If you thought disruption was something that only happens in the tech industry, think again. A growing number of consumer-focused business startups are disrupting the world of dental care.
What’s behind the trend? Millennials, of course. Three in 10 millennials only brush their teeth once a day, according to a study commissioned by dental products company Hello Products. Millennials are also more likely than other age groups to fear going to the dentist; they see it as inconvenient, expensive and uncomfortable.
J Walter Thompson recently took a look at how some emerging dental care companies are addressing these concerns. Here are five trends to watch for.
- Convenient care: Companies are tapping into consumers’ craving for convenience and transforming how dental care is delivered. For example, Floss Bar touts “45 minute appointments, online booking, after-hours availability on evenings and weekends, OR mobile units that bring care to you.” Lydian Dental offers affordable, mobile dentistry services to employers as a benefit for their employees; the concept has been so successful Lydian has also opened several bricks-and-mortar locations.
- Toothpaste that tastes good: One-third of millennials dislike the taste of dental care products, Hello Products reports. Cocofloss’s “luxury” dental floss tastes good and makes flossing fun with flavors like coconut, mint and strawberry, plus minimal, Instagram-friendly packaging that makes oral care cool.
- Going natural: American consumers have embraced natural personal care and beauty products. Now, Euromonitor International’s 2018 Oral Care in the US reports, oral care product manufacturers are capitalizing on the trend by creating dental care products that are both natural and effective. Hello Products’ natural, vegan, cruelty-free toothpastes and mouthwashes fill the bill.
- Subscribe and stay healthy: Running out of dental care products is no longer a concern for consumers who join subscription programs like Boka, which sells electric toothbrushes, toothpaste and more. Quip’s streamlined electric toothbrushes run three months on a single battery; subscribers get free brush head refills every three months.
- Smart toothbrushes: Electric toothbrush manufacturers are using AI to create “smart toothbrushes” that connect with mobile apps to help consumers monitor their dental care. For example, Kolibree’s toothbrush uses an augmented reality app to motivate children to brush. Beam Dental provides affordable dental insurance for employers; employees get smart toothbrushes to measure how much they brush—and lower the company’s premiums accordingly.
Some of the companies above directly compete with traditional dental practices. What can you do to help your practice stay competitive? In addition to these tips on marketing to millennials, try the following:
- Make dental care easy. Suggest some of the subscription products above to your patients so there’s no excuse for not taking care of their teeth. Send your patients automated appointment confirmations and reminders by email, text or phone—Lighthouse 360 makes it easy to do.
- Offer convenient hours. Track which appointment times are most popular and ask patients when they wish your office were open. Offering appointments at night, on weekends or in the early morning at least once a week can attract busy patients and build loyalty. (Read more about smart scheduling for your practice.)
- Offer variety. Different flavors of dental floss, toothpaste, fluoride, mouthwash and other products used in the office aren’t just for kids. Try offering a variety of options to make visiting the dentist more pleasant for your patients.
- Be efficient. Show that you value your patients’ time. For example, Lighthouse 360’s FastTrack feature lets new patients complete registration right on their smartphones. That saves time for both them and your front desk staff. Get more tips on how to save patients time.
Times are changing, and your practice needs to change with them to stay relevant. Find out more about how Lighthouse 360 can help.