Many people have engaged in the online shopping versus brick and mortar shopping debate. Both brick and mortar stores and online merchants have certain pros and cons that differ based upon the types of products offered and the specific needs of the individual shopper.
If you are not planning to sell hearing aids online, how can you compete with companies that do?
Here are 5 advantages that a brick and mortar store has versus their online counterparts.
- A core benefit is the most obvious one, the ability to touch and see objects in person. Online stores can provide the consumer with pictures and videos, but actually holding the product can provide some tactile impressions that simply cannot be matched online. Particularly when it comes to the sale of hearing aids. The ‘in-store” experience simply cannot be matched online.
- Instant gratification, the ability to buy an item and bring it home immediately. Not every hearing aid can be sold and brought home immediately but the option for many patients does exist.
- The ability to support local merchants. Don’t underestimate how strongly some of your patients feel about supporting their local economy. Your demographic is keenly aware of the interconnectivity of their financial well being to the financial well being of those around them. Even the younger demographic has slowly but surely begun to embrace the concept of “buy locally” with everything from food to clothing to home goods and so on.
- Your customer can speak directly to an expert about their purchase (in case there is any doubt that means you). You can provide information about the products and more importantly answer questions about the products that are bound to arise. Online stores provide answers to frequently asked questions but that’s of no use to a patient if their question isn’t listed.
- You can provide service that is simply unavailable to online shoppers.
- Walk in service hours
- Include batteries with the sale and mail the batteries to the patient’s home.
- Keep an ample supply of loaners, always welcome if your patient will be attending a once in a lifetime event days after his hearing aids need to be sent out for repair.
The most important thing to remember about service is that no two people will define service in exactly the same way. Ask questions and teach your staff to ask questions. Find out from your customers what you could do to provide a better experience and then do it.
Your demographic is concerned about their health, they have a hefty amount of discretionary income and they will be more than happy to spend it on your services if you give them plenty of reasons to.