Cutting Out The Middle Man

January 10, 2019

What do car dealers and orthodontists have in common? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

As I analyze my behavior in this post-Internet world, there is a common denominator that I find in almost of all services I utilize, items I buy and entertainment I consume: out with the middle man.

I recognize that this is not a new trend, and that is has been around for some time now. Think about Netflix, and how they disrupted the entertainment business by bypassing cable companies and bringing entertainment straight to the masses. Spotify — same story. Amazon. You see where I’m going. My point is this: B2C has never been as literal as it is today.

This means that there are critical parts of the purchase cycle that are being eliminated or digitalized. The part where you develop brand affinity due to that amazing sales person, the part where you get to test the object before you commit to your purchase, the education you receive that’s vital to the purchase’s purpose, and most importantly the shopping experience that transforms the purchase into a memory. All this is gone.

To better illustrate what I’m trying to say, I included two examples that I found myself lured by. As I read through their websites, get their snail mail and even purchase their services, I’m intrigued by is how they have (successfully or not), managed to translate the equivalent of human interaction into the digital experience. This opens up a whole area of UX/XE, which seems to be the next big thing.

Cars
With brands offering subscription services, like Care by Volvo or AccessMyBMW there is no need to go to a car dealership. What you give up on new car smells and the test drives, you gain in efficiency, customization and convenience.

Orthodontics
Smile Direct Club and Candid Smile are two of the most well known tele-dentistry companies that seem to be democratizing a straight smile. By outsourcing their consults to certified professionals in remote locations, they are able to cut out multiple visits to an orthodontist specialist, the need for auxiliary staff and physical office. What this means for consumers: a one-time visit and less than 50 percent of the original cost of orthodontic treatment. Sign me up!

The more I think about this, the more it seems like the whole “middle-man-out” revolution is here to stay. So, what else do car dealers and orthodontists have in common? Their time might be up.