Big-screen TVs for a few hundred bucks, designer hand bags at half-price and children’s toys for cheap, cheap, cheap. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, it’s easy to think that shopping is always about acting fast to get the best deals.
Obviously, aesthetic consumers approach their buying decisions a bit differently. In fact, as recent surveys of RealSelf users clearly demonstrate, they take their time, they do their homework and they care more about their providers’ expertise than the prices they charge. Consider the data:
When asked how long they had been researching a procedure before submitting an inquiry to a doctor, the top 3 responses were:
- Just started: 30.13%
- 1 month: 20.09%
- 1–3 years: 17.47%
When asked how important online reviews were in choosing a doctor, 96% said “Very Important” or “Somewhat Important,” with three-quarters of those saying “Very Important.”
When asked to name the most important factors in choosing a doctor for a cosmetic procedure, the top 5 responses were:
- Board certification: 61.88%
- Experience: 61.61%
- Price: 49.73%
- Before & After Photo Gallery: 48.90%
- Online Reviews: 42.31%
Clearly, today’s aesthetic consumers are not impulse shoppers. Instead, they’re making major, potentially life-changing decisions; they’re looking for insights from other patients and expertise from providers, and they’ll take as much time as they need to make those decisions with confidence.
1. The route to an aesthetic procedure is rarely a quick trip
While almost one-third of survey respondents said they’d just started their aesthetic research, it’s important to note that the figure provides no indication of how long they’ll continue it. At RealSelf, we see many users conducting research for months or even years before contacting a doctor, a window of opportunity that allows doctors to establish contact and build a relationship long before a user decides to pick up the phone or visit a clinic.
2. It’s time to embrace, not avoid, reviews
When 96% of users say reviews from other aesthetic consumers are either somewhat or very important, it’s time to recognize that you can use them to your benefit. Younger consumers, in particular, count on reviews — especially those on brands’ own websites — to help them make their decisions.
3. A reputable doctor trumps a good deal
After years of training and tens of thousands of dollars, it can be disheartening to read stories about less-qualified providers performing cosmetic procedures. The good news is that patients overwhelmingly report more satisfaction with the results they get from board-certified cosmetic surgeons. Doctors who help spread that message — via blog posts, social media and other online outlets — help themselves and the industry as a whole.