One small-town OD breaks out of the box and inspires his customers to embrace more fashion-forward eyewear styles. Dr. Scott Keating’s gamble, and not-insignificant investment, paid off and helped his Dover, OH-based Vision Trends find serious success.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 edition of INVISION.
THE IDEA: Sell unique frames to a small, middle-income town. “My town is about 15,000 people,” Dr. Scott Keating says, and he likes to sell unique, fashionable frames that won’t break the bank — a risk in a middle-American town where many would play it safe with more classic and traditional styles. Some examples of his frame mix include Specs of Wood, David Green Eyewear, and Coco Song, which all retail for about $180 to $250. “Our office offers about 1,300 frames and 700 of them are unique companies not found in our large region,” he says. “Our dispensary is now known as the place to get unique and fashion-forward eyewear that’s not high-end.”
THE EXECUTION: Keating took a risk, both philosophically and financially, and stepped out of the comfort zone of many of his local competitors. He also highlighted his distinct and forward-thinking selection with displays and advertising that was just as original. “We opened cold four years ago,” he says, “and I started from ground zero. I spent $20,000 in displays and another $85,000 in frames. Sounds like a lot but it paid off quickly.” He also used “walking models” to advertise for him by picking people in public positions, like supermarket cashiers, greeters at day spas, and retail workers, and asked them to wear a unique frame from Vision Trends. “We picked something that flattered them but was very bold,” Keating explains.
Keating was creative when it came to displaying the frames in the store too. “We set our wood frames on tree limbs or we put our frames with real gold sitting in a little treasure chest full of fake gold coins,” he says. Another great perk Keating thought of was to give away freebies with purchase. “We present customers their glasses on velvet trays with nice gift bags containing a cleaning cloth, spray, chocolates, and a thank you card with offers for discounts on second pairs,” he says. “We make our customers feel special when picking up their eyewear because we care about them.”
THE REWARDS: People who shop with him often get compliments and recommend Vision Trends, and now many in town know of the shop right off the bat. “Once a patient steps out of their comfort zone a little bit, with your guidance, and picks something unique, they get so many compliments, that you have a loyal customer for life,” Keating says. “People used to ask, ‘Where did you get those awesome glasses?’ Now they say, ‘I bet you got those glasses at Vision Trends.’ That makes me happy!”
DO IT YOURSELF
Urge customers to go for bolder, more unique frames.
➤ Locate eyewear brands that are hard to find, or not widely available in your town. Pick unique, colorful, and decorative frames.
➤ Bring attitude and confidence. You might look silly but if you’re confident, people will get involved, have a good time and tell all their friends about the coolest optometry office in town.
➤ Have fun with displays! Forget boring old frame racks. Go to a local party supply or craft store to find themed decorations.
➤ Think of creative ways to market and advertise locally to further set yourself apart.
➤ Give away a few goodies with purchases — candy, a branded case, etc. — make the customer want to come back.