Revving up sunwear sales

Variety may be the key to selling sunwear successfully in your practice.

Key Points

Variety is the spice of life. It may also be the key to selling sunwear successfully in your practice.

Indeed, sunwear is like any other eyewear product sold in your optical dispensary-but different. Most patients in your practice care more about how they will ultimately look in their frames-whether they are for clear lenses or sun lenses. Others, however, will be seeking options in performance sunwear, such as those actively engaged in outdoor sports like boating or fishing. Still others will sim-ply want outstanding optics and reduced glare for lying on the beach.

Eye-care professionals who really want to corner the sunwear market in their optical dispensaries should carry styles that are available in prescription or plano form, the latter for patients who wear contact lenses.

Jackson Davenport's optical departments actually have as many as 600 sunglass frames on display, and Davenport claims the local Sunglass Hut store actually sends customers to his dispensaries because they carry frame styles the large chain doesn't. "You must have the inventory," Davenport stressed.

Seize the opportunity

"We need to do a better job of educating patients on the importance of sunwear," noted Michael Lange, OD, owner of Lange Eye Care and Associates in central Florida. "It's crucial. We should be planting the seed in the exam room, talking about the benefits of UV protection and glare reduction for overall eye health. Sunwear should be a great source of revenue for practices."

Though the eye health benefits of sunwear can help facilitate a "second-pair sale" in your dispensary (see accompanying article on lens technology), Dr. Lange emphasized that eye-care professionals need to stay on top of fashion trends in order to close the deal.

"[Eye-care professionals] think about eye health, but patients ultimately care about looks first, performance second," said Lange, who is launching his own sunglass line as a side project later this year. "If it's not fashionable, they're not going to wear it. Your optical [dispensary] must have the current styles on display if you want to sell sunwear."