to implement. With the right software and training, audiologists have an exciting opportunity to be on the forefront of e-health as our nation moves toward non-traditional methods of care.

  • E-commerce – An Important Option That Delivers Products Safely

E-commerce allows you to sell products to anyone, anywhere, any time. With e-commerce, buyers can access your store on-the-go or from the comforts of their own home.

You may be thinking, “Ok, e-commerce SOUNDS simple, but it’s probably not that simple” and honestly, you are right; e-commerce takes a lot of work if you want to create a store from scratch. You will need to develop an online store, manage inventory, and ship goods regularly. All of this can create a lot more work than you would like to take on. But there are some e-commerce applications that come complete with a full range of popular audiology products, preloaded onto your e-commerce store. They also take care of shipping and tax, so you don’t have to deal with any of the complicated behind-the-scenes details. Plus, with OTC hearing aids on the horizon, you should seriously consider incorporating e-commerce into your practice.

Offer Support For Digital Services

Technology may not be every ones’ cup of tea; for example, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by transitioning to virtual service options. But that is OK! A lot of these digital options have additional support to help you and your patients feel comfortable using them.

Additional forms of support can include:

  • Website pages with more information about the virtual services and how they work
  • More content including FAQs
  • Add a link that allows patients to make their own virtual appointments based on your availability

For your current patients, you will also want to consider creating an email campaign letting them know that they have this service available to them.

For new (and current) patients, you will want to release this news on social media and maybe add a banner to your website so they can’t miss it.

Collaboration Is Key

With anything new, collaboration is so crucial to ensure success. And hearing professionals are not the only ones’ who have been navigating virtual services; device manufacturers and other suppliers will make virtualization that much better.

Prior to the pandemic, work and product design supporting the delivery of audiology services without face-to-face client interactions was just a bonus to the continuation of hearing health care services. Now, it’s almost essential.

In the article 2021 Audiology Outlook: Leaders Weigh in on Key Issues Impacting the Industry, ADA President Victor Bray, PhD said, “It is not uncommon in a crisis to create a new environment where what was an optional, low-utilization tool suddenly becomes a critical high-utilization tool. Such is the case for the practice of audiology and telehealth, especially regarding the remote assessment and programming of hearing devices.”

Virtualization is fast-approaching and not just because of the pandemic; it will enhance and modernize the way hearing professionals do business.

Face-To-Face Appointments Can Still Happen, But Virtual Options Streamline Your Business

The point of this article isn’t to convince you that all in-person appointments are no longer a possibility; this article is meant to educate you on the possibilities that come from virtualization.

While adopting telehealth has been slow due to these reimbursement concerns, there is change happening. Recent policy changes during the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced barriers to telehealth access and have promoted the use of telehealth as a way to deliver acute, chronic, primary and specialty care. [2]

It is imperative to recognize when there are opportunities for face-to-face time or telehealth and that spending some time addressing the digital literacy gap will only help patients become more effective users of the technology necessary to access care remotely.

There is no doubt that audiology private practices can thrive with more virtualization, but it is up to you to adapt and embrace the changes.


[1]Annette M Totten 1Dana M Womack 1Karen B Eden 1Marian S McDonagh 1Jessica C Griffin 1Sara Grusing 1William R Hersh 1 Telehealth: Mapping the Evidence for Patient Outcomes From Systematic Reviews (2016). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27536752/

[2] Using Telehealth to Expand Access to Essential Health Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic (June 10, 2020). https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/telehealth.html

Everything we “unlearned” in 2020

Guiding Principles for Digital Marketing in 2021

What did you learn in 2020? If you followed some of the trends inspired by life during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have learned how to bake banana bread or sew fabric face coverings. When it comes to your business, you might have learned how to conduct virtual audiology appointments or use e-commerce.

While you might have learned a lot in 2020, you probably also had to “unlearn” a few things when it came to business. This might apply to how you communicate with your patients, how you sell to your customers, how you attract new patients, and how you keep your patients. If 2020 taught us anything, it was that we cannot predict the future. Keeping that in mind, here are a few guiding principles for your business in 2021:

  • Selling does not look like it used to.

Before the pandemic hit, you had a system for how you sold services and products to your customers. You could predict much of your clients’ purchasing behavior. Then everything changed. You might have stopped conducting in-office appointments for time, or at least you limited them. Many clients changed their behavior, preferring to do their appointments and their purchasing online.

In 2021, this will not change. Many people will likely continue to limit how much they go out into public spaces, even as vaccines are administered. For some of them, it is an issue of health risk. For others, they discovered new ways of doing things that they actually like, such as e-commerce purchases and virtual audiology appointments. You will need to cater to these clients in order to obtain and keep their business.

  • You will probably need to change your tactics (again).

Now is the time to evaluate all of your tactics and see how well they work in today’s world. Check everything—your marketing emails, your appointment reminders, your website and its offerings, your e-commerce options, your mobile pages, etc. Make sure everything makes sense for the “new normal” we are living in and caters to your clients’ current needs and preferences.

Keep in mind that nothing is set for 2021. Changing your tactics now to accommodate what works today (as opposed to what worked before 2020) does not mean you won’t need to change your practices again.

  • Data is shifting.

If you previously had data on your target market, it is now outdated. You will need to continue to gather new data for how patients find your practice, how they interact with you, how they use your website, and much more. Data will continue to be in flux this year, so monitor your data regularly and adjust your business and marketing practices accordingly.

