Promoting specialty eyewear within the dispensary

September 15, 2014

Practices with an offering of specialty eyewear-and with the knowledge for how to promote these products-not only will reap benefits for patients but also for the clinic financially.

 

Take Home

Practices with an offering of specialty eyewear-and with the knowledge for how to promote these products-not only will reap benefits for patients but also for the clinic financially.

 

Lisa Frye, ABOC

By Rose Schneider, Content Specialist, Ophthalmology Times

Birmingham, AL-No two patients’ needs are the same. While one patient may be highly active and require eyewear sturdy enough for his or her amount of physical activity, another may be a fashionista who enjoys reading and is in need of eyewear with a stylish touch.

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Due to individual needs and wants, every practice should know how to promote specialty eyewear properly, said Lisa Frye, ABOC.

“Many of our patients lead very active lifestyles, and . . . one pair of glasses just will not cover everything,” said Frye, a longstanding Fellow of the National Academy of Opticians and who has more than 30 years of experience in optometric management. “It is most important that we, as professionals, find solutions for visual needs.

“This benefits our patients, allows us to grow our practices financially, and can increase the number of referrals to the office by people who love to tell others about their products,” she continued.

 

Breaking down the basics

The best way to promote specialty eyewear within your practice, Frye said, is to invest in different types of specific solutions and create areas to promote and demonstrate the options your clinic offers.

Specific areas to focus on, she said, are frames and lenses as the products serve a niche for individual patients.

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“(Recently), we were presented products for sunwear that allows a flatter base insert to be mounted into a wrap frame allowing us to use this for creating specialized sunwear for the more myopic patient,” Frye explained. “ These patients desire to have a wrapped design to block harmful light and ultraviolet, but in the past may have not been afforded a solution.”

Asking open-ended questions will help decipher which specialty eyewear is right for your patient, she said.

By asking patients about their specific needs, “we can identify the areas of need and offer solutions to solve them,” Frye said. “Even those patients who cannot adapt to progressive multifocal designs have more options than just round segments, blended bifocals, or flattop bifocals these days.

“When a patient can see the demonstration and understand ‘what will this do for me’ they will respond with ‘sign me up,’” she added. 

Frye said her clinic has also added specialized equipment to measure for digital technology, which allows further customization eyeglass lenses for specific uses. An added bonus to the equipment is informative videos that explain specific options, such as non-glare, progressive multifocal, office, and computer lenses.

The range of the specialty eyewear is wide, which benefits the patients further, she said.

“Some of the lenses are so great that we have specific lenses for golf, specific lenses for computer use, the ability to place the segment for progressives to accommodate a patient who may have a fused neck and cannot lower their chin to read, or specifically change standard heights for a patient that is suffering from osteoarthritis and cannot straighten up,” Frye said. “We (do) not leave out the smaller population segments like children, and those people who shop for cute readers, or fun suns, including readers and suns with attached cords that have magnets made at the bridge for easy on and easy off to hang around a neck.”

 

Further promotion options

Other options to promote the wide range of specialty eyewear is to put displays in the practice’s waiting room, allowing patients not only to see them, but also to experiment with them, try them on, and sample which type interests them, Frye said.

“As a patient leaves our waiting room, there is also a safety and sports center display that promotes specialty offerings for active lifestyles, as well as prescription swim goggles, cycling goggles, (and) ski goggles,” Frye added.

Practices can also utilize large television monitors to promote and explain information on a loop in exam lanes to help patients identify which products and services the clinic offers are right for them, she said.

Creating specific zones within the practice aimed at promoting the specialty eyewear products, along with brochures explaining the types of offerings and benefits, is a good outlet for patients to begin the process of educating themselves on the products, Frye explained.

As for external promoting, Frye recommended utilizing social media, e-mail and newsletters as forms of getting the word out on your specialty eyewear products.

“If you solve a specific need for a specific group, the word-of-mouth advertisement will continue to grow your practice,” Frye said. “Without having to add more exams per day, you can increase your sales and profits by offering a specialty pair of eyeglasses (using e-media) in addition to what you already sell, and do the math, you will increase profits.

“This is definitely a win-win for the practice and the patient,” she continued.

Utilizing e-media also creates excitement about the products.

 

“Remember the days when we set up a trial of clinical studies for new contact lenses?  We can apply the same concept to new lenses, new types of sunglass frames, new computer lenses, and great new color options in polarized,” Frye said. “The sky is the limit.  Educate yourself and your staff about new technology, new product offerings, and find things that will solve a specific need for your patients.

“Be the expert, have fun, and never stop looking for ways to solve a visual need,” she added.

 

Lisa Frye, ABOC

E: fryegang@yahoo.com

Frye has no financial interest in the subject matter.