If you’ve ever attended a big show like Vision, you know the distinct buzz that surrounds new product launches. Consider bringing some of that festive atmosphere into your optical by hosting an eyewear trunk show that will thrill clients and attract new customers.
While such sales pageantry may seem like more of a fashion and beauty affair, applying the successful practice to eyewear is simple. Sherrie Rogerson, a 27- year optical veteran and Vice President of Sales at Eyewear Designs, illustrates the in and outs of hosting an eyewear trunk show.
Trunk shows work at almost any time of year, but consider seasonal events like back-to-school for children’s glasses, or spring for sunglasses.
Step 1: Prep Work
Trunk shows work at almost any time of year, but consider seasonal events like back-to-school for children’s glasses, or spring for sunglasses. Special events like trunk shows have the greatest impact when held only once or twice a year.
Organize, publicize, and send invitations at least four weeks prior to the event, Rogerson recommends. Tackle your client base and send invites via email, text, snail mail, or ideally, both. This is especially key for clients who are due for an eye exam. Include show info in your recall notices or reminder cards, says Rogerson.
Ensure your show is widely promoted by listing it in the local media, on town websites, and on social media platforms. Send a press release to local publications, and check online to see if your town has a calendar of upcoming events you can take advantage of. Post signage in your shop or practice listing the participating vendors and discounts on offer.
Step 2: Select Your Supplier
“Choose a frame supplier with multiple brands,” says Rogerson. “This is an opportunity to offer products that you typically do not stock.” Since there is no upfront cost for inventory, there’s no risk in offering expanded or unique inventory.
Such an assortment gives customers an opportunity to view a variety of frames, try on different styles and comparison shop with different price points. Rogerson also advises that the supplier bring products from each brand and a company representative is available to meet with clients.
Step 3: Party Mode
Rogerson proposes making your trunk show an all-day event with refreshments, door prizes, and giveaways from participating vendors. If you are going to make the effort, capitalize on a sales opportunity that customers will remember.
Liaise with other local retailers to cross promote. Enlist local artists, bands or other entertaining venues to offer their services and make it more of an event. You might even consider a tie-in with a local charity to attract more publicity while contributing to a worthy cause.
Step 4: In House Perks
Offer a discount on frames and sunglasses the day of the trunk show. “Something enticing, 40% or better,” says Rogerson. Encourage the supplier to provide additional discounts the day the product is sold.
“If possible, add an additional OD to accommodate exam needs,” suggests Rogerson. Use a guest book to capture the names and contact information of customers who attend. These will be a great resource for future shows, and a mailing list to feature new work from you.
Step 5: Work It Like Sherrie Rogerson
- Reach out to more than just current patients/customers.
- Represent many brands in a variety of styles and prices.
- Publicize the event: send a press release, announcement or invitation to local news contacts and post on social media.
- Make it fun. You are hosting a party and who doesn’t like to gather around food, drinks and giveaways?