One year after clicking the “place order” button to purchase dental supplies online through The Dentists Service Company’s Marketplace, James Stephens, DDS, added up his 12-month savings — $13,000 total. Stephens, who owns a Palo Alto practice with his wife and business partner Susan Park, DDS, was among the first dentists to test the new TDSC Marketplace in February 2017, and he knew at the time that CDA was about to change the way dentists buy supplies.
“The savings are substantial — buying through the Marketplace has saved us enough money to cover our tripartite dues, invest in our practice and even take a vacation,” said Stephens, past CDA president and past TDSC board chair. “The Marketplace has become the new norm in my office and it provides significant savings to my practice.”
After a successful testing phase, the TDSC Marketplace was launched last June as a free benefit to all CDA members in response to members’ desire to have more control over their practices, including the ability to compete with large group practices that negotiate supplies at lower prices than solo practice owners.
“Big dental supply companies set prices the way they want to because they can,” said Ruchi Sahota, DDS, associate editor of the CDA Journal. In her February2018 editorial “One-Stop Shopping Equals Savings and Support,” Sahota enthusiastically urged all CDA members to buy supplies through the Marketplace, which has saved her Fremont practice time and money. “If we want these amazing prices to stick around, then we have to buy. We have to utilize the Marketplace. The more we buy, the bigger TDSC’s buying power becomes. The more we buy, the more TDSC can negotiate prices.”
Built on values important to dentists, the Marketplace delivers savings and selection through an easy-to-use site for members and office teams who handle supply ordering. From composites to bonding agents, burs and gloves, the Marketplace boasts more than 25,000 products across 32 categories, with each item from a trusted, authorized vendor.
Throughout 2017, the Marketplace platform added enhancements with features like “saved lists,” which offer the ability to save frequently ordered items and to set automated subscriptions for products ordered regularly to ensure a practice never runs out of the things used most. With a large catalog selection, products are categorized in a logical way and are easy to find via the on-site search function. Thanks to consistent feedback and hands-on support from early shoppers, the Marketplace has continually improved in this area, and today shoppers can easily search and find products by their product name, description or product number.
In its inaugural year, the Marketplace garnered national attention, not only from dental industry manufacturers and suppliers but also dental-related publications. CDA member Jonathan Ford, DDS, shared his Marketplace experiences in both Dentistry IQ and Dental Economics magazines. In his January 2018 Dental Economics article, “How I compete with that DSO-supported office down the street,” Ford wrote that the Marketplace saved his practice more than $4,800 in the first six months.
“Buying online has affected every other facet of the retail economy, so it’s no surprise that as the digital and dental worlds have evolved, e-commerce has found its way into the dental supply landscape as well,” Ford wrote. “Organized dentistry is at its best when we can leverage the shared strength of our membership to find innovative ways to stay ahead of a shifting landscape.”
Following the Marketplace’s successful first year, TDSC is now focusing on growth for 2018. As more members discover significant savings on their dental supplies, CDA and TDSC want to ensure that all members know about this newest member benefit so they can capitalize on savings for their practices. Additionally, work is underway on out-of-state expansion plans that would allow the Marketplace to strengthen the group’s buying power and continue to drive savings.
TDSC Marketplace access is a free benefit of CDA membership. Shop the Marketplace to compare products and see savings.