IMPROVED CONTACT LENS TECHNOLOGIES MEAN GREATER SALES AND PATIENT SATISFACTION
The contact lens market is a tricky business, but it’s a potentially lucrative one. Bricks-and-mortar ECPs used to have the contact lens market cornered, but that’s no longer true. Online contact lens sales are big business: Industry trend analyst IBISWorld reports that the online market was at $8 billion last year and grew an average of 8.1 percent each year from 2008 to 2013. The Vision Council’s latest estimates show 18 percent of all contact lenses in the U.S. are now bought online. With so much Internet competition — as well as from other local practices — how can ECPs keep their contact lens patients? One way: By staying on top of the latest advancements and products, you’ll be able to serve your patients and recommend contacts targeted to their personal needs. The Internet can’t do that. And don’t be afraid to try new sales and education techniques, especially with people who say they can’t wear contacts. We’ve asked top vendors, as well as an ECP who sells contact lenses online and in his practice, for advice on how you can boost your contact lens sales and keep people happy with their lenses. — By CORRIE PELC
PRODUCTS FROM TOP LENS COMPANIES
Daily disposables are the fastest-growing contact lens segment. Alcon recently expanded its comprehensive Dailies portfolio to include toric and multifocal options as well as Dailies Total1, a water gradient contact lens designed to provide all-day comfort.
CooperVision’s Biofinity premium silicone hydrogel lenses provide comfort and sharp performance in sphere, toric, multifocal and XR lenses. Other CooperVision lines include Avaira and Proclear.
Duette Progressive is the newest contact from SynergEyes, with gas-permeable optics at a price competitive with soft multifocals. They’re easy to fit, too, and help your patients enjoy better near, intermediate and distance vision.
Sauflon offers Fresh Day silicone hydrogel daily disposable contacts, available through Vision Source. The family of sphere, toric and multifocal silicone hydrogel daily disposables meet a broad range of practitioner and patient needs.
Johnson & Johnson’s selection includes Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus to lessen dry eye (in spherical and for astigmatism and presbyopia); 1-Day Acuvue TruEye, with the highest level of UV-blocking available; and 1-Day Acuvue Moist (in spherical and for astigmatism).
Bausch + Lomb’s offerings include Biotrue Oneday, which is made from a next generation, bio-inspired material called HyperGel; PureVision2 multi-focal contact lenses for presbyopia, featuring a unique three-zone progressive design; and the company’s newest lens innovation, Bausch + Lomb Ultra with MoistureSeal, a technology the company says can help reduce dehydration caused by hours spent on digital devices.
POINTS TO CONSIDER
We need to understand not only why people choose contact lenses, but also why some stop wearing them. New technologies that improve fit and performance will enable ECPs to sell more lenses. — Bob Ferrigno, CooperVision
Never underestimate how much your opinion matters. Patients want your help to feel, see and look their best. Strong recommendations from you and your staff can help patients find the right lens that allows them to enjoy a better quality of life. —Jim Murphy, Alcon
Rephrase questions in a way that offers a solution. “Would you like to be as comfortable at the end of day as you are in the beginning of the day?” Changing the question can encourage lens upgrades and help increase sales. — Dr. Benjamin Chudner, Bausch + Lomb
Emphasize how easy contact lenses are to handle, how comfortable they are to wear, and proactively mention them during every eye examination. — Laura Angelini, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care
Patients are willing to pay more for daily disposable lenses because of the convenience the lenses provide and the elimination of solutions costs. — Brad Jones, Sauflon
Presbyopes have many friends that are presbyopes. Make your patients happy by providing a technologically advanced contact lens that lets them get rid of their readers. They will tell their friends. And their friends will come see you. — Louise Curcio, SynergEyes
In addition to a full collection of marketing collateral — brochures, testimonials and a new patient app — we can provide ECPs with educational PowerPoint presentations and white papers to ensure they are up to date on the latest information about CooperVision contact lenses. — Catherine Muriel, CooperVision
SynergEyes offers ECPs a chair-side tool that explains the benefits of hybrid lenses and how they compare to traditional soft contact lenses. We also have a lens care and handling guide and online videos at synergeyes.com that explain how to handle and care for your Duette Progressive lenses. — Curcio
Alcon offers access to in-office educational brochures, posters, videos and best practice tips to help them explain the advantages of new technologies. We also offer advice for having cost discussions, as we don’t believe contact lenses should be sold as commodities. — Dr. Carla Mack, Alcon
Bausch + Lomb offers a variety of materials to help ECPs educate and inform their patients of new technology and advancements in today’s contact lens market, including social media content, product brochures, instructional videos for in-office viewing and other material such as posters and leaflets. — Chudner
Daily disposables are the healthiest and safest contact lens modality. Research shows that patients wearing extended wear lenses are 2.5 to 8 times more likely to have a corneal complication than those wearing daily wear lenses, and patients wearing reusable lenses are 12.5 times more likely to have a corneal complication than those wearing daily disposables. — Dr. Rick Franz, Sauflon
WHAT ECPs SAY
DR. LEE DODGE
Visualeyes Optometry, Sherman Oaks, CA
“Selling online can be simple. Many companies are willing to help you.”
“Many patients are unaware of the availability of contact lenses. Patients with astigmatism and presbyopia often think that contact lenses are not for them, and with the products that are out there today, they are wrong.”
“We educate every patient on the necessity of a year supply. It helps them with compliance, it is a huge convenience for them throughout the year, and it saves them money. Many contact lens vendors have sheets that you can fill out in front of the patients to show them how much they save with a year supply of contact lenses. Once it is written in front of them, they can see the savings, which translates into more sales for the office and happier patients.”
“All new contact lenses wearers (along with all existing contact lens wearers) are informed about the importance of contact lens care. They are instructed on contact lens care and cleaning, when to throw the lenses away, what to do if the contact lenses become uncomfortable and when to return to the office.”
“I have been selling contact lenses online for a few years now. It is definitely not the majority of my business, but I feel that if I can retain a few patients a year who prefer shopping online, then it is well worth it.”
“Selling online can be simple. There are many companies out there that are willing to help you. ABB, for example, has an IT employee that will easily help you integrate their contact lens store onto your site so that your patients may shop on your website 24/7, and you get the credit. Simply contact your representatives.” (See invmag.us/7142 for more information on ABB’s YourLens program.)
“I don’t have to pay anything extra to sell online. It has slowly grown over the years. There seems to be more of an increase when staff mentions it more to the patients. I am also in the midst of changing my website to highlight the fact that contacts can be purchased on my site.”
BausCh + Lomb
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care
(877) 733-2012, Option 1