The business of cosmeceuticals: Unplugged

November 9, 2016

Turning dermatologic knowledge into a successful, profitable part of a practice’s bottom line takes business know-how, according to Rancho Mirage, Calif., dermatologist Wendy E. Roberts, M.D, who presented at the 2016 ASDS annual meeting.

Wendy E. Roberts, MDDermatologists are the skin, hair and nail experts, so it makes sense that these providers guide consumers about cosmeceutical use. But turning that knowledge into a successful, profitable part of a practice’s bottom line takes business know-how, according to Rancho Mirage, Calif., dermatologist Wendy E. Roberts, M.D.

Ideally, the business of cosmeceuticals is a win-win for patients and dermatologists, with patients getting the best possible advice and dermatologists generating extra practice revenue, according to Dr. Roberts, who presented on the business of cosmeceuticals today at the 2016 American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) annual meeting in New Orleans, as part of a larger panel discussion, “ASDS Unplugged – Straight Talk about Devices and More.”

Dr. Roberts’ top tips for dermatologists who want to dispense cosmeceuticals through their practices:

Don’t be afraid of the business. Surround yourself with staff members (maybe an aesthetician), who are willing and able to gather information about the best brand fits for your practice. Those partners in practice will then help educate and inspire the rest of the staff to market the products.

“When your staff feels comfortable with the cosmeceuticals, they’re more likely to sell them,” Dr. Roberts says. “That’s the first thing: empower yourself with information.”

Tip two: Tap cosmeceutical brand salespeople for information about sales strategies that work at other practices, products that are “rock stars,” rather than duds and more.

The third tip--this is a big one, according to Dr. Roberts--bundle the cosmeceutical products you sell in the practice into your procedures.

“It’s amazing how you can increase revenue by bundling your cosmeceuticals in with procedures,” Dr. Roberts says.

In essence, dermatologists performing a laser procedure would bundle three or so companion products that enhance outcomes before or after laser procedures into the price.

“You give patients a great price [in the bundling], and, by doing that, you’re going to sell more cosmeceuticals, which leads to higher revenue, leads to better company relationships and, without even knowing it, you’re going to move through a lot of inventory,” Dr. Roberts says. “Even if that patient doesn’t repeat the procedure, he or she might continue to buy the product.”

One thing that Dr. Roberts says is a mistake is to carry a lot of product lines.

“More than likely you won’t sell them quickly. It’s better to carry fewer lines and have products that are home runs. I don’t sell anything that’s not a home run product,” Dr. Roberts says.

Disclosure: Dr. Roberts consults for and receives honoraria from Restorsea, MD Rejuvena, Sente and Skin Medica.