Building on eyewear accessories: Afterthought or opportunity?

November 15, 2010

If accessories are not part of your sales strategy, it's time to revisit that decision and explore the myths and realities of this category.

Additionally, eyewear purchases can be pricey and accessories can protect your patients' investment. Think cases and cleaning products. Or how about insurance against loss of glasses with eyewear retainers?

And, consider the customer service factor. By providing a one-stop shopping experience, you're able to control the quality of the products your patients purchase and the experience they have receiving these goods and services.

Facts and fiction

Let's look at the facts and fiction surrounding accessories.

Myth: Accessories will compete with my optical collection.

Reality: Accessories enhance the shopping experience and offer more selections for customer.

Myth: The customer will be distracted and not be able to focus on the big-ticket items, such as prescription glasses and sunglasses.

Reality: Customers like looking at accessories. They enjoy shopping, and the price points in this category are enticing.

Myth: Accessory prices will make my expensive glasses look cheap.

Reality: Accessories add options. They make your customer realize that you are a full-service provider for all their needs and that you offer choices.

Myth: Accessories are a waste of time. They do not bring in enough revenue.

Reality: Properly positioned and promoted accessories can generate an extra 10% to 15% in revenue for the practice.

Draw attention to displays

Think outside the box to generate more sales. Your patients are time-starved. The more things you provide, the higher the patient satisfaction. Think gifts for special occasions and package and promote accordingly:

When promoting accessories, keep in mind that they commonly are considered impulse purchases and you need to draw your patients' attention to them. To generate excitement successfully, be sure these items are highly visible and in a "please touch" display.

It's also important to have a sufficient assortment of accessories to meet a variety of needs in both style and function. Remember to keep your displays full and fresh with new merchandise, and use regular inventory replenishment strategies so you always are stocked with the latest and greatest products. Nobody wants to buy what they deem to be the "leftovers."

Building sales with accessories is simple and offers a great return on a minimal investment. If you don't put any thought or value into this category, why would your patients want to buy them from you? Stop making excuses and start making money by pumping up your accessory offerings.

AUTHOR INFO

Rene D. Soltis, FNAO, is senior director of meetings and education for The Vision Council, Alexandria, VA. With more than 34 years of experience as a dispensing optician, Soltis also serves as a liaison to the conference advisory board of International Vision Expo.