We all wish we could peer into a crystal ball and see what the future holds for the beauty and aesthetic industry. Wouldn’t it be great to anticipate what patients need and want before they even knew it themselves?
This January, visions of our aesthetic future no longer seem so abstract.
The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the closest thing we have to casting light on what’s shaping not just our industry but all industries: electronics and digital technology. A week’s worth of demos and presentations at this year’s show was a lesson in trends that used to be conceptual but are now taking center stage including artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).
You need to look no further than the competition playing out between tech heavyweights Google and Amazon and their personal assistant devices (Alexa and Echo, respectively), to see that we are entering a whole new world of accessible, personalized and efficient digital ‘PAs’. The question is, how will this (and other trends) impact beauty and aesthetics? And what lessons can we glean from these trends to better inform how we care for patients today?
The Personal Assistant
Google said it best when it explained that in the future “the most helpful brands will win”. This applies to all industries and should be considered a call to action or at least an opportunity to examine if your personal practice can keep pace. It’s no secret that consumers’ desire (and expectation!) for businesses are that they be better, quicker and more efficient than ever before.
At DS Group we work with clients to find the weak points in patient service at every stage so we can help boost long-term business growth and patient cultivation. We ask the simple but tough questions such as:
- Can a patient find you easily?
- Is it easy to book an appointment or reach out to your office to ask questions?
- What about once a patient arrives at your practice – is their check-in and appointment experience seamless and personalized?
- And when they aren’t at the practice, do they feel valued as a patient and more than just a number?
As every brand grapples with how to make their client, consumer and/or patient experience more ‘helpful’, the ones that aren’t afraid to face these questions and invest in change will find the most success.
We can already predict major opportunities in the field of virtual reality and aesthetics, especially if it can be merged with photoshop technology. Imagine showing patients what their procedure results might look like in 3D? Or present them with treatment scenarios over time in a visually immersive environment? The possibilities are endless.
In the meantime, though, the growing VR momentum reminds us that visuals are essential. While many practices are great at capturing before and after imagery, many remain ‘too busy’ to make it a routine part of the patient experience. But that should change.
We always remind clients that patients can go weeks, months or even years between visits. It’s easy for them to forget the value of their aesthetic experience. But pictures can help revive and reinforce their personal ROI.
By creating a consistent system where you and your team take, save, and archive consistent before and after images, you can help patients remember aesthetic progress, changes needed and results achieved.
Low Risk, High Reward Treatments
The age of the self-driving car is upon us and with it, the potential for self-driving stores on wheels. Envision a world where you could simultaneously shop, eat and run errands while commuting to and from work. We can already see patients indulging in quick, no downtime procedures on the go (quite literally!).
And while this treatment on wheels may still be a ‘vision’ of the future, it does suggest that investing in quicker, low downtime procedures with a high reward factor may be a good idea. In our non-stop lives, more frequent but less ‘invasive’ procedures are already becoming more and more popular. Consumers want instant gratification and patients do too. Maintenance treatments like Clear + Brilliant may continue to surge in popularity while new technologies such as fast-acting neurotoxin EB-001 hit the market and shake up the injectable status quo.
Don’t Wait For The Future
The future can often seem hypothetical, but what CES 2018 showed us this year is that it’s closer than ever. What it’s taught us is that practices and brands should start making changes now so that they’re prepared for the inevitable changes heading our way.