Ask INVISION: September 2015

How can I boost impulse purchases?

Never underestimate the power of your staff wearing the products you sell, whether it’s frames or other face-enhancing products. Bernadette Jiwa of The Story of Telling blog writes of a beauty salon where a customer named Kelly “noticed a discreet, but pretty display of ‘non toxic’ lipsticks and commented on the gorgeous colors. The employee showed her the color she herself was wearing and recounted that the lipsticks were safe enough to eat. Kelly immediately chose one and handed it over with her card without asking the price. Her total went from $30 to $66 in an instant, and she left the salon happy.” Adds Jiwa, “Kelly didn’t need to hear a story about value that evening. What she needed was to believe a story about self-care. No big pitch required. The best salespeople know when to stay quiet and allow the customer to fall in love with the product, without giving her a list of reasons why they think she should.” And maybe you ought to add a small cosmetics display in your eyewear shop!

We’re hearing a lot about the rise in digital eyestrain among kids. How can we bring this up with parents?

Fall is an ideal time to talk with families about the big rise in digital eyestrain and potential problems that kids (and we all) face from being on electronic devices all day. Here are a few key points to make: 1) Consider investing in computer eyewear for your child to prevent digital eyestrain and to block blue light exposure; 2) Limit overall screen time and think 20/20/20: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and stare at something 20 feet away; 3) Make sure children don’t put the screen too close to their eyes, especially for long periods of time, since this can accelerate myopia; 4) Set up your child’s computer workspace with a chair that encourages correct posture, with both feet flat on the floor.

We want a good-smelling store without irritating people’s eyes. Any suggestions?

Says Dr. Altaz Shazani of Lynn Valley Optometry in North Vancouver, BC, Canada, “We had a scent machine but worried about allergies.” A staff member experienced an essential oils nebulizer at a lululemon shop, and Lynn Valley Optometry now uses citrus-scented essential oils in its exam rooms. A 2013 article from Optometric Management explored the science of scent and sound for eyecare businesses. Read it at, and listen to a Power Hour program on the same topic at

I’m wondering if I should look into doing edging in-house?

If you’re sending $3,000 worth of private-pay work to a lab each month, you may be ready to add in-office finishing, says Jaysun Barr, senior consultant at Santinelli International and a board-certified optician. The formula for success also includes “a balance of staff willingness, a little space and established Rx volume in place.” Barr says in-house finishing can also serve as the “icing on the margins/service cake,” since you’ll be able to redirect charge-back fees from insurance providers to your practice’s bottom line and eliminate the frustrations of outsourcing. It’s always smart to consult both with other ECPs and equipment vendors, but Barr says in-house finishing will usually boost sales and capture rates. Read a story from this month's issue on how one business has added finishing and surfacing labs here.

Should I take a business class?

For some, a college business course is a chance to bat around ideas among a group of like-minded people. For others, it’s a fresh way of thinking about business. Few people, however, discover a newfound entrepreneurial talent within classroom walls. We’re huge advocates of business education. If you need credentials, some online or trade-show-based eyecare CE may be your answer. If you need to add practical business skills, perhaps focus on practical courses or even online programs. If you’re looking for a new direction for your business, sure, consider a straight business course or maybe even an MBA.

I’d like to do a medical mission to a third-world country to help disadvantaged people who need vision care.

Kudos. You’re on your way to doing something that could positively impact many lives, including your own. Organizations to contact include Combat Blindness International (, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (, Lions Club International (, Sightsavers (, Helen Keller International (, Orbis ( and Brien Holden Vision Institute ( We’ll have stories of ECPs who’ve done medical missions work — and good deeds closer to home, too — in our November-December issue. And if you can’t travel, you can still help by raising funds via the World Sight Day Challenge at

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 edition of INVISION.