Follow the trend toward stronger sales

September 15, 2007

The major trend in optical products this year is premium eyewear, both frames and lenses. Designer frames retailing for $120+ are showing a significant double-digit growth while the lower-end markets are flat. The battle in our industry between managed care programs and current practices has caused the optical products market to face numerous challenges. Consumers are obliged to be informed that their managed care programs are only a partial payment for the technologically advanced eyewear products available today.

Key Points

The battle in our industry between managed care programs and current practices has caused the optical products market to face numerous challenges. Consumers are obliged to be informed that their managed care programs are only a partial payment for the technologically advanced eyewear products available today.

"The engine of growth in ophthalmic eyewear is in the luxury segment," said Bill Harrison, vice president of optical sales, Safilo USA. "With managed care being so prevalent in our industry, luxury eyewear and sunwear is one of the few segments where an optical dispensary can maintain healthy margins.

After a fashion

Your dispensary should stock and display collections of fashion eyewear and sunwear. Moreover, having your eye-care professionals (ECPs) wear those fashionable eyewear products in the office is of paramount importance. Patients may need only a small incentive to "treat" themselves to premium designer eyewear; seeing attractive eyewear on someone may provide that motivation. If the ECPs are wearing stylish eyeglasses, patients will respect, value, and regard eyewear as more than merely "two sticks and two holes."

Eyewear frame materials and construction are major points for up-selling patients to higher-quality frames. The integrity of the material-as well as hinges, screws, etc.-can make the difference in how well the frame will meet with your patients' daily use of their eyewear. A few words from the ECPs on premium eyewear and frame construction can make the difference. "Prescription analysis" is the art and science of communicating the benefits and features of optical products to meet the visual and lifestyle needs of the patient-including fashion. The fashion industry has seen a surge in designer shoes, clothing, and accessories. Why should eyewear be any different? People associate designer goods as characteristic of high-quality materials, workmanship, and the height of fashion.

Many ECPs would like to believe that their patients have optimum vision as their primary concern when selecting and purchasing new eyewear. However, the actual priority for most eye-care consumers is:

Patients' expectation of exceptional vision is a given.