What Are Some Ways to Improve Your Optical Sales?
For optometry practices, optical sales are everything. In fact, glasses and contact lens sales make up about 60 percent of revenue for these practices.
But as more and more patients opt for the convenience and price cuts of online retailers, some optometrists are starting to worry that their revenue may suffer.
Luckily, there are several tactics you can use to maximize your sales and keep those sales in house instead of losing them to online competitors.
It starts with looking at the weaknesses of those retailers and designing your practice around combatting them.
Train staff members
A web site doesn’t have helpful staff ready to steer customers toward the right frames.
So capitalize on that by training staff members to maximize their efficiency.
Create orientation procedures to use when new employees join your practice. By creating and implementing established training procedures, your office won’t have to scramble to teach new employees.
On the other hand, training as you go could create scattered instruction. It could waste the valuable time of new and veteran employees alike.
More established orientation procedures also ensure that all employees receive the same training. If there are updates or changes to your office procedures, schedule special sessions so everyone continues to receive the same information.
When all employees are on the same page, they’ll be better able to represent your products, services, and office as a whole.
Technology could also help you and your staff represent your office, products, and services.
Use your practice’s website as a sales tool. Add web pages about your optical services. Your patients might know you for your medical expertise, but might be unaware that you offer, fit, and sell eyewear.
Applying technology could also assist you and your staff members. Investing in specialized eye care software could help you make and manage sales.
Connecting these tools to your practice’s electronic health record and practice management systems could help you every step of the way.
How? Say your patient receives cataract surgery at your clinic, needs to schedule appointments before and after their procedure, and then requires a new eyeglasses prescription. Along the way, the patient has questions about the procedure, their changing vision, and their insurance coverage.
Advanced eye care software could help you and your staff offer assistance. It’ll help them schedule appointments and surgeries, manage insurance and payment issues related to them, and store relevant information in the patient’s electronic health records (EHRs).
By integrating eye care software to your online patient portal, you could save your patients’ eyewear prescriptions and enable your patients and staff members to exchange messages, ask and answer questions, and share additional information.
Such comprehensive software solutions provide personalized assistance that online eyewear retailers just can’t match.
Merchandise your products
People might not know what to buy (or how to buy it) unless you show them.
Pay attention to how you merchandise your products. Highlighting their best features could highlight your best features.
If you have a brick-and-mortar optical store or optical area in your medical office, use this space to your advantage.
Make sure different eyeglass frames and contact lenses are easy to find and try on, if applicable. This physical contact lets them see, touch, and interact with your products in ways no website can match.
Don’t stash eyeglass frames in dark corners or in drawers. Put them on display in well-lit areas. Customers might not know what they’re looking for, but they might see something that catches their eyes, something they maybe never considered before.
Arrange your products in ways that please the eye and trigger curiosity. If people find displays attractive, they may linger longer to look them over.
Throughout your store, add posters and other literature that explains the frames’ features, use, warranties, or other pertinent information. Less work on the part of the patients may lead to easier sales transactions.
Create welcoming environments
Make your online and in-person merchandising environments warm and welcoming.
When designing your website, include flattering product photographs and an attractive layout. You’ll want to include descriptions of your optical goods and services, but don’t add so much text that it overwhelms the page. When in doubt, make your pages simpler.
In addition to being attractive, your web pages should be easy to use. Add accessibility features for people who have vision issues or other special needs. Such features could include larger font sizes and text that’s a contrasting color from the background of the web page.
Customers’ real-life experiences should also be inviting. Make sure your store or optical area is well-lit and contains comfortable seating. Providing enough space for private conversations with your staff members could also create peace of mind and more pleasant experiences.
In fact, emphasizing conversation could help you seal the optical deal. Most people don’t want heavy-handed sales pitches. They want to talk with someone in a low-pressure environment.
They want and need to talk with people who know about eyes and vision, particularly their eyes and vision. They’re eager to speak with people who will answer their questions, assist them, and help them fulfill their needs.
When people feel that others truly care about them, not just their money, they may be more likely to buy. By offering welcoming spaces and building personal relationships, you can help make this happen.
Specialize your optical offerings
Sales aren’t just about people and places, though. They’re also about specific items.
That is, product sales may increase if you have more (and more desirable) products to sell.
Diversification could assist you here. In your brick-and-mortar optical, you might want to offer designer frames, frames used for specific activities, or children’s frames.
Consider the clientele of your eye care practice. If a lot of your patients are children or young people, for example, you could stock larger amounts of eyewear for younger clients. Create areas in your optical geared for them, with adjustable seats, mirrors of different heights, and literature targeted toward different age groups.
Or, if you have patients with higher incomes, you might want to emphasize luxury. Carry high-end brands of eyewear and display them in equally luxurious areas.
Placing some eyeglass frames in locked cabinets sets them apart physically and psychologically. It could portray your offerings as exclusive and luxurious. As an added bonus, it could also keep them safer from theft.
Not all your patients and clients will have the means or inclination to buy pricier products, though.
To entice them, consider offering discounts, promotions, and/or rewards for loyalty.
For patients who buy a pair of prescription eyeglasses, you might offer ½ off on an additional pair of glasses, such as some sunglasses. If multiple members of a family visit your medical practice and optical, you might offer them discounts on their purchases.
You could also reward long-time patience for their patronage by offering them a free or greatly reduced pair of eyeglass frames after they’ve purchased five pairs from you. Or, offer them discounts if they’ve visited you a lot in the past, say 1% for every year they’ve been a patient or customer.
Include coupons on your digital patient portal. You could make the discounts greater if patients submit feedback or take a survey. Since these actions encourage patients to use your online tools and communicate with you, they could be win-wins for everyone.
Ask for and incorporate feedback
Feedback, in fact, could help drive sales as well.
Offering coupons or other incentives for feedback about your practice and optical could be a good way to solicit such opinions.
Creating a suggestion box that allows patients to add anonymous comments could also be helpful. By making the communication anonymous, you might be more likely to receive more honest statements.
These statements might not be easy to accept, but they’re important. They let you know what patients and customers are really thinking and could serve as guidance for making what could be much-needed changes.
If you need some assistance making these changes, you could contact Eye Care Leaders. We’ll help you find and implement digital solutions to improve your eye care practice and optical for the better.
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