Online Dental Stores V/S the Local Dental Dealers – Which is Better For Dentists?
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In this post, we will look at the phenomenon of online e-commerce dental stores. We will also analyze if it is good for dentists to get the dental supplies from the traditional local dental vendor or from the online dental stores. The aim of the article is to inform the dentists about the pros & cons of online shopping of dental products.
Do you actively use online shopping portals like Amazon, Flipkart or Ebay?
Of course, you do. In fact, all of us are actively using the online shopping stores for buying various types of products from the comfort of our homes.
E-commerce is the reality of the present day world. It has empowered both the business owners (individuals, small or big) & consumers.
It has provided the business owners a medium to reach the potential customers to sell their products directly (without the consumer needing to visit a store). It has also empowered the consumers by giving them the convenience of comparing prices and choosing various products that are best & economical for them.
So, can we expect dental products not to come within the foray of E-commerce? 😀
Of course not.
Online dental stores are being seen all over the world. But the most vigorous growth has been in India, China & other South Asian countries. In the last 5 years, more than 100 small to big online dental stores have emerged claiming to change the lives of the dentist.
The largest dental products consumption are in the Asian & South Asian markets of Indian & China. For example, India with its population of 1 billion consumers is the most attractive market for all types of companies including dental enterprises.
For next many years, India & China are going to be the biggest consumer markets for every company.
No company (with a CEO in right sense) can ever dare to overlook the buying potential of combined 3 billion consumers in India & China.
Considering this humungous population there is also the exponential rise consumption of dental materials and products. This is due to the increasing dental health awareness in Asia & India. More people (from poor to rich) are now much more responsive to dental treatments and DENTISTS.
For a dentist, it is a good scenario. The traditional way of getting the dental supplies was from the local vendors. But in the last 5 years, due to the boom in the e-commerce sector, many online dental stores have opened up.
Lets us check some of pros & cons of this dental e-commerce boom. Only then a dentist can make a correct choice that will be helpful in the long run for his/her professional practice.
Only then a dentist will be able to make a correct choice that will be helpful in the long run for his/her professional practice.
There are two ways for a dentist to procure the dental materials/supplies.
- From the local dental materials vendor/stockist/wholesaler.
- From the online dental stores.
Before discussing the top online dental shops, we will first see the benefits & problems of each setup.
Benefits of the local dental supplier vendor over online dental shops
1) Locally available:
- As the vendor is locally based, you can always order dental products to be supplied immediately.
- I have ordered once a temporary laser unit at midnight 12 am for a late night procedure. (as my unit showed some problems & stopped working).
- My local vendor was at my clinic doors in sharp 20 minutes with the laser unit.
NO online dental shop will ever or can do this for you.
2) Years of Association:
- The local dental supplier and your practice are both located in the same geographical location.
- The success of a local vendor depends on the success of your practice and other practices in the location. It is a purely symbiotic relationship.
- So, they always put an extra effort to provide a great support to all the local dentists to be in their good books.
- Their growth is tied to your growth and most local vendors do not get the chance to do business with dentists from different states.
The Online Dental Shop is not dependent only on you.
Their target is wider and a single dentist’s success or failure does not matter to them. So, you might bring many businesses to them in return for some convenience. But in the long run, your practice is just one small piece of a large collection which is replaceable.
3) Good Advisers:
We mentioned at the point just above – the association of a local dental supplier and dentist is purely symbiotic.
Many young dentists, when they start their professional practice are very confused and worried. They are just intimidated by the whole expenditure and financial pressure to start a dental practice.
In such cases, the experienced local vendors can be a great asset. How?
- They give practical and valuable suggestions to the young dentist on setting the clinic.
- They also provide access to useful contacts like electricians, architects, website designers, bankers who are specializing in setting up the infrastructure needed for a dental practice. As they come via the local dealer, they quote a lesser price than the running market price in the open market.
- Any issues that might come up during the construction of your dental setup, you can just give a call and in 90% of cases, the local dental supplier will be there to guide you.
- In my personal experience – As I ran short of cash towards the end of construction of my first dental setup, my local dealer without any request provided all the necessary dental supplies for the first 1 month without asking for any payment. (I subsequently cleared the payments without the vendor ever asking me again for next 3 months).
You might ask why the Vendor will do all this help? Simply because they are interested in the success of your dental practice. Your successful practice will ensure that they will keep supplying dental products for years to come.
Until today, I do not think that any online dental store can provide a dentist with all these helps to establish a dental practice. They are just interested in a ready made dental practice where they can have a potential dentist customer.
Benefits of online dental stores
You might be thinking I am just talking negatives about online dental stores.
It is not like that. I am just stating some of the most practical points.
At the same time, there are some major benefits of an online dental store that a local dental supplier cannot provide. Here is the infographic of all the benefits of the online dental shops.
1) A wide range of products:
The best part about online dental stores is that they can provide products from all the major dental brands under one roof. For example, you are looking to buy endo files. A good online dental store will provide all the major brands to choose from.
You will not find this benefit with local vendors usually have 1 or 2 brands with them.
(some senior local vendors do supply multiple brands)
2) Higher discounts:
This is one of the major benefits of all the online stores. Almost all the online dental stores provide many attractive offers. Some of the offers that I have come across:
- 10 to 50 % off on the MRP.
- Buy one set of files and get one set free.
- Cashback offers.
- Very attractive and affordable EMI offers.
This is one of the most important marketing points for all the online dental stores and they regularly come up with such offers.
Such offers are usually not possible for a local dental supplier to provide.
3) The comfort of ordering dental supplies:
The most selling point for all the online stores is the convenience and comfort. A dentist sitting in his/her dental practice can browse through the entire catalog of products. No need to call the local supplier or visit a dental depot. Browse the products and place the order.
Buying from an online store is a comfortable experience.
(Provided internet speed is fast :D)
4) Ease of Payment:
With the increasing technology, the process of paying for a product from online dental stores has become very easy. With a lot of payment gateways and various modes of payment, the online payment has become very secure.
Most of the online companies are also providing cash on delivery (COD).
5) Competition & Increasing level of customer service:
As I stated before, last 5 years there has been an exponential rise in the number of online dental stores. Most of the reputed dental stores have become very serious about providing a good customer service. They respond to all the queries by the customer via telephone, email and social media. They have realized that a poor response will lead to very negative word of mouth among the dentists.
So, we covered some positive and some negative points on both the local dental supplier and online dental stores.
So, which one is better than the other?
How can you make the correct choice?
The answer is – “NO one system is the ultimate choice.”
You have to choose and manage with the combination of both.