The Virto Black launch from Phonak is a most interesting strategy. Phonak has decided to take advantage of the the burgeoning acceptance of Hearables to to attack the stigma that still surrounds hearing aid use. That makes a lot of sense from everybody’s perspective.
I believe the Virto Black delivers an opportunity for hearing care professionals to penetrate the wider consumer market. It may well assist us to widen our own offering and increase our relevance in a changing market. let’s talk Virto Black and opportunity.
The device has garnered a huge amount of attention from the wider consumer electronics world and reports on it have appeared on numerous websites that would never usually report on hearing aids such as Engadget and The Verge.
They are very excited by the idea of an ear-level device with outstanding levels of connectivity with such long battery life. When you are used to battery life in the four-hour range, four days is quite amazing.
How can we take advantage of it moving forward? I think we should consider offering the base level device with no ongoing service package to consumers at a typical consumer electronics mark-up, with a fee for the impression.
That basically would be charging for impression taking and perhaps a 30% mark-up on the devices. Perhaps a small fitting fee as well depending on how you choose to deliver the device.
This strategy would make the Virto Black attractive as a Hearable to consumers. Yes, it would be a high priced hearable offering, but nevertheless, it offers some pretty outstanding connectivity and features that may well justify that cost in the mind of consumers.
Manufacturers Need To Get Onboard
The strategy would be even better if Phonak got fully on board with it and offered a base level lower than the 30 level of technology. Let’s call it the Virto 10 technology. That would enable the profession to offer a cheaper alternative that would be more attractive to consumers.
I have spoken about this before and one of the manufacturers needs to lead the charge here. It seems that Phonak with the Virto Black is ideally suited to do so. The connection to any Bluetooth device is really what makes it ideal for this type of strategy.
What are your thoughts on moving into Hearables? Do you see value within your Practice for the idea?