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Manager's To-Do

Get Ready for the Holidays With Our November To-Dos

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Oct 30-Nov 4

OPERATIONS Fine-tune exam schedules. HSA and FSA spending brings in revenue this time of year; you want doctors in for extra hours or squeezing in more patients.

MARKETING Did we mention promoting flex benefits? Call a meeting and get systematic about getting your message out. Reinforce it in calls, social media and correspondence.

OPERATIONS This month the clocks go back; it’s a reminder to back up critical data. Losing it can wipe out a small business. This week you still have time to back up your systems.

Nov 6-11

INVENTORY Investigate vendor spiffs. Suppliers want their lines to succeed; take advantage of their incentives.

TRAINING The holiday sales season is coming; monitor individual performance this month. Teach at every opportunity.

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MARKETING Clean up your direct-mail marketing lists. Cut the “least valuable” 10 percent and e-mail them instead. 

Nov 13-18

STOCK Make up a list of last-minute stocking stuffers and impulse buys — sunglass cords, repair kits, cleaning cloths and cute readers are all great options. 

SALES Create employee awards for the holidays – Top Seller, Most Items Sold, Biggest Single Sale – to reward as many salespeople as possible. Ask vendors to provide prizes.

MARKETING Offer free eyewear to people who work with the public if they agree to be styled by you. “We put them in cutting edge shapes and colors that stand out. They give testimonials when people ask where they got the awesome glasses,” says Dr. Scott Keating, owner, Vision Trends, Dover, OH. 

Nov 20-25

STORE Thanksgiving is Nov. 23. Hold a decorating party one night after work, or on a Monday (if you’re closed that day). Play music, order pizzas, have fun! Red and green are the simplest way to say “Christmas,” but if they clash with your store, go an alternate route: blue and white?

ONLINE In the Internet Age, holiday-season shopping begins as consumers start visiting retailers’ sites. Update yours with seasonal elements; feature gift ideas including one special every few days.

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MARKETING Four weeks to Christmas. Increase e-mail campaigns to twice a week, scheduling them on Thursdays or Fridays to stimulate purchases on the weekend.

Nov 27-Dec 2

MARKETING Nov. 28 is Cyber Monday. Even if you don’t offer e-commerce, you should still post a big special on your site and alert customers via e-mail and social. 

MARKETING Keep posting your event schedule on your social media outlets – mailed invites can go astray.

DISPLAY Get your hot sellers front and center. Holiday shoppers want “sure things” more than an experience.


This article originally appeared in the October 2017 edition of INVISION.

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Manager's To-Do

Get Your OD’s Cleaning Those Frame Boards and More Manager’s To-Dos for February

And planning for Valentine’s Day and VEE should be well underway.

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Jan 26-Feb 1

INVENTORY Buying season is on the way (Vision Expo East starts March 27). It’s time to take a hard look at your inventory.

Feb 2-8

MARKETING Make plans to visit some local nursing homes to share the love this Valentine’s Day. Take flowers and business cards and prepare some vision-related conversational topics.

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TRAINING If your doctors do not do the frame buying, have them straighten up the frame boards at least once every two weeks. This way, they’ll become much more familiar with the product — and your frame sales will increase!

Feb 9-15

INVENTORY In the months ahead of VEE, use Pinterest to build a list of the frames you like, supported with captions that provide the model details (adding the Pinterest button to your browser will make this easier.) When you reach a vendor you’re interested in, whip out your phone and call up your boards.

MARKETING The America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest honors the country’s most innovative eyecare businesses. Enter before it closes in March: invisionmag.com/AFOR.

Feb 16-22

WEBSITE If you haven’t already, post a photo of your storefront on your website, along with text-based directions. It makes it easier for shoppers to find you and eases threshold resistance.

TRAINING Training staff on equipment and procedures always seems like a job for another day. Want an effectively run office? Today is that day.

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Feb 23-29

MARKETING Flex dollars are still out there. Keep reminding people who rolled over 2019 benefits or have spring deadlines.

FINANCES If you haven’t updated your props and fixtures for five years or more, they’re showing their age. Amortize and depreciate them as you do other equipment. Set a budget and plan to acquire new ones routinely. Discard at the first sign of overuse. Faded or dirty elements affect consumer perception.

INSURANCE Organize all insurance plan information. Current information should be in an easily accessible folder.

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Manager's To-Do

Make Your Staff Go Shopping and More Manager’s To-Dos for March

Plus see how the whole team can benefit from joining the AOA.

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Mar. 1-7

ASSOCIATIONS Recommend all staff, both opticians and paras, join the American Optometric Association, if they haven’t already. It’s easy to register, free to most if your doctor is a member, and comes with a bunch of benefits including free credits for certification renewal, access to programs and services, education and training. Next, sign them up for your state association.

STAFF It’s time for your twice-yearly employee reviews. Trainer Kate Peterson urges you to set up a professional development plan for each employee — and for yourself. “Ask what they feel they need to learn or even what they would just like to learn, then challenge them to come up with a plan to get it done,” she says. Give them a week to get it done and then work out the logistics.

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Mar. 8-14

TRADE SHOWS If you’re headed to Vision Expo East this year (starts Mar. 26), make networking your big goal, not just to solidify and build on existing relationships but to meet new people (from all sides of the industry). Scout new lines, attend lessons, but leave lots of “white time” for those serendipitous encounters that are the real catalysts of business success.

MARKETING Create a signup area on your website for visitors to provide their email addresses to receive promotions and store information via email.

Mar. 15-21

MARKETING Start plotting a trunk show for summer along with the accompanying social media and marketing promotions.

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BRANDING Add a line at the bottom of all store correspondence that says: “Shop and support local! By shopping locally, you save on emissions and help the local economy.”

MANAGEMENT Work on a “save the day” protocol for when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to and orders are delayed or a patient is double booked or whatever. A gift card that entitles the bearer to a free coffee or movie will smooth ruffled feathers.

Mar. 22-28

MANAGEMENT Bring a chair to your next store meeting and tell staff it represents the missing element from your conversations: the customer. Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos swears that the “presence” of a customer gives Amazon the confidence to innovate in a more responsive way.

RESEARCH Give each member of staff a different afternoon to shop your rivals. It’ll let you know what the competition is up to, and make your staff feel involved.

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Create Your Own Holiday and More March Events

Including capitalizing on ‘Madness’ and puppies!

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15 MARCH MADNESS, a.k.a. the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, starts today and for retailers the date’s become one of surprisingly rich potential, be it to do good, raise awareness (basketball is the leading cause of eye injuries in young males) or just leverage the general madness theme. Alpine Vision in Colorado Springs, CO, chose the first, donating a percentage of proceeds from sales during the tournament to a charity called Nothing But Nets, which fights malaria in Africa.

8 WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK comes just a month after Glaucoma Month but it’s another opportunity to get out and speak about the condition in your community. See how you can get involved here: worldglaucomaweek.org

23 Puppies were made for social media … or maybe puppies made social media? What is beyond a doubt is that NATIONAL PUPPY DAY brings the two together beautifully. Share a pic of your store mascot.

26 The staggering success of Singles’ Day in November ($30 billion in retail sales in China alone), should serve as a lesson to all retailers that dates — as goofy as they seem ­— can be unmatched marketing pegs. On MAKE UP YOUR OWN HOLIDAY DAY, give thought to what date could set your business apart; it could be an anniversary, a countdown to the sale of your 5,000th pair of contacts, or a twist on National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (an actual event in Pennsylvania) and start marketing the heck out of it.

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