We learned a lot in 2020 about how quickly business practices and consumer behavior can change. 2021 promises to be a year of learning and growth as well. To learn more about how to navigate today’s business world and help your audiology practice grow, please contact us at AudiologyPlus today. We are prepared to help your business succeed, no matter what this year brings.

ecommerce is a must for audiologists

E-Commerce Is a MUST for Hearing Health Professionals

What do you think of when you consider e-commerce? Your first thought is probably of e-commerce giants like Amazon. However, e-commerce is an important business opportunity not only for sites like Amazon, Walmart.com, and Target.com, but also for hearing health professionals like you. In fact, e-commerce should not be regarded as simply a good opportunity for hearing health professionals—it should be seen as a MUST.

E-commerce provides endless opportunities to your hearing health practice that you cannot afford to miss out on. Here are only a few of the reasons you should invest in e-commerce:

  • No need to refer elsewhere, which increases patient satisfaction.

Referrals are a normal part of healthcare. Dentists, medical doctors, and of course, hearing health professionals—all of them use referrals. But what if you could reduce the volume of referrals you give?

First, you would be keeping more business for yourself. By offering e-commerce products at your practice, you can increase your revenue by selling products you previously did not offer. Second, your patients will appreciate being able to meet more of their needs in one place, without the need to go elsewhere. Not only will this boost patient satisfaction, but it can also increase patient loyalty to your practice. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that customer loyalty is increasingly associated with online purchases—if you can make the experience personalized and streamlined.

  • Your patients already trust you, so allow them to trust you for their purchases, too.

Your patients come to see you for their audiology needs because they trust you as a healthcare provider. You likely know from your own experiences that finding a healthcare provider you trust is not always easy. So, since your patients already trust you, they would prefer to be able to feel that same sense of trust when they make their hearing health-related purchases.

Because you, as their hearing health professional, already know their specific hearing health needs and preferences, you can also personalize the e-commerce experience to them. Enabling your patients to buy directly from you will increase their sense of trust and satisfaction.

  • Prepare for over-the-counter hearing aids.

You are already aware that over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids will soon be available. This means that patients will not need to see a hearing health professional, like you, in order to purchase hearing aids. Do not wait until OTC hearing aids are available to begin reacting to this change—start preparing now!

Establishing yourself as a leader in your area in both hearing healthcare and e-commerce can set your practice apart when it comes to consumers’ options for purchasing hearing aids. To do this, you need to offer the products your patients need and demonstrate the value of your professional care. Show your patients that not only will you provide the products they want via e-commerce, but you will ensure the proper fitting and adjustment, which they will not receive with OTC devices.

To learn more about the importance of e-commerce in hearing healthcare and how you can get ahead in this essential field, we welcome you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. We are eager to help your practice succeed.

eCommerce tactics

5 eCommerce Strategies That Will Help Your Practice Grow

eCommerce is booming. By mid-April 2020, there had already been a 129 percent year-over-year growth in eCommerce orders in the United States and Canada. Many sales and finance experts believe this growth is due at least partially to the COVID-19 pandemic. While more traditional sales avenues might have suffered during widespread lockdowns, eCommerce grew.

eCommerce works not only in retail; it has been introduced to the field of audiology as well. For those in the profession who are more traditionally minded, the increasing shift to eCommerce may be more difficult. There is good reason, however, to embrace eCommerce. When done right, it can help your business thrive in a new way.

Here are five eCommerce tactics you can use to increase your conversion rate and help your hearing practice grow:

  1. Add a countdown timer.

Once a customer adds an item to their cart, the countdown begins. Adding a sense of urgency to their purchase can speed up the process. For example, you may alert the customer that their options for express or next-day delivery will expire within a certain number of hours. This will encourage them to complete their purchase more quickly and can help avoid cart abandonment.

  1. Capture your user’s data.

Learning more about your customer can help you provide a more personalized experience, which can lead to more sales. One simple and effective way to learn more about your customer is to use a behavior-based popover.

This popover appears after a customer has spent a certain amount of time browsing your eCommerce store. A typical popover of this type will offer a discount in exchange for the customer’s email address. You can also personalize these offers based on the customer’s behavior on the site up to that point.

  1. Use social proof.

When your customer is viewing a product page, your ultimate goal is for them to add it to their cart and complete the purchase. One way to encourage this is to use social proof. For example, you can add user-generated content to the page to show the customer how real people use this product in their everyday lives.

You can also showcase real-time customer reviews and ratings. Highlighting good reviews will help your potential customer make the decision to purchase as well. Another tactic is to display a counter with the number of people who are looking at or have added this same product to their shopping cart.

  1. Offer product recommendations.

Did you know that product recommendations can generate sales uplifts of up to 11 percent? You can recommend products to your eCommerce customers by showing them products that are new, most popular, or currently trending. As the customer continues to browse, personalize the recommendations based on the products they search for or look at.

  1. Display a dynamic banner.

This banner will be one of the first things a potential customer sees when they visit your eCommerce page. It should grab their attention, spark interest, and encourage them to stay on your site.

Try personalizing this dynamic banner using data from the customer. For example, you could display delivery details based on the customer’s location.

With these five strategies, you are well on your way to winning at eCommerce. To learn more about how to succeed in eCommerce and grow your hearing practice, we invite you to contact us at AudiologyPlus today.