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Brief Published: 5 Mar 2019

Medi-Retail: Selfridges Hosts Cosmetic Dentistry Concession

Straight Teeth Direct x Selfridges

Shrewdly spearheading the nascent collision of retail and health, Selfridges’ London flagship is biting into the £60bn ($78bn) global oral healthcare market (Research and Markets, 2018) with a digital dentistry pop-up run by UK-based invisible aligners start-up, Straight Teeth Direct.

Raising brand awareness and generating some up-close research and development insights (see Proto Stores in Brand Spaces 2019/20), Straight Teeth Direct is showcasing its proprietary aligner kits in the British department store’s Smartech space. Located on the lower ground floor, it highlights new retail technology concepts.

Straight Teeth Direct has developed a mobile diagnostic app that uses 3D facial recognition and scanning tech to log smiles and tooth shapes. Expert orthodontists then remotely suggest a treatment plan based on AI-boosted insights and predictions. That data is used to design personalised invisible aligners, which are 3D-printed and delivered to customers’ doorsteps anywhere in the world.

The app also acts as a treatment monitoring platform and on-demand consultation interface between users and the remote orthodontist. The speedy process and lack of surgical work cuts costs by almost 70%, with prices starting at around £1,350 ($1,760) or £38.85 ($49.70) per month.

Tapping into the fact that one in two Brits don’t like their smile and over a third are afraid of the dentist’s chair (Dentistry, 2017), Straight Teeth Direct is part of a growing sector of tech-enabled brands modernising and simplifying healthcare – including men’s health platform Manual, and fem-care start-up Hers. Notably in the US, tech giants including Apple and Microsoft have already invested almost $5bn in health start-ups (CBInsights, 2018).

Inspired by this interest in health and the increasing splintering of the $4.7tn wellness economy (sleep, self-care and sex are booming sub-categories), innovative brands such as Selfridges are pivoting their bricks-and-mortar retail towards becoming service hubs – an opportunity explored in our Medi-Leisure report.