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Posted by Eric Goldschein - 01 February, 2019

How the Dental Industry Missed the Mark and Opens Up Room for Disruption

The here and now of B2B selling is eCommerce, and as more and more B2B companies look to eCommerce to market and sell their products, knowing what works and what doesn’t is crucial to staying ahead.

How the dental supplies industry is faring

Apruve recently did a comparative study of the top dental supplies companies and how their eCommerce websites scored in three categories (user experience and usability, checkout, and B2B product needs). 

The report showed where the dental supplies industry missed the mark and on which fronts specific sites performed exceptionally well:

#1. Accessibility

The accessibility barrier is quite high on several dental sites. In many cases, an online shopper without a practicing dental license cannot even look at the site’s products and pricing details. The buying process is immediately halted by a tedious verification and approval process. 

Several companies required a document to be downloaded, filled out, and sent back to the seller for shoppers to access the products page. In other cases, buyer profile pages need to be filled out for the visitor to continue shopping around.

While this measure is useful for weeding out non-serious buyers, it’s also a way to limit the site’s selling potential. Filling out profiles and sending applications take time, and buyers may see this as too cumbersome, mainly if all they want is to find out which site offers the cheapest dental supplies.

#2. B2B features

Regarding features that B2B buyers look for in eCommerce stores, Apruve’s research showed that:

  • Only 23% of dental supplies companies offered bulk pricing discounts, 
  • 40% allowed customers to save their carts, 
  • 30% showed ratings or reviews on their product pages, 
  • And only 36% allowed customers to save a credit card for future payments.


Dental supply company report

Bulk pricing

Instead of bulk pricing, some companies offered coupons or discounted pricing for individual products, a strategy that works well for B2C eCommerce but not for B2B where buyers often buy in bulk.

Save a shopping cart or wishlist

One of the many ways B2B buying is different from B2C is the number of people involved in the buying process. Often, the person who shops around for products is not the same person who issues the final approval. 

Apruve found that of the top 30 dental sites:

  • Only 11 allowed shoppers to save their wish list or shopping cart,
  • And a paltry 23% permitted shoppers to share their shopping carts or wishlists with colleagues.

Ratings and reviews

Whether it’s the B2B or B2C buyer, before finalizing a purchase, shoppers do their research online. As such, ratings and reviews play a crucial role. Studies show that a one-star rating increase can lead to a 5% to 9% boost in revenue, while each negative review can cost a business approximately 30 customers.

Apruve found that despite the many reasons for dental supplies companies to encourage their customers to leave reviews for other buyers, only 30% do so.

#3. Checkout

The Apruve study also highlighted several dental supplies sites that performed well in various aspects. The site that got a perfect score in the checkout category put to good use numerous checkout tools to increase their eCommerce sales:

This top-performing dental site offers:

  • The ability to save and email a shopping cart
  • The ability to store credit cards for future payments
  • Multiple shipping options 
  • Easy reordering options based on the customer’s purchase history
  • Order history viewing
  • Shipment tracking
  • Payment of online invoices

Dental supply eCommerce

#4. Account management

The study also looked into the account management setup of another dental supplies site. This site offers easy B2B account management for customers where they can reorder products, save products to a wishlist, view past orders, and add recurring profiles - all from the same account portal page.

#5. Site design and functionality

Another top dental supplies site showed mastery of eCommerce site design and functionality. Each of their product pages provides detailed product information. High-quality product images are used, and immediately, the site’s visitor can distinguish between dental equipment and supplies, easily narrowing their search to the specific product they’re looking for.

And because the site is keen on providing quality customer service, translation tools are also available for non-English-speaking visitors.

Introducing Apruve’s Apruval Rating

The Apruval Rating, in a nutshell, calculates various online store metrics and how the company behind the store interacts with their customers. Apruve has been releasing reports across a multitude of verticals to show businesses the strengths and weaknesses of their online presence to increase the quality of the B2B eCommerce shopping experience.

Final word

The dental supplies industry is an industry vertical defined by long fulfillment lead times, bulk ordering, repeat purchases, and credit payment terms. Our study may have uncovered areas where the industry is lacking when it comes to eCommerce, but the same report also provides insight into how dental supplies companies can use their sites to better serve their customers. 

Dental Supply Companies


Topics: Management, Sales & Marketing, B2B Marketing