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Natalie Taylor: 8 Smart Tips For Windows

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Help your practice make a better first impression with creative ideas for lighting, décor and more

Just as the right eyewear can improve your patients’ vision and appearance, creative window displays have the power to give your office a whole new look. Here are eight ways to help your windows generate traffic and spark sales.

1. Got glare? You can build the best display in the world; it’ll be a shame if no one can see it. So first, go outside and look at the window from several angles and even across the street. Address glare with sheets of anti-reflective film you can adhere yourself.

2. The right light. Properly lighting your window is an art, and it can be a costly and labor-intensive aspect of window design. Rewiring the electrical system, installing adjustable accent lighting and investing in colored gel filters are nice luxuries to think about, but challenging expenses to justify. For convenient, less expensive upgrades, consider lights powered by batteries or the sun — and anything with LED bulbs. Your staff will thank you if you can rig up a system with a single on/off switch. Spot-check for distracting shadows, and keep cords safe and inconspicuous.

3. Work the angles. Think about whether most potential clients will see your window on foot or from their cars. An office with little to no foot traffic should focus on a large display visible from the street that is well-lit in the evening. For pedestrians, your display can afford more details and smaller props, including more frames on display.

4. Best backdrops. Whether you hang items from the top of the window frame, or pile eyewear on a shelf, your décor can become visually lost if your busy practice creates distraction in the background. The addition of a backdrop can help displays really pop. For an easy and cheap solution, try a tension-mounted curtain rod and one or more sheets of fabric or paper. Panel curtains, when hemmed, can serve this purpose nicely; see the Lilleröd design available at Ikea.

5. Divine decals. Once your backdrop is in place, consider removable vinyl decals for your windows. Keep them on the edges of the window to augment, rather than distract from, the rest of your display. Online retailers (including whatisblik.com and allposters.com) have an enormous selection, or you can find customizable decals via designers on etsy.com.

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6. Create your masterpiece. The time has come to fill your window with eyewear, props, accessories and other décor. Don’t forget to calculate the actual depth you have to work with. Shallow depths of 2 to 8 inches may feel limiting, so concentrate on creating a vertical landscape and really filling the window. With greater depth comes more opportunity for layering and creating visual depth. When possible, raise frames to eye level with your foot traffic.

7. (P)inspiration. Window merchandising pros display a limited number of products and build creative, inspiring, and bold shapes and movement around those items. If you need inspiration, Pinterest.com is a great starting place — and don’t limit your searches to optical businesses. The clothing store Anthropologie is well-known for its elaborate displays using everyday and recycled materials.

8. Timing is everything. Consider creating a new display a minimum of four times per year, anticipating the next season by a month or so. Window themes can be simple, reflecting spring, summer, fall and winter. They can be product specific, or they can highlight an exclusive brand, or you can even link them to a category you want to promote: sports protection, pediatric eyewear, sunglasses and the like. You could even choose a handful of frames in the same color, and build a display to highlight and contrast that hue.

Happy decorating!


NATALIE TAYLOR is an experienced optometry practice manager and consultant at Organizational Dynamics. Look for products, supplies and design inspiration on her website at org-dyn.com, or contact her at info@org-dyn.com.

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You Can’t Meet Everyone’s Needs, So Why Try?

Know your niche.

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Know your niche as a retailer and stay true to that niche. Don’t try to meet everyone’s needs – if you try you will compromise somewhere else. – Carter Johnston, OD, Physicians Optical Luxury Eyewear, Oklahoma City, OK

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Robert Bell

The Single Best Tool to Help Your Staff to Sell In and Outside the Office

Plus it has the added benefit of showing them you value them.

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JUST BETWEEN US, have you ever fantasized about wanting to give a playful smack to a patient or customer because they did something incredibly stupid? Or, they didn’t do something they were supposed to do in the no-brainer category?

No? Liar!

Well, here’s a no-brainer scenario in which I’d like to smack (playfully!) a hefty percentage of optometric business owners. Ok, honestly, I wouldn’t hurt or embarrass any of you. However, I’ll tell you this: this “no-brainer scenario” makes me pull my hair out of my head. And, folks? I’m bald!

What’s the no-brainer scenario? Business cards.

“But Robert, I have a business card.” I’m sure you do, doctor. Does everyone on your staff have one, too? Everyone? Uh huh. I’m losing more hair as we speak!

From your front desk personnel to your licensed opticians, everyone on your staff should have printed business cards with their name on it, their title (if they want one), the name of your practice, your location(s), your phone number and your website.

Everyone on your staff should be required to carry a few in their purses or wallets 24/7.

