With the proliferation of online retailers such as Amazon and Gilt, people have the belief that they can get a better deal online. Great service and a great selection of glasses, contact lens, and other eye care products can only get you so far.
One way to gauge whether your practice is meeting the desired threshold for profitability is to track your activity ratios. This measures how well your practice is able to convert assets into cash or sales.
Learn more about activity ratios here.
Here are a couple of things you can do to combat this online purchase trend to retain your patients’ eyewear purchases and grow your bottom line.
Use part of your exam time to make recommendations.
Optometrists have a set amount of time with a patient before they have to move onto the next patient. Take a couple of minutes to explain how a product would be beneficial for the patient and why you are recommending. If it’s a product you have on hand, walk the patient over to the case and show them. The benefit of this is that you have control over how and it serves as a transition time where you can hand off the patient to your staff and then bring in your next patient.
Have a smooth hand off to your staff.
The exam is not complete the moment the patient completes their time with you. Create a smooth handoff to your staff by reviewing your recommendations. This transfers your authority and reaffirms that your patient can trust the staff member.
For example, “John, I want you to meet Claire. Claire is going to give you some more information about the contact lens I recommended for you. Claire, I have prescribed some daily-wear soft lenses for John. Can you help him select one? After that, please update his file to include contact lenses.”
Have a selection of exclusive brands.
Eyewear brands that are new or sold exclusively at authorized dealers are great products to leverage as part of your optical inventory. Start off with a small selection and adjust according to your sales. Highlight the exclusiveness (or “specialness”) of the product. Use social media, emails, and your website to let people know about the brands – why it’s special and why should they have it.
Offer patients a 30-day trial.
Competing against price can be tough, but finding other ways to differentiate your optical products from discount ones found online is a way to help sell premium eyewear products.
You can offer a 30-day trial for products such as polarized sunglasses. Check back with the patient at the end of the month to see if they have been enjoying them. They will most likely opt to keep it and then you can bill them interest free over the next couple months.