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Put the Best Face on Selling Skin Care
Donald J. Capuano, MD discusses the ins and outs of selling skin care in an medical aesthetic office including marketing, choosing the skin care line and personalized product lines.
Article provided by: Plastic Surgery Practice

Should you contract with a middleman or start your own retail outlet?

Your practice may involve the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmented spots, and blemishes, which requires an understanding of skin care and skin care products.

Skin care products have become an essential part of the process of rejuvenation and restoration for those practicing aesthetic surgery and for most who offer cosmetic surgical procedures, too.

Providing a spectrum of services to treat the skinincluding deep peels, laser-based treatments, pulsed light, and so forthis also a necessity when indicated, but that is a topic for another day.

Product Selection
Different skin types and skin care goals require different products. When examining a patient's skin, it is important for you to formulate what may be the best product for treating it.

For example, localized areas of dry or oily skin may call for regional applications of specific products. In addition, ethnic skin and aging skin should be considered.

The benefit of carrying skin care products in your office is that patients can walk out with exactly those products you think will best suit him or her.

Problems can arise when choosing what products to have available in your office. Many people follow specific product lines. Converting them entirely to your recommended line of products is often quite impractical.

For the hesitant patient, I often suggest that they use their own products until they run out and then try your skin care products. Samples of their new suggested regimen will often be given to the patient.

What I have found practical in determining which skin care line(s) to carry in the office is to solicit and use as much advice and suggestions as possible.

A word of caution, though. What is new is not always what is best for the patient and the practice. Patient feedback, especially in cases where a product is touted as being a breakthrough, is very important.

The feedback from users quickly becomes more important than the hype.

Your staff will also provide input. Listen to your nurses, aestheticians, and even secretaries and greeters who have tried the products. All information is needed to factor into product sales.

A satisfied patient, as usual, is your most cost-effective promotion. From this amalgam of individual inputs comes a decision to carry one or more products or the entire product line in your office.

Marketing Savvy
After deciding on the products, it is important to display them appropriately.

Expensive products should be kept in enclosed cases, as the box will be sufficient for the display. The product can be stored in a hard-to-find location in the office or even off-site in order to decrease the possibility of theft.

Internal marketing is the most important, cost-effective marketing method.

Advertisements, even when strategically placed in newspapers, on the radio, or on television, are rarely cost-effective for the average practice. Very large practices, when purchasing volume advertisements, can make this approach work. Web-based advertising, when part of a package from an order-fulfillment company, may be helpful.

It is important that you have a good relationship and understanding with your skin care representative when you carry products in your office.

You should not allow multiple units of expensive product to sit, expiring on your shelf. While the product may be new, a purported breakthrough, or scientifically proven to be wonderful, word gets around quickly when it is too harsh or too expensive for the result. A product can "die on the shelf" even if it does not have an appealing fragrance.

Check the vendor's policy about returned goods, especially if high-power retailing pressure is involved. Even accepting a credit on your account for an expired or returned product is a positive.

In-office retailing, with all its inherent problems and the need for attention to many details, is a s

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