And yes this has everything to do with buying and selling hearing aids.
Times have changed. Consumers are buying en masse online and retail is feeling the effect. Read more in The Atlantic about the “Great Retail Apocalypse of 2017”. Unfortunately, many hearing healthcare providers are failing to fully grasp how that’s impacting the hearing aid industry. If anything, hearing aid consumers are a bit behind other consumers when it comes to using the internet to research and to make a purchase. As we age, we’re less likely to want to figure out new ways to buy what we want. But if by learning a new trick or two, the average consumer can (in their mind) save thousands of dollars, they’ll figure it out and in a hurry.
Buying a Chandelier
Back to the chandelier…I am in the market for lights that will hang over an island. Store displays are limited, so I started my search online. I knew the color, size and shape that I wanted. Eventually I found just what I was looking for. I read the reviews about the lights and one reviewer mentioned seeing the exact same light for half the price.
I did a reverse image search and sure enough found the exact same light for more than 50% off the price of the original light, however, the manufacturer was not the same. Initially I figured the light was somehow different, so I researched the new company and found that the first company manufactures a few of its products under a different name. It sells one product line to higher end stores and one to discount stores…. same light.
I ordered 2 chandeliers that should arrive today.
Price, Quality, Quantity Pick Two
What does this mean for you? It means that your consumer is potentially online learning everything they can about hearing loss and hearing aids. By way of an example, I pulled the trigger on my chandelier purchase (all things being the same in my mind) based on price. That does not mean I bought chandeliers for $1 a piece. It means, I had a certain quantity that could not be changed and a certain quality that I wanted. I would’ve paid the original price but I was willing to spend time searching for the lowest price possible. Something that the Internet makes extremely easy to do. And if it works for other purchases they’ve been making, why wouldn’t they at least consider trying the same approach for a product that costs thousands of dollars?
Purchasing decisions are based on selecting 2 of the following 3 options (price, quality and quantity). You can select 2 of those options, but not all 3.
If you can’t compete on price
And you can’t compete on quantity (you are selling either 1 product or 2 products)
Quality is all you have left.
Educate them about the benefits of seeing you and why they shouldn’t buy hearing aids online. Amazon sells hearing aids online and Alibaba, Amazon’s biggest competitor sells hearing aids from China.
I am your demographic and if I was in the market for a hearing aid, I would take the same approach to purchasing a hearing aid that I did to purchasing a chandelier. You need to give me compelling reasons not to treat a hearing aid purchase in the same way that I would treat the purchase of a chandelier. In fact, if you can’t give me a list of 5 reasons that I shouldn’t buy my hearing aids online for the lowest price I can find, then you have a problem that needs to be resolved today.