A good friend, Kyle, shared his last optometric experience with me at a party. He said his doctor and staff “were so amazing,” they had all sorts of high-tech equipment, but the optical left him wanting. He felt as if the offering “was outdated and frankly a bit crusty.” He and his son went on to spend $2,800 on eyewear at a competitor’s. I know the practice and it does have the brands Kyle was looking for and a top-notch staff. So why the disconnect and why did Kyle feel he had to go elsewhere?
Perception is reality.
It was because he felt he would be served better, based on a series of judgments he made. Where did the practice go wrong? Here are a few key areas they should be aware of:
Brand identification and signage. It’s critical that anyone looking into an optical can tell the brands a practice offers within three seconds - the average American’s attention span today. Additionally, there’s a lack of wayfinding and informational signage.
The quick fix: Create consistent signage throughout the optical, reception and waiting spaces that identifies where the Men’s, Women’s, Kids and Sun sections are, as well as your exam process and why the practice is different.
Lighting. Most lighting in practices not only detracts from the products being shown but also makes patients look older and less attractive than they really are.
The quick fix: Replace all lighting with LEDs. A professional lighting plan will cost you, but is well worth it because lighting has the power not only to engage, but attract.
Displays. The frame board is an antiquated concept. Modern eyewear has no place being displayed in boring rows like little soldiers. Frames today have a lot of detail that needs highlighting, so patients know what they are looking at.
The quick fix: Use elegant, clean wood or glass shelving and modern stands to show off the frames being displayed. Free floating shelves no deeper than 10” with built-in LED lighting will serve to both display and illuminate eyewear.
Digital Engagement. Given the lack of digital content, Kyle and his son were likely on their phones while waiting, so probably didn’t pay attention to the TV playing eye health messaging.
The quick fix: Implement useful technologies — tablets and interactive screens — that educate and convert shoppers into buyers, while creating a calm, cool atmosphere.
It’s a hassle to go somewhere else, yet 50 percent of private patients do. Elevate the buying experience with these tactics and you’ll convert many of those who may have gone elsewhere.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 edition of INVISION.