Optical Retail Success 96


Tasty, weekly nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your optical retail business/career.


“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.”

—Mahatma Gandhi


It’s up for debate whether or not Gandhi actually said this, but it’s a good thing to remember, nonetheless.



To Charge Or Not To Charge

Is it time to start charging for services that opticals have traditionally offered for free, but now are being taken advantage of by online shoppers?

I ask this because every so often, someone will post an image on the social webs of a new service pricing sign that someone put up in their store, putting their customers on notice that, from this day forward, they will be charged for services for eyewear purchased online. This is usually followed by days of likes and attaboys from other opticians, the Facebook equivalent of thunderous applause and standing ovations.  


So, the obvious answer is, “Hell yeah! We should get paid for the work we do, nobody likes being taken advantage of, and it’s high time we show these online shoppers that we aren’t going to take it lying down anymore.”  Hard to disagree.


But, maybe there’s a not-so-obvious answer.


For the sake of argument, let’s flip this around and think about it from the other side. Let’s pretend for a minute that you don’t have the ability to perform repairs, adjustments, and fitting measurements. Your customers have to take your glasses to the optical down the street for these services. You are cheaper and do far more business, but they provide the services you can’t at no charge.  


Would it give you a warm fuzzy knowing that a significant part of your sales and service has to go through their doors? Not only that, but they’re doing it for free?


What if the optical down the street kept upping their game, they didn’t lower their prices to match yours, but they tried hard to deliver a “wow” experience, they worked toward building relationships over time, they gave people a story to tell, and they managed to pick many of your customers off one-by-one?


I’m not trying to engender sympathy for online retailers, but get you to think about the opportunity that lies in front of you and a potential weakness in the online model. You likely have or would spend real money to get people in your store for an opportunity to try to sell them glasses.

Well, here they are.

Maybe they aren’t your ideal customer, but maybe they are.

Are you going to chase them away in an effort to “teach them a lesson” or invite them in so you can show them (not just tell them) that without a doubt, you are better?  


Are you going to convert everyone? Not even close. But. the bottom line is this: you can no longer take the view that brick and mortar sales are merely transactional. If you do, you will lose every time—price, choice, convenience—forget it. You won’t win. Charging for these services is almost certainly short-term thinking. You have to think beyond the transaction and you have to play the long game by building trust, relationships, community, and culture.



The Feels

Marketing (by marketing, I don't mean advertising, but literally everything your customer experiences in connection with your store and your brand) is not just about conveying your values — it’s about understanding your customers’ values, finding the intersection of the two, and getting that meaning to be felt strongly enough that it leads to a purchase.


People don’t do business with you as an act of charity (or shame). They do business with you because they believe you are adding value to their lives — more importantly how that value set of yours aligns with their own.


People don’t come into the whiskey bar just because it’s cool — they come in because they want to feel cool. They don’t drink whiskey just because it’s“manly” or “strong” — they drink it so they feel manly and strong.


How does your store make people feel? Do those feelings have more to do with your values or your customers’ values. The intersection of the two is what you want. But if you look closely enough, you might discover the answer is “neither.” In which case, you have some work to do.


“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou



Self Neutralization

Just when you thought the next big thing was self-refraction (but maybe you thought it could be stopped in the courts). How does smartphone self-neutralization grab you?

You can’t fight progress.



No Pain No Gain

Quality learning requires what brain scientists call “desirable difficulty.” The more active the learning process, the better your comprehension and recall. It feels taxing, not exactly fluent or fun, and maybe even “bad,” depending on whom you ask. But the same way that you need a hard workout to increase your fitness, learning needs to feel strenuous in order to stick.

Be wary of anyone selling a “quick and easy” path to learning.

Just like fitness, learning takes effort and should be a lifelong habit.



Less-Than-Perfect Fits

A note to the customer who just had a meltdown and to the boss who's furious that the delivery wasn't as promised.

Toddlers have tantrums. Adults should solve problems.

So, does having a fit ever help you make your case or does it send a very different message?



Happy Feet

Swedish socks-and-underwear brand Happy Socks is planning a massive store expansion this year, growing to 80-90 stores Its brand proposition is to spread happiness by offering "high quality, attractively priced, colorful patterned socks promoted through creative point of sale displays, celebrity collaborations and a strong social media presence.

File under step 11 of the Ultimate Guide to Becoming A Rock Star Optician: Look Outside of Optical. 



Glasses With(out) Frickin’ Laser Beams

A Halifax technology company has begun commercial production on protective eyewear that it says can protect pilots and military personnel from the growing threat of potentially disabling laser strikes.

Available for commercial use in a few months, the aviator-style eyewear, refracts laser light using a photosensitive material called photopolymer. The product will also be installed into windscreens on commercial planes for companies including Airbus.



Johnny’s On The Spot

Daniel Feldman talked with our own John Seegers, the founder and celebrity face of OpticianWorks about how OpticianWorks got started, choosing the right freeform lens, and what is most important for opticians to learn today, on the Optical Vision News Podcast.

You can subscribe to the Optical Vision News Podcast wherever great podcasts are syndicated (iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play Store).



Video of The Week:  How Lenses Correct Refractive Errors

This week we look at how opticians use lenses to correct the refractive errors of the human eye. In part 3 of our series, we show simple lens shapes in front of the eye to help you visualize how they redirect light to correct vision. If that weren’t enough, John reads more original poetry. I know, I buried the lede.



Through the OpticianWorks free video lessons, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible education for opticians everywhere, but we’re only able to do it with your support.

You can help keep it going in two ways:

Become a paid member of OpticianWorks.com for access to the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion).

Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent uncut work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optical Retail Success. 

Here’s to your success in this year and beyond.

Thanks for reading and sharing!