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Buying & Selling

Frame selection seems to be the biggest competitive differentiator among eyecare businesses. In this section, we look at the many services offered by eyecare businesses, how their customers interact with them, and their dealings with vendors.

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Please check the following issues patients/ customers regularly ask you about:

Late/weekend hours
40%
Dry eye
37%
Repairing/adjusting online eyewear
29%
Value packages
28%
Computer vision
syndrome
23%
Recycling programs
9%
Home delivery
6%
Environmentally friendly products
5%
Something related
to diversity
1%
I am rarely asked about any of these
14%

Check the features offered by your website:

Real-time appointment making
62%
E-Commerce
33%
Email capture pop ups
27%
Chat box/chat bot
20%
Virtual try-on
17%
Language translation
11%

Which paid service/specialty most helps you stand out from your local competition?

The Big Survey 2023: Buying & Selling

Other differentiators include dry eye clinics (which will be included as an option in next year’s survey!), office aesthetics, social media, custom frame making, neurovision, repairs, a full lab onsite and the most frequently mentioned: customer service.

If you could make a wish for one thing from vendors, what would it be?

The Big Survey 2023: Buying & Selling

Not selling online
62%
Lower opening order
requirements
33%
Friendlier return/credit
policies
27%
More marketing support
20%
More generous warrantee
terms
17%
Fewer telephone calls
11%
Other
9%

This was a lively “other” section! Some of the choice comments included:

  • Working together to benefit my practice.
  • Keeping parts available for retired frames for more than a few months. If you have a 2006 car you can still get parts for it. I’d like to be able to order a temple for someone who’s got a frame they bought two years ago.
  • Better reps. They aren’t hiring the quality reps that used to be in the business. Reps don’t understand eyewear or how eyecare works anymore; only how to sell.
  • More staff training support.
  • Let opticians have more input with frame designs. Some design choices are not optical friendly.
  • No price undercutting. I don’t care if you sell online, it’s only a problem if your product can be found for significantly less.
  • They need to learn that no means no.
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Tell us about a client who left you speechless, in a good, bad … or weird way.

THE GOOD

  • When a patient with MS couldn’t hold his neck up any longer and had not had glasses he could use for reading in years got a pair that allowed him to pick up reading books again. It was so special and we both cried!
  • Patient approaches me in local grocery store and comments she just got back from France and while in the airport she received many compliments on her eyewear purchased from my store in southwest Virginia.
  • A 4-year-old putting on glasses for the first time. Everyone cried.
  • TikTok media mentioned our clinic and services by a famous personality.
  • A patient saw eight of our staff members out for breakfast one morning and paid for all of their meals!
  • I had a customer send me a set of her favorite bed sheets because she was so happy with her new eyewear!
  • Before leaving my shop, after I replaced lenses in her frame, a woman said “While I was here for 30 minutes I heard three different people talk about how you’ve changed their life for the better with what you do. I hope you know it’s at least four.”

THE BAD

  • Someone posted an anonymous bad review on Yelp for a gripe from two years ago. I was able to respond in private and found out who it was. He ended up taking down the negative review once we had a chance to chat via email.
  • When they brought back glasses from two years ago, that they owed an unpaid insurance balance on and threw them on the counter, said they were not paying and walked out of the store.
  • “I work for Consumer Reports so I know for a fact that Costco is the best place to get lenses.”
  • Patient yelling at us because we wouldn’t give her yet another free pair of trial contact lenses, having not been examined in four years and using the trial pairs until they are unwearable or torn (at least six months at a time). Doesn’t have the money for an exam and doesn’t have glasses at all yet has hair extensions, fake eyelashes, long manicured nails, and designer purses.

THE WEIRD

  • I bake every Friday for patients, just something fun. Patient comes in, grabs six cookies saying it’s her daughter’s birthday and she needs birthday treats. Walks out…
  • One patient researches aliens with a group of peers and regularly tells me about how many times in the last year aliens have visited our state.
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The Big Survey 2023: Buying & Selling
AND THE JUST SAD…

  • Patient came in with Medicaid and had their exam. We ordered the glasses and the patient said, “Thank you! I have never been treated so nicely. Most people see my insurance and treat me poorly.” We responded, “You are a person and not an insurance. I am so sorry that has happened to you. You have found the right place now and we will take care of you.”
  • I had a patient come in for an adjustment on her recently dispensed eyewear. She seemed “off” to me and I asked if her day was going okay. She stood for a moment then replied she had just left a doctor’s appointment and was on her way home to tell her husband and two children that she had six months to live. The cancer had won. I too stood for a moment then went and held her while she cried. I was the first one she had told this news and was completely rendered speechless.

How would you describe the contribution of e-commerce — via your website, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, eBay, etc. — to total sales?

The Big Survey 2023: Buying & Selling

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