According to Dan Hess, CEO and founder of Local Offer Network, approximately 9% of all offers on daily deal websites in November 2011 were for dental work or some form of medical treatment, up from 4.5% in the beginning of 2011.
USA Today reports that approximately one out of every 11 deals offered online is for a health care service, according to data compiled by DealRadar.com, a site that gathers and lists 20,000 deals a day from different websites.
Dental deals are the most popular among users of daily deal websites.
Many attribute the growth of the use of daily deals in the healthcare sector with sites like Groupon, is the fact that 45 million Americans under 65 have no dental insurance coverage, and another 46 million have no health insurance coverage, according to CDC statistics. The daily discount deals offer many uninsured Americans a way to visit the dentist or doctor.
Some argue that a one-time visit to the dentist because of a deal coupon does not create a lasting dentist-patient relationship, or attract the right type of dental patient. Good long term dental marketing studies are hard to come by in dentistry.
However, the economic potential can be great.
The owners of Robust might agree. Robust is a wine bar and cafe in St. Louis, Missouri that ran a Groupon deal for $18.00 and sold 4200 deals for a potential $75,000 in revenue to be shared with Groupon. As important as the revenue was to Robust, their Groupon deal gained national news attention with tons of free marketing for their business that they never would have been able to afford.
Dr. Gregg Feinerman, an ophthalmologist who runs Feinerman Vision Center in Newport Beach, Calif told USA Today about his experience with Groupon, “We reached a whole new demographic who otherwise wouldn’t find us.” He offered a 58% discount on Lasik eye surgery. “It’s a better way to market,” he said.
He used Groupon as a way to bring in patients under 30-years-old with the hope that they would recommend his services to friends and rate him on review website Yelp. A good review might persuade someone else to visit his office, Feinerman said. He charges $5,000 for the surgery on both eyes; a price that he said can be “overwhelming for 20-to 30-year-olds.”
Is this brilliant marketing or just clever pricing?
Feinerman approached Groupon about listing the eye surgery for $3,000. Groupon, which is based in Chicago, pushed him to lower the price to $2,100. Dr. Feinerman got exactly the type of patient he was looking for in Thomas Cho. Cho, 29, bought the offer and after the surgery wrote a review on Yelp. He gave the vision center five stars — the highest rating on the website.
Cho said in an interview that his health insurance plan only covers 20% of the regular price of Lasik since it is considered a cosmetic procedure. He would have paid about $4,000 if he had used his insurance discount. Cho decided to buy the Groupon, paying $2,100 initially. After consulting with the doctor, he upgraded his surgery to an all-laser procedure for $1,000 more. At the time, Cho’s credit card issuer was offering a 20% cash back promotion on Groupon purchases. In all, he saved more than $1,300.
For more on the USAToday story see: Uninsured turn to daily deal sites for health care.