Looking to grow your practice? It might be time to set up a small retail shop within your office. Not only can retail products help you earn a little extra profit, they also allow you to provide greater convenience for patients who can easily get products they want or need — which could help you stand apart from your competition.
Take a look at a few best practices for selling retail products, and how retail products can help stimulate your practice growth.
You want all of your patients to leave your practice feeling satisfied with their overall care and experience. You don’t want a subpar retail product to take away from their great experience, so you should only be selling retail products that offer the greatest likelihood of satisfaction.
Similar to how patients look for a provider, take to the internet to research the retail products you’re considering selling. Read user reviews to understand common complaints. Also carefully read ingredients and use directions, so you can accurately answer any questions your patients might have about the retail products you’re selling.
Which retail products make the most sense for your practice? That depends on your specialty. If you are a general practitioner, consider stocking vitamins or health technology equipment, such as Fitbit, for healthy living. If you are a dentist, you could stock toothpaste or other retail products you often recommend to your patients.
No matter your specialty, it’s important to only be stocking and selling retail items you are confident patients will be interested in purchasing. And if you’re considering expensive retail items, stock them in moderation so you don’t take a huge hit if they don’t all sell.
Some providers might be tempted to keep retail products behind the front desk, but it’s better to create a display area in the waiting room. This way, patients can peruse retail items you’re selling while they are waiting for their appointment to begin. If patients do not have time to browse your product selection before their appointments, encourage them to do so after, particularly if you stock a retail product recommended for their care.
Be sure to task a staff member with keeping the display area tidy and well-stocked. And if you stock high-priced retail items, keep them secure in a locked display.
Though a new retail display will be quite obvious to people in your office, patients who have not visited your practice in some time will have no idea about the new retail products you’re selling. To get the word out to this group, you should promote your retail products on your website and your social media profiles.
Your website is a prime online location to show off your services, as well as the retail products you sell. Though you likely would not create individual webpages for each of your retail products — like you would for each of your services — you can easily showcase retail products on your homepage. Look to the website of Angela Willis, MD, as an example. Dr. Willis frequently updates her homepage to showcase new retail products for sale at her practice, like essential oils.
Another great place to highlight new retail products on your site is your blog. Most blogging and content marketing experts recommend businesses like healthcare practices follow the 80/20 rule, which means roughly 80 percent of your content is educational or informative, while 20 percent is promotional. This means you can focus every fourth or fifth blog post on a new retail product without alienating most readers.
Why and how to blog: Tips and insights for healthcare providers
Social media is a great platform to share information about retail products you’re stocking. With each post, write a short description of what the product is, how it should be used, and the expected benefit.
Also consider experimenting with live video or the story function on Instagram and Facebook whenever you get in a new retail product shipment — just be sure to photograph and film in a way that doesn’t compromise patient privacy. For even greater social engagement, consider hosting product giveaways.
Retailers commonly entice new customers by offering discounts or samples. You can do this at your practice, too, to demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of the products you’re stocking.
Another play to borrow from retailers is to offer free items or other desirable rewards to repeat customers so they buy again and again. If patients visit your practice often — if you’re providing an aesthetic treatment like laser hair removal, for example — you can consider a Buy 10, Get 1 Free reward program. If patients come in less often — say just once or twice a year — a first-time buyer discount could be the better tactic.
Instantly see how you compare to other practices in your local area and specialty.