Why? So many reasons! Here’s one example from one of my favorite conversations with an optician:

Optician: I was in a Target once and standing behind this woman wearing the most G-d awful glasses. I was thinking, “Omg, who the hell did that to you?”

Me: Did you say anything to her?

O: Um, no.

M: Why not?

O: Whaddya mean, “why not?” What was I going to say?

M: Oh, any number of things. How about, “Hi there. I’m Darla. I was looking at your glasses. I’m an optician. Then … are you happy with them? … or how long ago did you get them? … or where did you get them? Anything to get her talking about her glasses.

O: Why?

M: So you could engage her, find out if you, as an optician, could be of help to her. If so, then you could’ve given her your business card and said, “Here, take my card. Next time you need glasses or an eye exam, come in and ask for me and I promise I’ll take very good care of you.” Then, before you give her the card, you say ‘I’m gonna write on the back of my card to give you $20 off on a pair of sunglasses, if you’re able to come in within the month.’

O: (spurts out a laugh) Yeah, right. Like my OD would pay for business cards for me. Get real. She’s too cheap.

Lord, I’m so bald.

Doctors, by purchasing business cards for your staff (such a minimal investment that can reap in beaucoup rewards), you do the following things:

  • You’re telling them they, as your employee, are important to you.
  • You’re telling them they are an integral part of your team.
  • You’re telling them you’re proud to have them on your team.
  • You make them think you appreciate them and show them so with something tangible.
  • This usually makes them proud of where they work and proud of working for you.

Either you’re proud of your practice and the people who work for you, or you’re not. If you’re not, please disregard what you’ve read here. If you are, well, you know what to do next.

Once your staff is stocked up on cards, it’s time to train them. For Robert’s business card sales training tips visit invisionmag.com/extras.

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Danielle Richardson

Feel Like Your Wellness Routine Could Be Missing Something? It’s Probably Sleep

We spend nearly a third of our life sleeping, which makes getting quality sleep as essential as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

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WHEN YOU THINK OF your health and wellness, how often do you think of sleep? Chances are not often — but you should. Sleep is the newest frontier in wellness as public health consciousness continues to increase and we move to a more holistic idea of health. We spend nearly 1/3 of our life sleeping which makes getting quality sleep as essential as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

The National Sleep Foundation defines quality sleep as occurring when you’re asleep within 30 minutes of laying down, wake no more than once, and sleep for at least 85 percent of the night. Unfortunately, quality sleep is an uncommon occurrence as the CDC reports a third of American adults experience poor or inadequate sleep on a regular basis. An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep-related problems or disorders, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, or restless leg syndrome. As a country, we need to get some rest!

Sleep deprivation increases the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and triples the risk for type 2 diabetes according to Johns Hopkins sleep researcher Patrick Finan, PhD. Those not getting adequate sleep suffer from a weakened immune system, irregular metabolism, and obesity secondary to increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Not limited to just the physical body, sleep deprivation can also manifest as cognitive impairment and/or mental health changes including depression, irritability, anxiety, forgetfulness, and brain fog. Poor quality sleep is far less recuperative, which causes us to not feel rested when do we wake up.

Sleep depends on a number of factors, our body’s internal regulating system is chief among them. Our Circadian Rhythm functions as the body’s biological clock and regulates the experience of alertness vs. sleepiness. This rhythm is sensitive to fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly cortisol and melatonin. Cortisol peaks in the morning allowing us to be alert and focused throughout the day. The secretion of melatonin — which helps us sleep — is highest at night.

These days, our minds are moving a mile a minute and we’re constantly on light-producing digital devices even though increased high-energy blue light exposure from devices decreases melatonin production and causes insomnia or sleeplessness. The disrupting culprits aren’t limited to devices though; increased stress, irregular work schedules, frequent jet lag, and sleep disorders can also disrupt our cycles.

The CDC recommends 7-9 hours of quality sleep for adults and more for teens and children. Here are some easy ways you can get better sleep tonight:

Build Consistency. It’s important to wake and head to bed around the same time each day — even on the weekends.

Use Sleep Monitoring Technology. Smartphones and wearable tech devices can help monitor the duration and quality of your sleep through downloadable applications and Bluetooth technology.

Sleep Habits. Limit screen time and diminish light sources in the bedroom. Additionally, use the automatic setting on your phone to warm the screen at night.

Bonus — Zen Out! Use essential oils or pillow sprays in scents like lavender as aromatherapy to help you sleep. Also consider meditation, light music, or other soothing sounds as a relaxing way to send yourself to bed.

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